Teen daydreams and mischief drive net creativity 


There was a shift from entertainment, information and popular culture being provided ‘for the people’ to one ‘by the people’, says cultural researcher Professor John Hartley.

Professor Hartley told the Creative Citizenship symposium in Alice Springs that one of the drivers of this shift was teenagers, who were the most active and innovative users of the Net.

Describing their activities as ‘Teenage Dreaming and Mischief’, he said young people were now directing their ‘creative time-wasting’ into the creative industries, including music, broadcasting and entertainment.

“Teens desires’ to escape established routines, to imagine new possibilities and to develop new relationships and networks—all these are models for creative thinking. Teens are natural innovators,” he said.

He said that normally public policy and government action was devoted to controlling and minimising such ‘time-wasting’ tendencies. But teenagers were intuitively oriented to the future and opposed to their parents’ or institutional ‘maps of the past’.

“Policy needs to focus on the daydreaming, mischievous teenager as a model for creative innovation and dynamic change,” Professor Hartley said.

Moving on to a broader vision of social change, Professor Hartley said there were now more than one billion young people around the world joining the workforce or looking for their first job.

These young people wanted to keep a connection between work and personal life, preferring jobs where professional outputs overlapped with self-expression, and where their own ideas could be turned into things or services that could be bought or sold.

“Where choices are present, young people tend not to want to work in factories or on farms. In short, very many of the coming billions of young people will want to work with knowledge, culture and creativity, in jobs that draw on their individuality and imagination.”

He said the Net had not yet replaced television as the main vehicle of global entertainment, but its scale as a ‘do it yourself’ outlet for individual expression was already remarkable.

“Now everyone can create their own work and publish it, via MySpace, YouTube, Flickr, and other platforms. While such work is circulated among small groups or communities of interest, the potential is always there for someone’s bright idea, performance or personal charm to win an audience of millions—it happens regularly.”

Professor Hartley, research director at Queensland University of Technology’s Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries, was among the line-up of speakers at the Creative Citzenship symposium organised by Charles Darwin University at the Araluen Centre in Alice Springs.

The symposium was debating issues about creativity and community participation in the new technological age.

Visit the symposium website at www.cdu.edu.au/cdss.