Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Job Opportunity: Seeking PhD Student Research Assistant for Summer Position (July-August, 2013)

Seeking one, current full-time doctoral student interested in working with me (Dr. Sara Grimes, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto) on a SSHRC-funded project entitled Children's Do-It-Yourself Media: Mapping trends, policy implications and best practices around children's increased participation in creative cultural production online. The successful candidate will assemble a comprehensive literature review, assist in a survey of children’s DIY tools/sites, and contribute to intellectual direction of theoretical framework. They will act as a key liaison between project partners and assist in coordinating data collection across the research team. Writing reports and papers is a key part of this project.

Some background in social sciences (information, education, communication, sociology, anthropology, etc.) and/or social science research is required. Experience and/or research interests relating to children/youth and digital media would be seen as a key asset. As this is a three-year project, there is a possibility of continuing on the project during the school year. The research assistant must demonstrate genuine commitment, serious interest, good work ethic, a strong writing ability, and enthusiasm for collaborating with a cross-disciplinary team.

If interested, please contact Dr. Sara Grimes at sara[dot]grimes[at]utoronto[dot]ca with a description of why you're interested and what skills you would bring to the position, a writing sample, an up-to-date resume, and a list of 2-3 references (names and contact info only). 

Minimum time commitment: 45-50 hrs/month (salary = $35.00/hr), July-August 2013. Possibility of continuing throughout the school year.

Please note: The project requires that the RA be on site for a significant portion of the research, i.e. the successful candidate must be predominantly situated in Toronto during the time period of the RAship (July-August 2013).

Deadline for application: June 25, 2013.

Project Description:
Children’s Do-It-Yourself-Media
Children have long participated in the production of do-it-yourself (DIY) media at the individual and local scale. These practices form a crucial part of children’s cultural, social and everyday lives, but are also understood to provide significant opportunities for learning. Today, children’s DIY media creation increasingly takes place online, using digital tools that allow them to not only produce and share their ideas with the world, but also develop many of the skills they’ll need to be participants, innovators and leaders in the digital economy. This development has the potential to contribute significantly to the ongoing democratization of the media, by opening up the means of production and distribution to a user group that has traditionally been systematically excluded from contributing directly to these processes. However, outside of a handful of studies, we currently know very little about the children’s DIY media phenomenon, the frequency with which children engage in these activities or what types of media they are producing. There are furthermore significant gaps in our knowledge of how child-made media is shaped and moderated by the companies who design DIY media tools and websites, not to mention what types of policies and design practices work to support children’s DIY media creation and which ones might in fact hinder children’s creativity and cultural rights.

This project is aimed at advancing our understanding of an important emerging phenomenon and mapping the various opportunities and challenges involved. The objectives include identifying the types of support systems--regulatory, infrastructural, and technical--required to foster a rights-based, child-centric, inclusive approach to children's online DIY media production, which will in turn support children's learning, cultural participation and digital skill development.