Alicia's research draws on media and communication studies, anthropology, education studies, sociology, design and social policy. Her research has focused on how children and young people, together with their parents and educators, learn and participate through media-production and use. She uses ethnographic research methods, sometimes including participatory visual and creative methods, to prioritise the perspectives of children and young people alongside educators, parents and policy-makers.
Working with Prof Sonia Livingstone and Dr Julian Sefton-Green, this research is part of the Connected Learning Research Network and is funded by the MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning initiative. Preparing for a Digital Future examines how parents approach the task of raising their children in a digital age. Through ethnographic research with digital media and learning sites and in-depth interviews with parents, children and young people and media educators, this project asks:
- What are parent’s visions of their children’s future and that of the wider society?
- What risks or opportunities, vis a vis technology and beyond, do parents see opening up for themselves and their children?
- How do parents conceive of being a ‘good parent’ and how do they evaluate the educational, social and technological resources available to their children?
- And how do their children view and respond to their parents’ hopes, fears and values regarding digital media?
As part of this research Alicia writes for and manages a blog on parenting and technology for parents, policy-makers, researchers, parenting-advocates and educators – www.parenting.digital
Alicia’s previous research, which began as her doctoral research and was expanded and disseminated through an ESRC Early Career Fellowship at the LSE, looked at the possibilities and limitations of youth media production as an avenue for civic engagement, empowerment and youth ‘voice.’ Through ethnographic research with youth media organizations in London and New York this research examined:
- How is youth media production conceived of by policy makers and facilitators as a pathway to civic engagement?
- How do young people approach the technical, social and creative processes within filmmaking?
- What skills – both technical and social – do young people accrue through participatory filmmaking?
- How does the political economy of the funding of youth media projects impact on the way they are facilitated and experienced?
Before coming to the LSE Alicia was a Visiting Fellow in the Department of Media and Communications at the LSE working on the Space2Cre8 research project, in collaboration with researchers from the Graduate School of Education at University of California, Berkeley. Space2Cre8 was an international collaboration between schools in the US, UK, Australia, South Africa, India and Norway to explore how young people can use social networks as a means to foster creative inter-cultural communication.
Alicia led the ethnographic research on a participatory design and citizen journalism project called Bespoke at the Digital World Research Centre in the Department of Sociology at University of Surrey. Working with User Experience (UX) and Interaction Designers, Computer Scientists, Product Designers, Journalists and Digital Makers, this project examined how community media can be used as a means of generating ethnographic insight and enabling participant feedback within a community-centred innovation process. Alicia worked with young community journalists in two under-resourced communities in the city of Preston, in the North of England, to produce hyper-local journalism which was then used as inspiration for new digital tools for community cohesion. She was the lead author on a widely distributed policy report on Bespoke that accompanied an exhibition at the V&A Museum during the London Design Festival, 2011.
Behaviour Change Communication amongst Somali refugees in Kenya
Alicia spent several months in the Dadaab refugee camps on the Kenya-Somali border working with the organization FilmAid to conduct research with Somali refugees who were planning and filming a behaviour-change communication (BCC) film on preventing the spread of HIV.