This autumn I was one of the shadow researchers for the Hans Christian Andersen Awards 2022, as well as on the editorial team for the publication of the author and illustrator spotlight blog for the project. For my own spotlight blog I chose to research French Canadian author and nominee Angèle Delaunois. You can read the article here.
I was one of ten presenters at the first ever Annual Children’s Literature Media and Culture Symposium – CLMC Speaks – this year. The event was hosted as a two-part Zoom session over two days in September, and was attended by more than 80 participants from around the world.
You can see an overview of my presentation on the CLMC Speaks Blog here.
I am also a founding member of the CLMC Alumni Association, which hosts the annual symposium. You can find more info about that here.
Understanding TikTok as young people’s media practice.
In 2021 I submitted my master’s thesis on the topic of TikTok. Below is the abstract and you can find the link to the entire dissertation here.
As of January 2021, the video production and sharing app TikTok had 689 million monthly users. Though it is hard to measure precisely how many of those users are young people, there is no doubt that the app is particularly popular among children and teens. Much of the discourse around TikTok in the mainstream media has taken a negative view of this, portraying the app as a discrete entity capable of having a direct effect on its young users. This view fails to appreciate the complexity of the relationships between the app and its users, and has led to an unbalanced understanding of the app itself. In an attempt to redress that balance, this study seeks to acknowledge the popularity of TikTok with young people in order to better understand its use, asking the seemingly simple question: why TikTok? That is to say, what is it specifically about TikTok that has made it such a success with young people? Starting with a re-interpretation of the app as a media using a framework derived from mediatisation research, practice theory is used to hone in on the particular ways in which young people use TikTok. Four videos which exemplify the concept of the ‘main character’ – a video ‘trend’ on the app – are analysed through this practice-based lens. In an attempt to interrogate the fixed nature of the categories adult/child and structure/agency, a basic language of media practice is established which helps us to comprehend the ways in which young people are negotiating their own spaces for exploration in a world which otherwise offers them very little tangible power. This has been undertaken with the aim of better comprehending how and where young people choose to engage with the world around them and what part new digital media such as TikTok have to play in that process.