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PLAI 500 (Winter 2015): Advanced Interdisciplinary Humanities Seminar

Youth as Cultural Producers: Rethinking Education and Entrepreneurship


Instructors: Bronwen Low (Education) and Jui Ramaprasad (Management)

How to best support the life pathways of youth, given the growing importance of the creative industries to contemporary economies, and the need, increasingly, to self-create employment opportunities? Rapid cultural changes, particularly when driven by technological innovation, can mean that schools have a hard time keeping up, and so fail to prepare youth with the knowledge and skills they need to navigate new work conditions. Yet much cultural innovation is driven by the creative experiments and play of young people, many of whom are and remain socially, economically, and politically marginalized despite their commitment and talents as cultural producers.

The next generation of cultural workers and entrepreneurs will be immersed in a continually evolving, connected, and creative environment. The course explores what is happening in the world of cultural entrepreneurship, creating and expanding existing frameworks of innovation and entrepreneurship to understand this world, such as new challenges and possibilities for monetization, and the technological changes that drive it. It reads these frameworks in relation to theories of the cultural industries and creative and participatory youth cultures, exploring the possibilities for supporting youth cultural entrepreneurship in schools and out. The course combines guest speakers (including local and national creative entrepreneurs), class lectures and discussions, short case-studies of the changing face of the music industry as well as hip-hop and education, and interdisciplinary readings (including texts from business, education, and cultural studies ) which map out this complex new landscape of cultural work and learning. Students will develop term-long projects in a cultural entrepreneurship or educational endeavor.