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CCi Conference: Brisbane, 25-27 June 2008

I'll be spending the rest of this week at the inaugural conference of the Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation (CCi) here in Brisbane, and I'll try to live-blog as much as possible from the conference. This should be a great event - keynote speakers include Baroness Susan Greenfield, MIT's Henry Jenkins, Mark Deuze (the author of Media Work), and a number of other luminaries in the field. Henry will also be launching a number of books (including my own Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life, and Beyond: From Production to Produsage) on Wednesday evening.

There's a strong citizen journalism stream in the conference, and my own paper operates in that field, too - titled "Beyond the Pro/Am Schism: Opportunities for Collaboration between Professional and Citizen Journalists under a Produsage Framework", it's more of an exploratory rumination on questions which I've found myself coming back to repeatedly over the past few years; from my study of organisational models for the collaborative production of online news in Gatewatching: Collaborative Online News Production to my work on produsage across various domains of knowledge creation in Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life, and Beyond, it seems to me that the great unanswered question remains how to effectively combine broad participatory (i.e. citizen) involvement and enable the recognition of expert ('professional') knowledges.

I don't think that the obvious, conventional models for managing this 'pro-am' tension work particularly well - a concentric, hierarchical model with 'professional' experts at the centre, drawing on an extended periphery of interested 'amateurs', in most cases tends to generate more problems than it resolves, and at any rate, exactly who is a professional / expert, or an amateur / layperson, is a non-trivial question which isn't resolved simply by examining a contributor's degrees and accreditations. Produsage, as I define it, relies on a more fluid, heterarchical structure of collaboration which is maintained through constant evaluation of contributions and contributors by the community; here, too, the devil is in the details of how such evaluation is managed, of course...

For journalism, at any rate, there's a real need (and great opportunity) to try new models which move beyond pitting professional and citizen journalists against one another, and instead build mutually acceptable and constructive alliances; to do so, both sides will need to reconsider their stance towards the other side. Here are my presentation slides for the paper (I'll add the audio after the presentation I've also added the audio now).

We'll see what discussion that contribution creates at the conference - I'm looking forward to it. If you can't make it to Brisbane, you can follow my blog posts from the conference here - I'll cross-post to and as appropriate.

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