David Gauntlett – University of Westminster

David Gauntlett is Professor of Media and Communications, and Co-Director of the Communications and Media Research Institute, at the University of Westminster, UK. His research concerns the disruptive potential of digital media in everyday life. He has produced the website Theory.org.uk for 15 years, made several popular YouTube videos, and conducted collaborative research with a number of the world’s leading creative organisations, including the BBC, Lego, and Tate.

Always drawn to the idea of making books, as a student Gauntlett published two issues of a slim self-published book, otherwise known as a zine, called Powercut in 1991 and 1992. The ease of writing and designing this publication, compared to the enormous slog of getting it into radical bookshops and the hands of readers, has fuelled an anecdote about the value of internet distribution which he has re-used several times since. It ends with the words: “Think how much simpler my life would have been – and how much more of a life I would have had – if Tim Berners-Lee had bothered to invent the World Wide Web just a few years earlier than he actually did”. Since 1995 he has been the author of several books published by conventional publishers, including Creative Explorations (Routledge, 2007) and Making is Connecting: The social meaning of creativity, from DIY and knitting to YouTube and Web 2.0 (Polity, 2011). Some of them also exist as rather overpriced e-books. In 2011 he also self-published a ‘greatest hits of off-cuts’ called Media Studies 2.0 on Kindle. It is deliberately priced the same as a Starbucks latte at £2.50. In this talk, David Gauntlett will consider some broad questions about what a book is, what we value about books, and how books are changing; and seek to begin some


"transformations in the world of books"