Guest post: Some thoughts on curation and privacy

Following a very interesting second workshop at the British Library, here are some notes on a couple of recurring issues.

On curation:

Of particular interest to me at the Digital Transformations workshops has been the recurrence of the term ‘curation’ and the debate around it. In my own work I have been interested in curation as a way of understanding reading and writing practices in digital storytelling. At the Production and Creativity workshop, Paul Dwyer suggested it was a useful term, both to describe a particular mode of production and reception in digital media and to break down the distinction between the expert and the enthusiast.

However, professional curators raised some objection to the use of the term in this way, citing its etymology (from the Latin curare meaning ‘to take care of’) as being linked to a particularly engaged and sustained practice of care of objects, which wasn’t applicable to a more general context of media production.

At the second workshop, on the other hand, I was interested to see that there seemed to be something of a shift. Professional curators came back to the term again and acknowledged that perhaps the context that they provide within a museum exhibition might not be the only context in which visitors understand it. Thus it might make sense to use ‘curation’ to also describe activities, which take place beyond the jurisdiction of professional curators.

It will also be interesting to see whether at the next workshop, on ‘Designing for community-powered digital transformations‘, we come back to curation again and revisit its association with care, when thinking about how to design platforms that enable caring and supportive communities.

On privacy:

I participated in a break out group discussing the question of whether privacy was now a luxury commodity for users of social media. We agreed that, rather than simply blame social media platforms for exploiting their particular business model, it was more important, perhaps, to concentrate on raising public awareness of and debate over the particular exchange of personal data for  services, which characterises social media platforms.

If anyone wanted to commission an ad to spearhead such a campaign, what company might be ideally placed to produce it?… Google’s ‘brand guardian’, Across the Pond, of course! Company Executive Producer, Robert Waddilove spoke at the Business Models workshop and screened their very funny awareness campaign for Google analytics.


Photo by Flickr user Istvan. Some rights reserved under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 2.0 licence.

1 Comment

  1. Rosamund Davies:

    In ‘Digital Human’, on Radio 4 today, the social media business model was described as ‘one big tupperware party’.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01h8nnt

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