Making Media Studies Transformational: Creativity Over (Just) Criticism

Author: David Gauntlett (University of Westminster)

  • Making Media Studies Transformational: Creativity Over (Just) Criticism


    Making Media Studies Transformational: Creativity Over (Just) Criticism



This contribution argues the case for an empathetic approach to media studies at a perceived moment of crisis that brings creativity and digital users’ ­activities to the fore. It is the responsibility of media academics to think about leading conversations about what platforms for creativity can be and how less corporate environments for such can arise. Needed is a system view of the entire context for media which has more compassion for ordinary people; secondly a broader and more continuous view of media and thirdly attention to the more creative ­possibilities of media over mere criticism. Empathy and compassion are vital to cut across different media studies groupings including some critical perspectives. The depressing turn reflected in a book of 2012 towards criticizing the users of ­creative digital tools themselves as deluded narcissists and exhibitionists is ­mistaken. Media Studies 2.0 (see Gauntlett, 2011a) and work such as David ­Morley’s on a ­non-mediacentric study of media studies or Nick Couldry on media as practice or Shaun Moores on bodily movement and situation in relation to media offer ­useful perspectives on this broader view of media as does Tim Ingold’s insights into ­making and sharing. Such a take need not be ahistorical (see Scannell, 2007 and Gauntlett, 2011b) but aims at a media studies that is transformational not ­documentary with greater capacity for understanding.

Keywords: making, critical media studies, media as practice, creativity, media studies 2.0, Compassion

How to Cite:

Gauntlett, D., (2017) “Making Media Studies Transformational: Creativity Over (Just) Criticism”, Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture 12(1), 11-12. doi:



Published on
30 Jan 2017
Peer Reviewed

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Competing Interests

The author has no competing interests to declare.

Author Information

David Gauntlett is Professor of Creativity and Design in the Faculty of Media, Arts and Design and Co-Director of the Communications and Media Research Institute at the University of Westminster, United Kingdom. Previously a Lecturer at the University of Leeds (1996–2002) and a Professor at Bournemouth University (2002–2006) he has worked with LEGO on innovation in creativity, play and learning. (See He is the author of numerous books including Media Studies 2.0, and Other Battles Around the Future of Media Research (2011) and most recently Making Media Studies: The Creativity Turn in Media and Communications Studies (2015).


1  Gauntlett, D.. (2011a).  Media Studies 2.0, and Other Battles Around the Future of Media Research. David Gauntlett/Kindle.

2  Gauntlett, D.. (2011b).  Making is Connecting: The Social Meaning of Creativity, from DIY and Knitting to YouTube and Web 2.0. Cambridge: Polity Press.

3  Scannell, P.. (2007).  Media and Communication. London: Sage.