Ioana Literat, USC Annenberg
Crowdsourced Art: A Participatory Open Online Course
As part of my dissertation, I will teach an open online course on crowdsourced art and – building community among the global participants – engage them in the creation of five distinct crowdsourced art projects, representing the five levels of artistic participation identified in my previous research. This course will be designed as a “POOC”: a participatory open online course, which reinvents the concept of MOOCs by investing it with the principles of participatory learning. My dissertation will bring together my experience as an educational researcher with my keen interest in crowdsourced art and participatory cultures.
A key conclusion that emerged from my research is that participation should not be used as a blanket term; particularly, there is a crucial – yet often overlooked – distinction between participation (a task-based contribution to a pre-designed project) and collaboration (structural input in the form of co-design). But while co-design is a more meaningful and more ethical mode of engagement, is it actually feasible in collaborative digital art? The goal of this study is to provide an answer to this question, by crafting the conditions that would enable co-design, and thus assessing its feasibility in context. Specifically, in order to enable co-design, I believe it is necessary to stimulate a sense of community and facilitate a participatory culture among the contributors – however conditional or ephemeral that may be. To create this social space, I will design and teach a POOC on crowdsourced art, inviting participants to collaborate on the production of art projects as part of their learning experience. In keeping with the ethical aspirations of co-design, choosing this course as a vehicle for collective artistic production will also ensure that the participants are fully informed collaborators, who understand the parameters of engagement and the goals of crowdsourced art as a social and aesthetic practice.
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