Recently I happened upon David Gauntlett’s book Making is Connecting (no, literally, I was searching for another book in the stacks and was attracted to the graphics on the cover) at the university. David Gauntlett is Professor of Media Communications at University of Westminster, UK.
In the introduction, Gauntlett notes that the ‘real’ point of the book is:
“[…] to address the broader question of ‘Why is everyday creativity important?’ Because I feel that it’s incredibly important – important for society – and therefore political. […]
But I think that it’s absolutely crucial. Even if each of the things made seems, to a grumpy observer, rather trivial. You may note that my examples just above are not the absolute essentials of life – people can survive without silly entertainment, flowers, gloves, or songs, if they have to. But it is the fact that people have make a choice – to make something themselves rather than just consume what’s given by the big suppliers – that is significant. Amplified slightly, it leads to a whole new way of looking at things, and potentially to a real political shift in how we deal with the world.
One example of how the idea of everyday creativity can be scaled up into something significant, political, and vitally important, is the Transition movement. The Transition movement stems from the idea that – although we are likely to face really huge challenges as climate change grows, and as the oil that we rely on so much runs out – human beings are creative and can work well together to do great things. And therefore, if we think imaginatively together, and make plans and ideas for a new enjoyable way of living which doesn’t rely so much on the environmentally damaging things, or things we’re running out of, them we might be OK. This is an approach based on optimism and creativity, and it could actually work. The movement is taking off, and you can read about it in the books The Transition Handbook by Rob Hopkins and The Transition Timeline by Shaun Chamberlin, or at the website, http://www.transitionnetwork.org
The Transition movement is a great illustration of what I’m talking about, then, but so it the less obviously ‘political’ content of online video and craft sites, and everyday home made events, untrained attempts at art, humble efforts to make a knitted owl with solar-powered eyes, and anything else where people are rejecting the givens and are making their world anew. This helps us to build resilience – one of the key Transition words – and the creative capacity to deal with significant challenges.”
(Making is Connecting, p. 19-20)
Allow me to share a few photos that I took recently of some amazing young makers – highly likely to have great positive impacts on their world!
I am interested in some of the finer points that Gauntlett stresses in this text and how they might relate to my own research. If you’d like to get a further taste of Gauntlett’s ideas, you can listen to him below:
There is also a website that accompanies this book http://www.makingisconnecting.org