Playing on the edge: facilitating the emergence of local digital grassroots
This paper describes the first phase of the Emergent Digital Grassroots eXpo (edgeX) project – a research and application project centred on mapping grassroots and amateur content creation, community engagement with new media, and strengthening local identity. Developed in conjunction with the City Council of Ipswich, a city of some 150,000 residents in regional Queensland, the edgeX project provides a site for local residents to upload creative content, to participate in competitions, to comment on each other’s work, and to develop new skills. Research goals associated with edgeX arise from a broader project of mapping the creative industries and their role in the knowledge economy, and a growing understanding of the significant part user-led content creation plays in these processes, especially including the role of amateur creatives. There has been little research to date into the potential of emerging amateur content creation to generate local content. Growth of information technology far outstrips our understanding of its role in social, behavioural, and organizational dimensions of knowledge creation and use. To develop effective information policy in conjunction with cultural and community planning, we need to understand the relationships among the social and material bases of knowledge work and communities, and information practices, artefacts, systems, and institutions (Peterson Bishop, et. al., 2003). The research project directly addresses these relationships, providing quantitative and qualitative data on grassroots content (co)creation and consumption, through competition events (modelled on ‘Expos’), through
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