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Open Literacy: Digital Games, Social Responsibility and Social Innovation

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An international Research Symposium co-sponsored by Tencent Holdings (China) and Curtin University’s Centre for Culture & Technology and Internet Studies.

Event details

In the era of open access, open science and open knowledge… what about open literacy?

Monday 30 September - Tuesday 1 October 2019
Please see program for more information.
Please see program for more information.
White iPad tablet in foreground being held by hands.

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Social media and video games are often blamed for individual behavioural delinquency, but rarely praised for cultural creativity, social innovation or helping us to form new social groups or work through new ideas. Video games are now a political football, both in the US (where they’re blamed for gun crime) and in China (where they’re blamed for childhood myopia).

Every new media form has grown up surrounded by those wanting to control it. Popular literacy has never been free and open. Popular novels and the press; cinema and TV; and more recently digital and social media, have all attracted the wrath of incumbent commercial, government or social interests. But in the era of open access, open science, open knowledge, what about open literacy? Can it be extended to whole populations, across demographic borders, at global scale, for purposeless but nevertheless pedagogic play, and for social innovation, instead of being a mere instrument for profit, power and mass persuasion?

Open Literacy refers to the cultural uses of digital and media literacy:

  • to create new groups and meanings, extending knowledge by means of informal entertainment and narrative, dramatic or game formats;
  • to experiment with new technologies, extending both play (informal, anthropological, purposeless) and games (elaborate, competitive, high-skill) as part of the innovation system for digital culture;
  • to advance knowledge and communication by digital means, and to link future-facing digital culture with traditional archives and forms;
  • to encourage user-led social innovation in times of uncertainty and change, across demographic borders, at global scale.

Open literacy is user-centred and system-wide, ‘bottom-up’ rather than ‘top down’, producing unforeseen network effects that in turn change the rules of the game.

Navigating ‘newness’ (not just novelty but transformational change) raises new questions:

  • How does Open Literacy intersect with other ‘open’ initiatives: open source; open access; open science; open campus?
  • Given that Open Literacy is cultural and informal, not institutional and disciplinary, what should policymakers, educators, arts/literature agencies, sport/exercise bodies and commercial entertainment/ leisure providers do to nurture it?

The ‘Open Literacy’ Research Symposium brings international and local experts together to report on cutting edge research, linking games, social innovation and social responsibility. The event will consider a counter-narrative to the rhetoric of behavioural harm and social danger, looking at digital media and games as affordances for community-building and the emancipation of knowledge.

Book your ticket now

View the Centre for Culture and Technology (CCAT) website for more information, or view the event program.