Creative production, self-expression and identity


Project leader: David Gauntlett

Professor David Gauntlett has developed and completed a number of projects in which creative production activities are used as a social research tool. For example, research projects have invited young people to make videos, drawings, and collages as part of a reflective process of exploration and self-expression that enables research participants to carefully tell their own stories. The ArtLab website [] is a hub for this work.

He recently completed the first major phase of a funded collaboration with Lego to explore how the Lego Serious Play consultancy method, in which participants build metaphors of their feelings and experiences in Lego, can be used as a social research method. The findings about the reflective and creative process also help us to understand the process and outcomes of digital storytelling.

These studies are discussed in the book Creative Explorations: New approaches to identities and audiences, published by Routledge in May 2007.

Professor Gauntlett has given a number of conference papers and talks on these projects. He also supervises a number of research students who are also employing creative methods related to digital storytelling to explore issues such as contemporary masculinities, online identities, and ethnic identities.

A Lego Serious Play session at InterMedia in January 2006.

Additional news:

  • The implications of networked digital creativity for media studies researchers and educators was discussed in the article, 'Media Studies 2.0', published online at , which has been discussed in a number of international online forums and email lists.
  • David Gauntlett and Annette Hill organised an international conference, Transforming Audiences, on 6-7 September 2007, in association with the Audience and Reception Studies section of the European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA), and the Popular Communication Division of the International Communication Association (ICA). The conference considered how creative digital practices such as digital storytelling, and the collaboration and sharing on popular online networks, is changing our understanding of the 'audience'.
  • Further information available at


Gauntlett, D. & Awan, F. (2012). Action-based visual and creative methods in social research. In Heywood, I. & Sandywell, B. (Eds) The Handbook of Visual Culture, Oxford: Berg.

Gauntlett, D. (2011), Making is Connecting: The social meaning of creativity, from DIY and knitting to YouTube and Web 2.0, Cambridge: Polity.

Awan, F. & Gauntlett, D. (2011). Creative and visual methods in audience research. In V. Nightingale (Ed.) The Handbook of Media Audiences. Global Handbooks in Media and Communication Research. Chichester: Wiley Blackwell.

Gauntlett, D. (2010), Creativity, Participation, and Connectedness: An interview with David Gauntlett. in Sonvilla-Weiss, Stefan (Ed.) Mashup Cultures. New York: Springer Wien.

Gauntlett, D. (2008) Creative brainwork: Building metaphors of identity for social science research. In K. Lundby (Ed.) Digital Storytelling, Mediatized Stories: Self-representations in New Media. New York: Peter Lang.

Gauntlett, D. (2008), Exploring identity stories. In Gauntlett, D., Media, Gender and Identity: An Introduction, 2nd edition. London: Routledge.

Gauntlett, D. (2007) Creative Explorations. New approaches to identities and audiences. London: Routledge.

Gauntlett, D. and P. Holzwarth (2006) Creative and visual methods for exploring identities, in Visual Studies, 21(1): 82-91.


Gauntlett, D. (2007): 'Building Metaphors, building identity'. Presentation to the conference, Transforming Audiences: Identity/ Creativity/ Everyday Life. Westminster, September, 2007.

Gauntlett, D. (2007): 'Representing Identity: Findings from a Study Using Visual Metaphors'. Presentation to the conference International Communication Association. San Francisco, 24-28 May, 2007.

Gauntlett, D. (2007): 'Creative Brainwork: Building Metaphors of Identities for Social Science Research'. Presentation to the University of Nottingham, February, 2007.

Gauntlett, D. (2006): 'Visual methods, metaphors, Lego and the brain'. Keynote opening lecture at the conference of the British Sociological Association Visual Sociology division, University of Warwick, UK, 27 May 2006.

Published Oct. 12, 2010 12:16 PM - Last modified Jan. 4, 2012 8:11 AM