What is Creative Citizenship?

Today I attended a  Creative Citizens research project meeting held at Birmingham’s Moseley Exchange. I was invited to attend the meeting by one of the co-investigators, Caroline Chapain from the University of Birmingham. The research is partly funded by the AHRC and involves four universities each with their industry or community partners.

The project explores online communities, citizenship and creativity.

The background to our interest in creative citizenship arises from the way that online communications have enabled individuals and small groups of individuals to engage more frequently, deftly and in greater depth with many types of organisation. Today, many companies design their products and services in close dialogue with users. This shift from a “user pays” to a “user makes” approach supports the possibility of a growth in smaller-scale, more flexible and voluntary community services.

I attended along with Steve Harding as a project partner, through the work we do as trustees of Moseley Community Development Trust which runs Moseley Exchange. Our colleague Dave Harte was also there but as one of the co-investigators working on the Hyperlocal Publishing aspects of the project.

After today’s meeting, we are no closer to defining Creative Citizenship but some themes are emerging. My observations are that individual projects will investigate different aspects of Creative Citizenship. This will generate value for communities and will involve all forms of media including short films and social media. The results may not always be tangible and will probably be difficult to measure depending on our sense of ‘value’ as being social, economic or cultural.The outcome should be experimental.

My suggestion for our part of the project is for us to generate value by co-producing media material which interrogates the ‘imagined community’ that is Moseley. We could do that by using a diverse range of media and social media tools such as: facebook status updates, twitter, blog posts, photos and short videos.

Hopefully, this would be created by and for the Moseley community such as the co-workers, local residents or local small business owners.