Preparing for a Digital Future has two interlinked strands:
Parenting for a digital future
- How do parents and carers approach the task of bringing up their children in the digital age?
- What is their vision of their children’s future and that of the wider society?
- What risks or opportunities do they see opening up for them and their children?
- How then do they conceive of being a ‘good parent’ and how do they evaluate the learning and socialisation resources available to their children?
- And how do their children view and respond to their parents’ hopes, fears and values regarding digital media?
From the days of early films and comics to today’s social networks, tablets and multiplayer online games, technology has always entered into the discourses of parenting, raising new hopes and fears and necessitating shifts in parenting practices. Yet the pace of recent advances in digital media – not to mention talk about smart homes, geo-location apps, driverless cars and the internet of things – leaves many parents and carers increasingly anxious about what these changes will mean for their children, now and in the future. Parents are left unsupported by the polarised public debate about the detrimental effects of ‘screen time’ on the one hand, and the visions of digital media as offering radically-new pathways to academic achievement, or self-expression on the other. To aid parents and policy-makers in assessing the available evidence, we have written a policy brief and a series of blog posts on the current state of research on ‘screen time’ including case studies from our own research.
To understand parental conceptions of the ‘digital future,’ we invite participants to reflect on imagery of the future as well as the changing nature of childhood since their own youth. Parenting discourses often foreground notions of ‘best practice’ or ‘ideal pathways’ or, more prosaically, what ‘most people do’. But in reality, we are finding that parents and carers are highly diverse, so we are exploring the different economic, religious, social and cultural contexts in which parents negotiate these choices and also highlight the diversity in parents’ orientations to the digital future.
See our blog for updates.
Preparing for creative labour
- What are the barriers and enablers to young people’s transition from participation in semi-formal creative learning organisations to paid work in the cultural and creative industries?
- How can young people learn about and take advantage of progressions between and across different forms of social structure, qualifications infrastructure and institution to be able to develop organised careers in an increasingly-precarious economic landscape?
- How and in what ways do the generic properties of 'digital creativity' create different kinds of opportunity for employment and movement across traditional work roles?
- What notions of learning identity and continuous ‘professional’ development support or hinder entry into work?
We will engage both with young ‘filmmakers’, to reflect with those who have started careers about the influences that shaped them, and with educators and mentors from non-formal learning organisations in the UK and other English-speaking countries to consider the supports they put in place to help their young people explore these career trajectories. Working directly with learning organisations, including the British Film Institute’s Film Academy, this research will provide recommendations how to support young people effectively, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, to use their newly-developed skills and experiences as they begin to enter the ‘world of work’; and to map the complex mix of pathways, life-skills, barriers and opportunities that young people have to navigate and learn as they move from leisure interests to paid employment.