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REVIEW: Making is Connecting: The


Social Meaning of Creativity by Lisa Margreet Payne of lisamargreet.wordpress.com


‘Making is Connecting: The Social Meaning of Creativity from DIY and Knitting to YouTube and Web 2.0’ is a book with big ideas. It is an academic book which presents the author, David Gauntlett’s argument on the political importance of “everyday creativity” and, as an academic text, I suggest reading it in a different way from how you might usually approach your reading.


Take your time over each chapter and pause between them to allow yourself to digest the huge amounts of information before moving on to the next chapter; you don’t necessarily even need to read it chronologically. As an academic book, it also has an index – and who doesn’t like an index which has entries for Ravelry and Wall-E with


42 | ukhandmade | Spring 2012


Ruskin and Morris. By using the index you can skip around to read specific areas of interest, or use the Contents page to pick out a particular chapter to study.


Gauntlett makes no bones about this being a political book concerning ideas which he feels are significant for society, about the importance of people being creative on a daily basis. He cites evidence for a societal shift away from a “sit-back-and-be- told culture” towards a “making-and- doing culture”. Those of us who are involved in the crafting community are aware of this cultural shift and the popularity of the ‘Power of Making’ exhibition at the V&A is further proof of this.


One of the areas of focus is making connections between the spheres


of handmade physical objects and online creativity. Gauntlett explores recent Web 2.0 creativity through the use of relevant theories and philosophies both past and present. Drawing comparisons between the ideas of William Morris and John Ruskin to Web 2.0 practices may seem like a tall order but Gauntlett tackles it convincingly.


I was interested in the chapter which turns the premise throughout the rest of the book, of Web 2.0 being generally a good thing, on its head and explores the notion that in fact it is not all ‘rosy’. Although some arguments made by critics of Web 2.0 may seem rather far-fetched – likening free services such as Flickr, Facebook and YouTube as exploited labour - others gave me pause for thought.


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