Communities and Culture Network+
Rapid advances in digital technologies have converged with research, organisations and everyday experience to dissolve the boundaries between disciplines, institutions and practices. The Digital Economy ‘Communities and Culture’ Network+ (CCNetwork+) engages with transformations, bringing them together with a wider public through direct engagements, innovative methods and digital resources. Led by Dr Helen Thornham (PI, Leeds), Dr. Caroline Bassett (Co-I Sussex), Prof. Marialena Nikolopoulou (Co-I, Kent) and Prof. Claire Wallace (Co-I, Aberdeen), and with a core membership of over 70 academics and practitioners, we investigate a number of transformations. The first relates to transformations of cultural institutions such as libraries, museums, media and arts centres, whose interactions with their users, researchers, and information ‘itself’, is increasingly digital. The second transformation follows this and relates to the notion of ‘culture’, which is no longer understood as a static resource or located place. A third transformation relates to the concept of ‘community’ as interest groups, social/political capital, and connectivity are mediated, produced and reconfigured in different ways through social and other digital media. The fourth transformation relates to our own identity and in particular the ways we make sense of the world and our role(s) within it. Indeed, the CCNetwork+ is designed not only with the digital realm in mind: it is also designed to investigate practices and products, the lived and imagined, and the intersections between the digital and the embodied.
The CCNetwork+ will both produce and facilitate creative, targeted and response led activities that directly speak to the speed and scope of digital technological change while simultaneously critically interrogating it. Our second aim is to radically conceptualize community and culture in a digital age through empirically grounded but methodologically innovative activities that are discrete-but-connected. Our third aim is to work with the communities and cultures to which and through which we speak in order to generate cross-disciplinary dialogue that impacts onto policy, industry, academia, and practitioners. This is a multi-layered and cross-disciplinary project constructed to explode and regroup in generative-but-reflective, networked and positive ways. More importantly, it is a project that is entirely designed to fit the digital environment to which it speaks.