David Gauntlett makes a good point in his newest book (Making Media Studies: The Creativity Turn in Media and Communications Studies) and that is that traditional forms of media studies are no longer applicable. Gone are the days of massive institutions and production companies, gone are the traditional audiences and simplistic texts. In, is the new age media companies, the everyday media makers, the consistent consumers and the fantastical mess of The WWW.

While universities are pumping out the same content areas since the 1980’s (e.g. institutions, production, audiences and texts) that are only relevant to a handful of media forms (cinema, television, online broadcasting and publications), the rest of the world is moving on. David Gauntlett so rightly says that creativity in media, should also refer to thinking creatively about the subject. What are the new ways of running media and communication studies? How has the subject itself changed? What approaches and methods can help media and communications studies to become innovative and useful in spheres beyond itself?

David Gauntlett encourages a kind of call to arms, an acquiescence of the incapacities of the old system and a redirected gaze to the future needs of media students and media studies programs. Inspired by Tim Ingold’s book Making, David believes media studies should have making at it’s front and centre. He also believes the ability to do things with media should be embraced over and above the ability to talk about what others do with media, or what media does to us. The notion is that media studies should be hands on, that it should be all about ideas and critical engagement and this should be expressed through actual making.

To borrow three key distinctions from the anthropologist Tim Ingold:

  • It’s about learning WITH media rather than ABOUT media.
  • There is an intent to move FORWARD rather than looking BACKWARDS at how things are.
  • It’s aims are TRANSFORMATIONAL rather than DOCUMENTARY.

When we live in an age of mass media consumerism, where our experience of the physical world is so strongly linked with our experience of the digital world, we need media studies to be exceptional. To move forward media studies must look forward. We need to to emphasise the knowledge of the makers as they are the ones with the power to make a difference. We need to encourage research THROUGH design rather than research INTO or FOR design to ensure our makers are well equipped and we need to see change occurring.

If you want to see the change, be the change. If you want to be the change, be a media maker.

Catch you later, Louise Alice Wilson



Extract from David Gauntlett, 2014, Making Media Studies: The Creativity Turn In Media Studies, Found at http://davidgauntlett.com/making-media-studies/extract-from-new-book/.