Over the past forty years, participatory media projects aimed at young people have received a steadily increasing stream of government investment. By inviting young people to 'express themselves' via both analogue and digital media, policymakers and funders make claims about the transformative effects of using innovative technology for civic engagement. Dr Alicia Blum-Ross’s ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship will draw on her ethnographic research on participatory youth media to produce a series of publications and knowledge exchange events that explore the complex technical, creative and social processes that constitute youth media projects. In particular, the research will examine the benefits and challenges that youth filmmaking offers as an educational intervention into the areas of learning, citizenship, belonging, and empowerment.

This research combines both a micro-level analysis of youth media based on long-term ethnographic fieldwork (encompassing participant-observation, interviews and focus group discussions), with a macro-level political economic analysis of the funding available for youth filmmaking. Dr Blum-Ross’s research draws on theoretical perspectives from Anthropology, Sociology, Media and Communications Studies and Education Studies to contextualise the empirical research. The project will result in a series of academic publications, along with outputs targeted at practitioner audiences in the UK and US.

Start date
02 September 2012
End date
30 August 2014
Grant holder
Dr Alicia Blum-Ross
Grant amount
Grant reference
Grant type