Digitalization of creative work

Thursday 25 November 2021, 11am to 1 pm, EET

Link to the event: https://utu.zoom.us/j/64407953889

Creative work is increasingly becoming digitalized, mediatized and datafied. The webinar addresses the diverse shapes that creative labour takes in our datafied culture. Example cases ranging from fashion industry to digital games also provide openings for thinking about alternative data futures.

Our webinar brings together three leading international scholars of fashion, creative work, and game industry to address the different stakes involved in current-day creative work and data-driven design. Themes of the speakers expand from regional studies of micro-entrepreneurs to the role of datafication in fashion and games. Moving from the overall rationale of work in contemporary culture, we ask how and to what extent the contexts and conditions of creative work and the power relations between key actors are changing.

Webinar program

Angela McRobbie: The Possibility of ‘Social Fashion’: Micro-enterprises in London, Berlin and Milan
Fellow of the British Academy, Professor Emeritus Goldsmiths University of London, Visiting Professor Coventry University

Drawing on a qualitative investigation of fashion independent labels 2014-2018 the lecture argues that in 2021 with the pandemic, Brexit and other dramatic events and changes the global fashion industry finds itself in turmoil and increasingly answerable to critics from so many angles. But this also marks a moment to propose a social fashion comprising local and regional design and production centres which support job creation, which permit greater diversity in the field, and which  allow for a proliferation of design practice. The case for social fashion rests on a London analysis which shows that ‘monopoly rent’ has made it impossible for anyone other than the already wealthy to set up in their own label, so that a more egalitarian fashion culture has to become regional. In Berlin the model of social enterprise has much to offer, where in Milan there are signs of ‘female-led new artisanal designer practice’.

Agnès Rocamora: Deep mediatization and the datafication of fashion
Professor of Social and Cultural Studies, London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London

Contexts of mediatization need to be fully qualified to account for its dimension as a differentiated and historically situated process that is field specific. In this presentation, I focus on the field of fashion, also concentrating on digital media the better to interrogate the differentiated nature of mediatization. I bring Bourdieu’s field theory in dialogue with mediatization theory, contributing to the small body of work that has started drawing conceptual links between the two theories. I do so through the notion of logic, turning in particular towards the recent literature on deep mediatization as a new stage of mediatization. At the core of deep mediatization is datafication, the process whereby everyday practices and experiences are increasingly turned into data. Drawing on critical data studies scholarship, I explore manifestations of the datafication of fashion, and discuss datafication as a key logic of the field of fashion. In dialogue with Bourdieu’s conceptual framework I reflect on the role of data as capital and on that of algorithms as key players and gatekeepers of the field of fashion.

Aphra Kerr: Datafication and Digital Games Work and Play
Professor of Sociology, Maynooth University

Since 2012 digital games has seen the rise and rise of networked and datafied platforms and the reshaping of games, games work, and online play communities. In this talk I will examine three key moments in digital games production that have been influenced by datafication: namely, the influence of player and play metrics on game development work, the influence of AI on community management jobs and community governance, and the development of user generated performances on streaming platforms. Situating these examples within the wider context of surveillance and data capitalism the presentation reflects on the impact of datafication and automation on working conditions at all levels of the digital games industry and the strategies adopted by workers and players to reshape these processes.