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Participatory Art Project

Description of proposal

digital suss-Digital Literacy for the Nation-a participatory art project to be lead by Lucy Johnson

This will be an informal ‘digital learning pop up’ in a disused shop to be accompanied by a book and exhibition at the end of the project in the same space which I propose will run for roughly a month – the book will be an ABC of Social Media in the style of the ‘Ant and Bee’ books-the book will be co-created by the artist team and local people involved in the project.

The pop up space will be a forum for interested people-be they youngsters into making digital music or older people who want to keep in touch with their grandchildren.  At The Magdalen Street Festival in Norwich we recently successfully piloted this idea and used the day’s event as an incubation space for testing our ideas with the local people who came along to enjoy the day’s events at the festival.  It went well and we received some interesting and worthwhile feedback, which will assist in taking the project forward.

Artistic Rationale

We will use a participatory approach.  We will draw on recent successful artistic interventions by artists such as Jeremy Deller and his involvement with working class communities to produce a variety of mixed media artwork as co-creation.

 Proposed Methodology

The project will begin with a pop up shop where people can come and meet and engage with the project, which will start as a workshop space and from this workspace will come a book that will be co-created over a month leading to a book launch. Accompanying this will be an exhibition of photos, video and mixed media collage..

We will need computers and video cameras although a lot of people will have this capability because of their mobile phones and the project seeks to use such ‘found’ or ‘amateur’ footage.  We will also need paper for printing photos for the exhibition, some money for publicity materials that will need to be printed on a slightly larger scale than can be afforded by domestic equipment, such as banners and larger digital photographs to give the final show some real impact and ‘wow’ factor.

I have already invested considerably in the project so there is there is a web site http://www.digitalsuss.co.uk, which gives some idea of my background and thoughts leading to these methodologies and rationale. I have produced a banner, which I used at ‘The Magdalen Street Festival’ and a facebook page and Twitter feed ‘creativeducator’ which is actively used and logo to ‘brand’ the project: ‘digital suss-Digital Literacy for the Nation’.  The project does not start from a blank sheet but from carefully considered ideas about bringing digital literacy to communities which may not yet have a particularly ‘pro-social’ use of these digital tools-hence the only too real problems for young people such as ‘cyber-bullying’ which this intervention aims to combat.

Proposed participants

Local people-the more diverse the better.  I would start with a school-the pupils who study there and then break out to parents AND teachers. I especially like to work with people who have learning difficulties so I would want to factor in these people’s participation too.  This is an inclusive project, which aims to bring people together.

Proposed Outcomes

The aimed for outcome is improved digital literacy and to facilitate better engagement between participants in the real world through a more positive and knowledgeable use of the digital platforms that they may take for granted and are very seductively pitched at them by big business (for example a more nuanced understanding of ‘digital reputation’ or ‘digital footprint’ or the implications of ‘big data’ for example).  In my experience as a teacher of Media Studies there is a dearth of understanding and learning opportunities, which would give people the tools to make the best use of digital platforms, so this is what this project seeks to address.

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