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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/K003585/1
Title: Digital Economy Communities and Culture Network+
Principal Investigator: Thornham, Dr H
Other Investigators:
Wallace, Professor C Bassett, Professor CA Nikolopoulou, Professor M
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: School of Media & Communication
Organisation: University of Leeds
Scheme: Standard Research - NR1
Starts: 01 June 2012 Ends: 30 June 2016 Value (£): 1,477,552
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Human-Computer Interactions
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Creative Industries
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
Rapid advances in digital technologies have converged with research in business, social science and humanities to dissolve the boundaries between disciplines, institutions and practices. The Digital Economy Communities and Culture Network+ (CCNetwork+) engages with transformations in these different streams of research, bringing them together with a wider public through direct engagements, innovative methods and digital resources. Advances in digital technologies have also brought about the transformation of cultural institutions such as libraries, museums, schools, media and arts centres, whose interactions with their users, researchers, and information 'itself', is increasingly digital. As a direct consequence, the notion of 'culture' as a static resource or located place is no longer tenable. A third transformation has been in 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. These new and converging frontiers of knowledge and communication mark the CCNetwork+ as a timely and crucial intervention into a shifting digital landscape.

Digital technologies are not just impacting on a meta level, however, they are also felt through everyday experiences. Digital technologies have become so embedded into our daily lives that it is impossible to imagine daily interactions without them. Cultural and social exchanges now occur through mobile devices; personal and cultural artifacts are stored virtually rather than in particular places, and the products that circulate at greater speed and intensity are being read, downloaded and appropriated in new and innovative ways. The successful user of digital technology is now posing real critical questions in terms of civic engagement, investment in community, or even a wider social or political efficacy. Pervasive media and technology means that these wider shifts are no longer based on-screen but are integrated into everyday life and the very fabric of urban and rural environments and institutions. At a policy level, the ubiquity of digital technologies have sparked a range of reactive legislation that attempts to deal with the fast pace of information flows, concerns about intellectual property, and copyright issues.

The impacts brought on by the convergence of digital technology, culture, and practice raise real questions around how and what communities and cultures might/could/should be understood. Indeed, when our everyday experiences are seen in conjunction with the industrial, social, on-the ground and policy responses to the digital economy, it is clear that digital technologies are changing forever how we understand and engage in community and culture. Despite the speed and intensity of digital transformation that has marked our lives on every level, it is vital that we do more than simply react to it if we are to understand, and shape, changes that are determining culture and community in profound ways.

The CCNetwork+ Project is designed to facilitate this. It is an ambitious intervention into a landscape marked by fast pace and innovative technologies. We aim to produce creative and response led activities that directly speak to the speed and scope of digital technological change while simultaneously critically interrogating it. Working with the communities and cultures to which and through which we speak, and using a range of methods including action research, critical investigation, sociological analysis, co-production (crowd source/public knowledge projects), pilot technology and code projects, we will directly intervene in policy initiatives, shape practice, refigure the moral and ethical issues of this environment, and identify dangers, risks, opportunities and evolutions.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Project URL: http://www.communitiesandculture.org/projects/
Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.leeds.ac.uk