Access All Areas – Symposium on User-Generated Content, Bristol, UK, 20-21 May 2010

Not even the most utopian critics of 20th Century mass media could have predicted the explosion of human creativity and digital diversity at the start of the 21st Century. The net continues to offer participants possibilities to interact with media that are refashioning the whole enterprise of cultural production. The growth of the blogosphere, the influence of peer-to-peer media distribution, and the continuing escalation of diverse forms of video and photo sharing have all shaken the foundations of the mass media industries. The traditional gatekeepers of cultures, the editors and filters of news, and custodians of media quality have all been forced to adjust to the realities of participatory cultural production. Traditional notions of the political and cultural public sphere are being refashioned and troubled through ecological approaches. This unsettling influence is not limited to the cultural industries. The dynamics of ‘web 2.0’ and participatory media now ripple out across all sectors of the economy where ‘consumer participation’ and ‘open innovation’ have become watchwords for growth.

Access All Areas is a two-day symposium that will develop the critical questions that we need to understand this emerging field. This event will have a single strand running from lunchtime on Thursday 20th May through until the afternoon of Friday 21st May.

Presentation proposals are welcomed that address the following indicative areas:
* ‘A million channels and nothing on’ – what is ‘quality’ in user-generated content?
* ‘Show me the money’ – what revenue streams are emerging for user-generated content?
* ‘Playbour?’ -What are the new labour relations of the voluntary free work provided by the growth of UGC?
* What are the new genres and aesthetics of participatory media?

This exciting event is open to 30 participants at a cost of £30, with some reductions for postgraduate researchers on a limited basis.