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BA (Hons) Dissertation Proposal Form 2013 Name: Thomas Squire

Course: Graphic Design

Current Contextual & Theoretical Studies Tutor: Richard Miles E-mail: ts101023@students.leeds-art.ac.uk _______________________________________________________________________

Subjects of Essay/Research projects already undertaken: Level 4: Modernism Level 5: Online & Digital Identity – My third year research will start as a continuation of the research conducted for my level 5 Essay and level 5 theory into practice response. ________________________________________________________________________

Aim and/or Objective of your proposed CoP3 Project: How has the democracy of content creation changed in the digital age? To what extent has YouTube given rise to a form of “new” celebrity? How has the ease of access to creating user generated content resulted in a rejection to the role of the audience? The identity of the modern celebrity as a result of YouTube Participatory culture in the digital age

What research needs to be undertaken into the general and specific contexts of your practice? An in depth look into the internet, it’s creation and growth within society since it’s first deployment will need to be conducted to provide a foundation by which I can more deeply understanding how the internet has now become such an integral part of everyone’s lives in western society and growing elsewhere around the world. The Internet age has also had an invaluable effect upon society and has become something we can’t live without but what effect has this had on our social interactions, life, identity etc. The Internet as a technological advancement within society will form my main frame of reference for this research. An investigation into celebrity culture throughout history will also need to undertaken to provide a timeline of reference for comparison of the types of celebrities in the digital age to celebrities of the past. For example Marilyn Monroe and Jade Goody how are these


celebrities different or similar and what does it mean to be a celebrity today. Celebrity culture as a theory will underpin this research. A brief analysis, investigation and understanding of Post modernism I think will also provide valuable insight into the successes of the internet and the ideals the internet tired to create mimic that of the ideology of Post Modernism. This research may also link to such areas as appropriation and its use in digital culture and how this forms the basis for user generated content on the Internet.

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What approach(es) will you take and what processes, methods, materials and tools are to be involved in research into your practice? I will initially begin to consider a range of research methodologies however primarily my research will be conducted through the sociological impact of the Internet and YouTube on society. This also links into research methodology regarding celebrity culture and how celebrities are created a viewed within society. My research will also be largely focused towards mass media and the repeal against mass media and democratization of content creation that has come as a result of internet and services like YouTube. Empirical Investigation may also be a methodology to consider through the observation of YouTuber’s and their practices. Theorists writing specifically about this subject: Jean Burgess – Professor at CCI who’s research investigates cultural participation in new media contexts, with a particular focus on user-created content, online social networks, and co-creative media including digital storytelling. Andrew Keen – Entrepreneur, Author concerned with Internet culture and it’s impact upon professionals and those with expert skills, his writing discuss the debate between Amateur and Professional. David Gauntlett – British sociologist and media theorist concerned with contemporary media audiences and their role. Possible areas for theory based investigation: Culture Creators, Mass Media, Mass Culture, Consumerism, Celebrity Culture, Online Identity.

What preparation or investigations do you need to undertake for your creative practice to take place? What is user generated content? What is defined as user generated contented and what forms the basis of user generated contented and to what extent is it a form of digital appropriation. This could be investigated through researching this within books as well as


interviewing those who create content for YouTube to gain their insight on the subject. Furthermore I could produce a range of content myself to practically investigate what is and can be considered user generated content. An investigation into different types of content should also be explored such as those using the platform to create web series, daily ‘vlogs’, skits for example this many also lead into research regarding new media formats that have come as a result of services like YouTube. Online research techniques could be employed to gain a wide range of opinion based researched and this can be conducted through asking questions in online forums as well as conducting research within YouTube comments themselves. Furthermore to gather more detailed and in depth research in the form of interviews these could be conducted through Skype. Find out what changes have taken place within society to result the audience wanting to create their own content rather than simply consume that content produced my mass media, consumerist, and corporate world. Research how YouTuber’s have gained a level of stardom in recent years and what is it about such services that has made average people celebrities of popular culture this may also warrant an investigation into what pop culture is and means within the digital age. Explore and research how a dissertation is constructed and structure and how is it similar and dissimilar to an extended essay, what formalities are required within a dissertation such as Bibliography, Chapters, Introduction etc.

What research do you need to undertake regarding who your creativity is for? I think mainstream media companies and those who produce media for the masses maybe interested in this type of research. As YouTube is a fairly new service but is growing exponentially it is unclear as it where the service and it’s users could go in the future however as ‘YouTuber’s’ become a bigger part of popular culture producer of Mass Media will surely want to capitalise on their fame. I think that I will be fairly limited to working and researching and gaining research from a younger, youth based target audience as these are the primary users of a service like YouTube and they form is majority percentage of users. Although this audience will form the content and subject of the research I think the research discovered would then be reformed into something usable by a middle-aged audience who want to interact with youth and young adults. This is however only looking at YouTube and it’s Majority users but there is a vast audience of all ages using and creating content for YouTube.


I think my research will expand upon the small area of research already conducted within the field as the internet and online services grow rapidly it’s hard for printed and academic sources to update at this pace, therefore most existing research within this space is fairly new and only begins to scratch the surface, my research will aim to build upon this existing foundation. Through my research into pre existing works of academia I will be able to gain an understanding of what aspects of my research have already been conducted and which have not.

Primary sources of information: 1. Name: BigFrame Description: Big Frame is a leading media company in the YouTube entertainment space. We’re building sustainable media brands around YouTube’s most influential channels, and connecting advertisers with their highly engaged audiences. Location: California, United States 2. Name: Interviews with “Youtuber’s” Description: Conducting interview with those who create channels and content on the youtube platform will provide me with valuable insight into their views on user generated content, the identity they have created online and their views on amateurs versus professional content creators and where these lines begin to blur Location: 3. Name: YouTube HQ Description: YouTube HQ is the main office for YouTube in the United Kingdom and is used by both YouTube and YouTube content creators, at this location I gain researched from both those working for YouTube and those creating the content on YouTube. Location: Convent Garden Area, London, United Kingdom Secondary Sources of Information: Books/Articles/Resources already located (Minimum of 6) 1. [Book] Youtube - Online Video and Participatory Culture / Burgess, Jean & Green, Joshua (2009) [Blenheim Walk 302.23] 2. [Book] The Cult of the Amateur: How Today's Internet Is Killing Our Culture / Keen, Andrew (2007) [Unavailable in Library - Available at Amazon.co.uk] 3. [Video] The Virtual Revolution. Part 2/4: Enemy of the State. / Hanly, Francis (2010) [Available at ] 4. [Journal] Out of Hand: You Tube Amateurs and Professionals / Salvato, Nick (2009) [Available at jstor.org] 5. [Journal] Sharing, Trading, Creating Culture / Benkler, Benkler (2009) [Available at jstor.org]


6. Making is Connecting / Gauntlett, David (2013) [Unavailable in Library - Available at Amazon.co.uk] 7. Ephemeral Media: Transitory screen culture from Television to YouTube / Grainge, Paul (2011) [Blenheim Walk 302.23] _______________________________________________________________________

Perceived problems or difficulties: I think the types of research and methods that I have proposed in terms of the people that I want to talk to are fairly viable especially when using such technologies as Skype however the main problem I will encounter is getting these people to talk to me and co-operate with the production of my dissertation. However travel expenses maybe incurred to conduct such interviews if such methods as Skype aren’t possible. Availability of resources such as a book may also become a problem as some of the sources I have already began to collected are not available in the library at Leeds College of Art, however this can be overcome by visiting other libraries within the city or purchasing the books from Amazon. Another main difficulty I think I will have is bringing this topic into my creative practice as it is very theoretically based and there aren’t any initial apparent visual aesthetics associated with the topic I will therefore need to consider developing ways of bringing visual investigation into my research process.

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