Author Archives: Julian Sefton-Green

Who else is reimagining learning in digital worlds besides big tech?

I gave this talk recently at a seminar held at the University of Utrecht called Platforms and Pedagogies: Digital technologies and new perspectives for Youth & Education which concluded the Learning in digital Worlds project held jointly between Deakin and Utrecht. A PDF of my slides can be found here. I tried to offer way of not being subsumed by a “platform gaze” arguing that we need to think of platforms as a larger process owned jointly by a range of actors and institutions which constitute the under-the-surface work of a platform, and that future research needs explore the work of these various sectors and organisations as part of any agenda examining platforms in education.

I also visited colleagues at the University of Groningen offering a PhD masterclass on platform pedagogies and a talk reprising The Class asking whether it still asks the right questions in a post Covid platformed vision of society.

Youthsites :Histories of Creativity, Care, and Learning in the City

This co-authored book has just been published. It is open access and is available here.

The book is an original study of the youth organizations in London, Toronto, and Vancouver that offer creative and arts learning mainly to youth from diverse and socially marginalized backgrounds. It describes a sector that is often not recognized as such, organizations that don’t like being institutionalized, forms of education that exist outside the mainstream, and types of aesthetic expression that often go unrecognized.

Rooted in the history of community arts movements Youthsites are now part of cities around the world.Technological change, shifts in educational and policy discourses and a decline in funding of formal public schooling have all impacted the growth of youth arts organizations.

Yet, there are to date no systematic studies of the history, structure, and development of this “sector”. We wanted to fill this gap and the book is the first study to develop an internationally comparative, evidence-based, analysis of the organizations, and people who are helping young people to become creators, citizens, or just themselves in times of austerity, crisis, and change.

Is there a ‘theory of learning’ for cultural studies and is it (still) relevant in an era of surveillance capitalism?

This article questions how cultural studies has been constructed as an educational project to examine if it might offer principles for learning about living in digital culture now. It first considers how the subject of Cultural Studies developed in relationship to education and then revisits empirical studies of cultural studies in schools. The essay engages with perspectives on evaluating the effects of these approaches and situates debates about learning with reference to theories of resistance and the field of reception studies. The final section of the article explores what cultural studies could and should be doing nowadays amidst considerable concern about the politics of digital culture. It challenges whether some of the underlying educational principles which animated its origins have any value in contemporary concerns with forms of surveillance capitalism.