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Vernacular creativity is a term that can be used to provide a critical, historicised perspective on user-led content production that takes cultural politics into account.

It signifies a wide range of everyday creative practices (from scrapbooking to family photography to the storytelling that forms part of casual chat) that have a long history in the 'private' sphere but that are, in an increasingly large range of contexts, being remediated as public culture through digital technologies and platforms.

The convergence of social software with platforms for creative content that characterises Web 2.0 amplifies this process of remediation and has profound implications for 'traditional' definitions of creativity, cultural participation and cultural citizenship, and new media literacy.

Definitions and uses of the term[]

The term ‘vernacular’ - as with language, where it means colloquial - signifies the ways in which everyday creativity is practiced outside the cultural value systems of either high culture (art) or commercial creative practice (television, say). Further, and again as with language, ‘vernacular’ signifies the local specificity of such creative practices, and the need to pay attention to the material, cultural, and geographic contexts in which they occur.

The term also functions as a way of historicising contemporary practices of 'user-led content creation' or 'participatory culture': it is important to remember that vernacular creativity predates any particular innovation in technologies by centuries, and that at the same time its forms and social functions are transmediated and transformed by cultural and technological shifts.


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Further Resources[]