Phone to Photoshop: Mobile workarounds in young people’s visual self-presentation strategies

Noakes, Travis and Walton, Marion and Venter, Anja and Cronje, Johannes (2014) Phone to Photoshop: Mobile workarounds in young people’s visual self-presentation strategies, Proceedings of Design Development and Research Conference, 8 - 10 September, 2014, Cape Town, 159-180.

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Relatively few young South Africans are equipped to enter the creative industries, since access to these occupations requires a combination of economic, social and cultural capital. The South African schooling system does little to assist students to overcome the income and class barriers to these industries. Increasing use of online portfolios for professional self-presentation in creative fields constitutes another key hurdle to tertiary studies at elite institutions and also to freelance employment, given the local context of unequal access to digital technologies. While mobile phones are the most accessible form of digital media in the South African context, their use in portfolio creation necessitates extensive resourcefulness for mobile-centric students. This paper explores how mobile technologies are implicated in digital self-presentation and in the creation of e-portfolios, which involve both specific forms of cultural capital and specialised infrastructure. Similarly digital portfolio creation requires infrastructure which exceeds the capacities of most South African schools. We document the barriers and opportunities presented by digital networking for two young South African Visual Arts students. These two students attended very different secondary schools but both learned to showcase their work in digital portfolios and develop professional self-presentation strategies. We describe the visual strategies they adopted as they negotiated an unequal education system in two different parts of Cape Town. Their experiences suggest that educators should be open to accommodating the mobile practices and genres that young people already use as they help them assume and challenge ‘disciplined’ identities in the visual arts.

Item Type: Conference paper
Uncontrolled Keywords: Design education, Mobile photography, Mobile-centric, Resource constraints, Communication ecologies, Class distinction, E-portfolio
Subjects: Social and professional topics > Professional topics > Computing education
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Date Deposited: 02 Apr 2015
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2019 15:32

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