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The University of Southampton
Winchester School of Art

The Participatory Practices of Life/Britain in a Day: Taste, Expertise and the Framing of Creativity Seminar

Dan Ashton
16:00 - 17:30
27 April 2016
Harvard Suite (Room Number 3032), WSA

For more information regarding this seminar, please email Professor John Armitage at .

Event details

This paper examines the Life in a Day and Britain in a Day documentary projects. Life in a Day was compiled from video footage recorded by members of the public on 24th July 2010 and submitted to YouTube. The final 95-minute documentary was edited together from 80,000 submissions to create a ‘paean to what it means to be human in the world today.’ Likewise, the 2012 documentary that followed in its footsteps, Britain in a Day, invited footage captured in Britain on 12th November 2012, and offered ‘remarkable insight into the lives, loves, fears and hopes of people living in Britain today.’ Operating across different national and global scales, these projects share common ground in facilitating amateur filmmaking and developing a ‘crowd’ approach to representing everyday life. This paper critically examines how the amateur filmmaking contributions to the … in a Day crowdsourcing projects were framed by the guidance and tutorial materials provided by the projects’ production teams. With the Britain in a Day ‘how-to’ guidance films there is a ‘Quality Discourse’ (Muller, 2009) in which professional interventions are made into the practices of amateur filmmaking. A ‘Quality Discourse’ is also evident in the Life in Day project with the guidance films presented on YouTube. Specifically, the video by editor Joe Walker on the editing process presents a number of submission requirements around ‘making your film for inclusion in ours.’ The comments presented in response to this video are an important part of understanding how ‘the crowd’ can evaluate the participatory promises and practices of the … in a Day projects. This paper will explore tensions concerning who is involved and how they are involved, and analyse how potential contributors critically challenge participation that they regarded as the instrumental requesting and curating of content.

Speaker information

Dr Daniel Ashton,Dr Daniel Ashton is Lecturer and MA Pathway Leader in Global Media Management in the Winchester School of Art at the University of Southampton. His research focuses on different ways of organising cultural work, including the intersections between professional and amateur media making. He has worked in partnership with UK community media organisations and university students on digital storytelling and community radio projects. He has presented his research on digital storytelling and participatory media at the British Film Institute, MeCCSA 2014, Coventry University, and the AHRC Amateur Creativity symposium. Related publications include an article in the Media International Australia special issue on ‘making media participatory’, and in the forthcoming edited volume Community Filmmaking: Diversity, Practices and Places (Routledge, 2017).

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