David Gauntlett


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Creative Explorations: New approaches to identities and audiences
David Gauntlett
Published by Routledge, 2007

Shortlisted for the 2007 Times Higher award,
'Young Academic Author of the Year'

How do you picture identity? What happens when you ask individuals to make visual representations of their own identities, influences, and relationships?

Drawing upon an array of disciplines from neuroscience to philosophy, and art to social theory, David Gauntlett explores the ways in which researchers can embrace people's everyday creativity in order to understand social experience.

Seeking an alternative to traditional interviews and focus groups, he outlines studies in which people have been asked to make visual things - such as video, collage, and drawing - and then interpret them. This leads to an innovative project in which Gauntlett asked people to build metaphorical models of their identities in Lego. This creative reflective method provides insights into how individuals present themselves, understand their own life story, and connect with the social world.

Creative Explorations is a lively, readable and original discussion of identities, media influences, and creativity, which will be of interest to both students and academics.

These two videos offer an introduction to the work discussed in the book:

Representing Identities, part 1: Method
A short introduction to creative visual research where we ask people to make things as part of the process; with particular focus on the Lego identity study.
[5 min 41 sec].
Representing Identities, part 2: Findings
A short guide to findings from the Lego identity study, where people were asked to build metaphorical models of their identities.
[6 min 48 sec].
  • You can also read an extract from the conclusion.
  • For more on this approach, see the ArtLab website.