Crowdsourcing Girl Identities
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Crowdsourcing Girl Identities

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This presentation was given at the conference Digital Gender: Theory, Methodology and Practice at Umeå University in Sweden. Date: 14th of March 2014. It the presentation Camilla Hällgren......

This presentation was given at the conference Digital Gender: Theory, Methodology and Practice at Umeå University in Sweden. Date: 14th of March 2014. It the presentation Camilla Hällgren introduces her concept Crowdsourced Identities. She also links art, activism and research and presents her art and research project called "- Do You Think I'm Pretty?" Crowdsourcing Girl Identities. The overall aim in the project is to conduct empirical, theoretical and artistic explorations of girls’ online identity-making to further our understanding of the relation between online culture, gender and young peoples’ identity-making.

Conference Abstract
The basic dynamics of identity-making are still much the same but when it comes to arenas for formations of identity, today’s young generation has opportunities to do it differently from pre-online generations. Following arguments of Palfrey and Glaser (2008) and Thumin (2012) one important difference is found in the potential access to larger audience and online contexts that may allow experimentations and reinventions. This presentation reports on an ongoing research and art project: “Do You think I’m Pretty?” The overall aim in the project is to conduct empirical, theoretical and artistic explorations of girls’ online identity-making to further our understanding of the relation between digital culture, gender and young peoples’ identity-making.


Bio: Camilla Hällgren works as a senior lecturer at Umeå University in Sweden. She also works as an artist (www.littleswedenart.com). She received her PhD in 2006 for her thesis Researching and Developing Swedkid: A Swedish Case Study at the Intersection of the Web, Racism and Education. Her research interests includes identity, gender, learning and online visual cultures. One of her most recent work was as editor (with Elza Dunkels and Gun-Marie Frånberg) and author in the anthology Invisible Girl.

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  • 1. Crowdsourcing Girl Identities Digital Gender - March 14th 2014 Camilla Hällgren - Umeå University
  • 2. • Art - As Research and Activism • Research – As Discovery and Activism • Concluding Remarks camilla.hallgren@edusci.umu.se Crowdsourcing Girl Identities
  • 3. Power Identity Gender Contemporary Online Media Learning camilla.hallgren@edusci.umu.se Visuality RESEARCH & ART
  • 4. Art – As Research and Activism Exploring the human condition not only through numbers and words - but also through art Themes: Power, learning, identity, gender Using art to comment, question, provoke, challenge and intervene camilla.hallgren@edusci.umu.se
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  • 11. Strength: Images stimulates emotional reactions Weakness: Norms about emotional values camilla.hallgren@edusci.umu.se Methodology: Multifunction of text and art to attract interest and at the same time challenge the viewer Combination of macro technique, 12 mms model train figures in everyday scenarios, and gender theories Little Sweden Art: Big issues on a small scale Art – As Research and Activism
  • 12. Dissemination Online Social Media Blog, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram The art blog: www.littleswedenart.com First published December 2009 80 000 visitors from all over the world. Sweden, US, Germany and Russia Facebook Group: Little Sweden Art (140 members) Instagram: @littleswedenart First published in August 2012 54 images 2025 followers 3398 comments, 21 744 likes. Instagram Awards camilla.hallgren@edusci.umu.se - Amselcom Family who shows ”the most unique artist on Instagram” - The Josh Johnson forum, a community of 220 000 members. Little Sweden Art was awarded and recognised as ”…definitely thinking out of the typical macro box” and as ”something out of the ordinary.” - By the Friends of the World Group who ”Awards worldwide beautiful shots” - Winner of the What Eye Cee Group - Rebel Macro Finalist - Kwaii of the day Art – As Research and Activism
  • 13. Dissemination – other channels - Recent exhibition at Skellefteå Art Hall - The National Public Art Council in Sweden 2010 - Museums - Municipal arts centres - County councils - Idaho State University - Local news - TV - Book covers - University web - Printed Edition: Gallery Andersson Sandström camilla.hallgren@edusci.umu.se Art – As Research and Activism
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  • 15. Research – As Discovery and Activism camilla.hallgren@edusci.umu.se The overall aim in the project is to conduct empirical, theoretical and artistic explorations of girls’ online identity-making to further our understanding of the relation between online culture, gender and young peoples’ identity-making The interaction between online cultures and youths’ identity making “- Do You think I’m Pretty?” Crowdsourcing Girl Identities
  • 16. Crowdsourcing Identities? - To conceptualize possible identity making strategies in social media - A metaphor for understanding young girls’ online explorations and learnings about gender - As an extension to pre-digital theories about identity construction - The online practice of obtaining feedback on your identity, from a large group of people (Camilla Hällgren 2014) ________________________________________________________ ”Crowdsourcing is the practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people, and especially from an online community, rather than from traditional employees or suppliers” Wikipedia 2014-03-06 camilla.hallgren@edusci.umu.se
  • 17. Crowdsourcing Identities – Why Important? - As an example of contemporary identity making strategies - As an example of using the media rather than being used by the media - As something empowering - Identity making may be a matter of making life chances. - Who you may/can be, what choices you can make and how your identity is read - it is a matter of power camilla.hallgren@edusci.umu.se
  • 18. Crowdsourcing Identities – Why now? - The global changeover towards the Network Society (van Dijk, Castells and others) - New media - networking technologies – other capabilties to interaction - Web 1.0, 2.0, 3,0, UGC and SNS - ”…nobody knows you are a dog” (Steiner 1993) - Selfhood as inner conversation transformed to external interactive perfomance (Loveless and Williamson 2013) - The ”Demotic turn” A shift in the relation between media and people (Graeme Turner 2010) camilla.hallgren@edusci.umu.se
  • 19. Crowdsourcing Identities – How to Research? Research Object Online expressions of identity making Instances of explorations of the self (…not presentations of the self or expressions of particular identities) Method Netnography (Kozinets) Non participant observations Critical visual method (Rose 2013) Purposeful sampling relating to study purpose (Patton) Analytical objects User Generated Contents (UGC) Online, first person video visuals and written comments camilla.hallgren@edusci.umu.se
  • 20. Crowdsourcing Identities – Ethics? - Non-participatory observations - Publicly available online material - Masking - Terms of Use - Following fundamental rights of human dignity, autonomy, minimization of harm and respect to persons - Contextual integrity, context-relative norms (Nissenbaum 2011) - Acknowledgement of privacy in public (AoIR 2012, Vetenskapsrådet, Kozinet 2011, ESOMAR 2013, Nissenbaum 2011, Iakomedis Svedmark 2012, Dunkels 2013) camilla.hallgren@edusci.umu.se
  • 21. Crowdsourcing Identities – Images as Units of Analysis? - Suggests that images are more than shapes and colours - Carries information/embodies: values, norms, social processes (Sverrison, 2011, Pauvell, 2012) Social documents. - Representations of how the producers and the audience saw things at that particular time. Non-material dimensions of culture. - Online folk documents. Part of the circuit of culture. (du Gay 1997, Wagner 2012) - “Search for the society in the picture and the pictures’ role in the society” (Sverrison, 2013:166) camilla.hallgren@edusci.umu.se
  • 22. Crowdsourcing Identities – Theoretical Framework Identity George Herbert Mead (1934) Thoughts about the self. Developed by Erving Goffman (1959) Transferred into a mediated context by Joshua Meyrowitz (1985) ("The localness of experience is a constant.") (Thumin, 2011) ”…sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others" (W.E.B Du Bois 1903) Gender (de Beauvoir 1949, Rubin 1976, Young 1980, Hirdman 1987, Butler, Connel, Yates, Walkerdine) Participatory culture framework (Jenkins, Burges and Green, 2009, Chau, 2010) Youth online (Dunkels, Boyd, Buckingham, Livingstone) Feminist concern and Critical Normative approach camilla.hallgren@edusci.umu.se
  • 23. Crowdsourcing Identities – Theory – Identity - Understanding of who we are (Taylor 2002) - Identity paradox – (Latin IDEM - the same) - Something unique and something we share (Buckingham 2008) - Also how we are positioned – power dimensions - Bauman – fluid identity, almost limitless, negotiable - Identity – a performance shaped by context (Goffman 1959) - As a function of interaction with others (Wagner 2011) - Intersectionality of identity dimensions (Crenshaw 1989) camilla.hallgren@edusci.umu.se
  • 24. Camilla Hällgren - hallgren.camilla@gmail.com Crowdsourcing Identities – The Girl
  • 25. Power Linguistically Psychologically Existential condition Socially and culturally Life stage Individual experience Intersectionally Generation Gender Social class Ethnicity Nationality Sexual orientation Able bodiness Mental abilities Biologically Politically Symbolically Relational Situational Camilla Hällgren - hallgren.camilla@gmail.com Crowdsourcing Identities – The Girl
  • 26. - What can we learn about our existence at the intersection between art and research? camilla.hallgren@edusci.umu.se Concluding Remarks
  • 27. - How important are online inputs to identity making compared to other sources/mirrors? - To what extent is a persons online Information to bee seen as an extension of the self? And vice-versa? - What is digital about digital identity/gender? - What may be the main ethical issues of researching online identity making? - What can we learn about the society and human conditions through the study of its visual artefacts? - Where does the unit of analysis start and where does it end? - How to balance great potentials for self expressinos, education activism and great potentials for commercial interests and surveillance? - What can we learn about our existence at the intersection of art and research? camilla.hallgren@edusci.umu.se Concluding Remarks - Longer Version
  • 28. camilla.hallgren@edusci.umu.se Camilla Hällgren Department of Applied Educational Science Interactive Media and Learning Umeå University Camilla.Hallgren@edusci.umu.se www.littleswedenart.com