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Out of the Basement

Out of the Basement: Youth Cultural Production in Practice and in Policy

Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 272
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  • Book Info
    Out of the Basement
    Book Description:

    Soulja Boy, Justin Bieber, and Tavi Gevinson are hardly representative of typical youth experiences, but their origins highlight many of the realities of youth doing independent creative work. Out of the Basement profiles the variety of youth cultural production in the twenty-first century, and asks what has - or has not - changed as youth attempt to make a living from creative works. Though any young person with a laptop might have greater means to make music, films, or publish writing than in the past, the skills necessary to make a living in today's creative industries are not taught in schools - young artists must find their own way out of their basements. Integrating cultural studies, media education, and subculture studies, Miranda Campbell profiles this process of navigation and negotiation - one largely overlooked in discussions of creative economies - through the life stories of young people who are building careers through cultural work. She considers how existing policies can impede small-scale cultural production and calls for more awareness and support of youth creative enterprise. Moving between the structures directed toward creative life and the initiatives that young people produce themselves in the absence of relevant structures, Out of the Basement offers a timely analysis of the rise of small-scale creative employment.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-8850-9
    Subjects: Sociology
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Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments (pp. vii-viii)
    • INTRODUCTION: Mapping Youth Cultural Production (pp. 3-20)

      From bedrooms, to classrooms, to studios, dark rooms, and green rooms, youth are increasingly producing creative works. More than a passing hobby, this surge in youth cultural production represents a significant employment trend that has yet to be grappled with at the policy level. With a quick glance, it may seem like it is aging boomers, not youth, who have the real clout in the creative industries. In the music industry, seasoned performers like The Rolling Stones, U2, Madonna, Bon Jovi, and Bruce Springsteen had the highest grossing concert tours in the 2000s. But figures other than concert revenues, such...

    • 1 Youth Voices: Life Stories of Navigation and Negotiation (pp. 21-42)

      To begin the project of mapping the new parameters of youth involvement in the creative industries, this chapter profiles the experiences of youth cultural producers through their life stories. These life stories continue to emerge throughout the book and serve to illuminate the interplay between the structures that youth encounter and the initiatives that they create as they attempt to determine what it means to make a living in the creative industries. Methodologically, the use of these life stories comes out of the turn to narrative and oral history research in the social sciences. Dan Goodley, Rebecca Lawthom, Peter Clough,...

    • 2 Registering Bedroom Economies: Theoretical Contexts of Youth Cultural Production (pp. 43-70)

      With the rise of the creative industries and their increasing visibility in cultural policies, research in the social sciences, sociology, and cultural studies has increasingly mapped and studied the changing nature of these industries. While some research has noted that creative industries work seems to be an emerging avenue of self- employment for youth,¹ empirical study of the field of youth cultural production is lacking. Because no one field offers a complete picture of contemporary youth cultural production, this chapter examines existing research from the sometimes disparate fields of research in creative economies, cultural studies, media education, and subculture studies...

    • 3 Does Youth Matter? Cultural Policy in Canada (pp. 73-101)

      In Part Two, I turn to an examination of the Canadian policy terrain in which youth cultural activities are enmeshed. Because this policy terrain has federal, provincial, and municipal layers, as well as international ones, I examine a series of policy moments targeting each of these layers in the chapters in this section. John Foote notes that “to date ... there has been relatively little research and evaluation examining how the three levels of government actually interact on cultural matters in specific communities.”¹ It is beyond the scope of this book to map out all of the interactions of federal,...

    • 4 Making the Case for Culture: Youth and Cultural Participation (pp. 102-120)

      The cultural sector in Canada faces a number of pressing concerns, and gaining and maintaining public support for the investment in art and culture is an ongoing project. Allan Gregg ties the difficulties of gaining public support for cultural investment to a broader picture of Canadians’ disengagement with political life. In this discussion, Gregg cites youth as particularly disconnected with political processes. Making use of voter turnout as an indicator of political participation, he notes that in the 2000 federal election, “voters under twenty-five were only half as likely as those over forty-eight years of age to report a belief...

    • 5 Creative Britain and the Canadian Context: Youth, Education, and Entrepreneurship (pp. 121-147)

      In the developmental phase of Canadian cultural policy, the Massey-Lévesque Commission and its call for the formation of the Canada Council for the Arts looked to the Arts Council of Great Britain as a model.¹ Unlike Canada, Britain has taken up the creative industries at the policy level, most notably with Prime Minister Tony Blair’s championing of “Cool Britannia,” starting in 1997. The British government’s support for the creative industries continued under the helm of Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and this chapter will look at the Creative Britain: New Talents for a New Economy white paper, published in February 2008...

    • 6 Montreal, City of Strife? Agitation, Negotiation, and Visions of the Scene (pp. 148-172)

      With the international attention that has been focused on its independent music scene,¹ Montreal has become renowned for its cultural caché and its ability to foster cultural production. Studying scenes offers a point of entry for schematizing the post-subcultural milieu; Will Straw forwards a focus on scenes for investigating the organizing principles of “highly local clusters of activity” as well as “practices dispersed throughout the world.”² Straw characterizes scenes as “elusive, ephemeral” in that they can constantly be in flux in space and time and can be defined in multiple ways.³

      Is a scene (a) the recurring congregation of people...

    • 7 Beyond Subculture: The Role of Networks in Supporting Youth-Led Initiatives (pp. 175-190)

      As we have seen in Part Two, youth working in the creative industries are impacted by structures and policies that both enable and circumscribe their activities. In Chapter 6, we saw how youth create initiatives to respond to some of these constricting structures. Part Three continues this examination of how youth develop initiatives to assist their navigation and negotiation of the creative industries and investigates youth organizations. “Youth-led” refers to organizations that “maintain 51 per cent or more of the decision-making power in the hands of youth and young adults,” and “youth-involved” refers to “organizations which involve youth and young...

    • 8 Community-Based Models of Youth Involvement with the Creative Industries: Ignite the Americas and the Remix Project (pp. 191-214)

      Youth involvement with the creative industries may not always register in academic research or in government policies, but this lack of presence of youth does not preclude the possibilities of youth–government partnerships that have yet to fully materialize. This sort of partnership offers one potential avenue for better supporting youth involvement in the creative industries, and Ignite the Americas is one youth-led network that takes up this possibility. In 2008, I observed the Ignite the Americas conference that was held in Toronto and brought together youth delegates from North, South, and Central America. The initial Ignite conference in 2007...

  7. CONCLUSION: Towards a Comprehensive Youth Policy Framework to Support Youth Cultural Production (pp. 215-238)

    The film Almost Famous is Cameron Crowe’s semi-autobiographical tale of a fifteen-year-old high school student, William Miller, who goes from a bedroom-based rock music super-fan to an internationally travelling music correspondent for Rolling Stone magazine.¹ Through William’s journey, Crowe suggests that successfully implanting oneself in the creative industries is a matter of pluck, ingenuity, and faith. William’s first entry into the field of rock journalism happens after meeting rock critic and Creem magazine editor Lester Bangs at the local radio station where Bangs is being interviewed. After the interview, William chats Bangs up and is given an assignment: write a...

  8. Notes (pp. 239-260)
  9. Bibliography (pp. 261-272)
  10. Index (pp. 273-284)