Sunday, August 31, 2014

Another lovely new book in our series: "Community-Based Multiliteracies and Digital Media Projects"

Heather Pleasants and Dana Salter have included an engaging and insightful set of accounts from a wide range of community-based project workers--authors who often don't find a voice in academic spaces but whose work is hugely important everywhere--in their edited collection, Community-Based Multiliteracies and Digital Media Projects. As the back cover blurb explains:

Within community-based digital literacies work, a fundamental question remains unanswered: Where are the stories and reflections of the researchers, scholars, and community workers themselves? We have learned much about contexts, discourses, and the multimodal nature of meaning making in literacy and digital media experiences. However, we have learned very little about those who initiate, facilitate, and direct these community-based multiliteracies and digital media projects. In Community-Based Multiliteracies & Digital Media Projects: Questioning Assumptions and Exploring Realities, contributors discuss exemplary work in the field of community-based digital literacies, while providing an insightful and critical perspective on how we begin to write ourselves into the stories of our work. In doing so, the book makes a powerful contribution to digital literacies praxis and pedagogy - within and outside of community-based contexts.
A particular strength of the various chapters in this collection is that the authors do not shy away from talking about things that went awry or didn't work out so well (and reasons why), along with what did work.  There are so many practical insights for non-profit community groups in this book that will help to smooth project development and implementation, as well as theoretical insights that help us to think more clearly about what it means to be part of/work with communities.

Contents incude:

And reviews are already streaming in for this collection and include comments such as:

"What I so appreciate about this important volume is that the authors take up as central the kinds of conversations that too often only happen off the record. Fearlessly, they explore the messiness of research on digital media literacies. They ask what to do when things don’t go as planned, when deeply personal stories go public, when intentions bump up against realities within the politics of ‘doing good.’ We all need to think deeply about these issues together, and to speak of them out loud and on the record. We need methods to embed reflection and critical analysis of process into multiliteracies research, which is precisely the mandate this collection delivers on, with clarity and courage." (Dr. Elisabeth Soep, Senior Producer and Research Director, Youth Radio)

"By playing at the intersection of the digital literacy and community context, the editors and their co-authors move beyond traditional conversations about the pedagogical and programmatic mechanics of utilizing digital media to the criti-cal examination of digital literacies in specific contexts and the associated chal-lenges that accompany this work. As a STEAM educator and community advocate, I believe that through their work, Heather M. Pleasants and Dana E. Salter have created an invaluable space to interrogate some of the key questions facing those hoping to empower educators and students to utilize digital media to change and improve their world." (Dr. Brian Williams, Director, Alonzo A. Crim Center for Urban Educational Excellence, and Assistant Professor, Early Childhood Education, Georgia State University)

"This is a beautifully conceptualized collection. The editors have invited experienced, self-reflective, community-based practitioners to ‘write themselves into the story’ of their work and the result is a nuanced conversation about the intricacies, ambiguities, challenges, and the inspiration of collaborating across boundaries to create media that matter. The insights shared and questions explored are invaluably generative. They help us think critically about the ethics, integrity, and purposes of our labor. They remind us that reflection into process is not for the footnotes; rather, it is central to the story of social justice work." (Darcy Alexandra, visual anthropologist, writer, educator, and documentary practitioner, Centre for Transcultural Research and Media Practice, Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland)

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