Help Write a Children’s Book Online at P2PU

pic by Joe Duty on Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA
This is a guest post from  Ioana Literat, a PhD candidate at USC Annenberg who is facilitating an amazing writing course on P2PU.
Hi. I’m writing to introduce a new P2PU course that I am facilitating, Crowdsourced Art: A Participatory Exercise in Collaboration and Collective Creativity. This initiative was born out of my belief that creativity should not be – and was never meant to be – the prerogative of a few chosen individuals. Nor should creativity be limited to the institutional space of museums, galleries, and art fairs. The Internet provides a unique platform to engage a potentially global community in the creation of collaborative art, and I think there’s something pretty special about that.
This course will be an introduction to crowdsourced art, and an experiment in collective creativity. We’ll learn about crowdsourced art – the central topic of my PhD research – and we’ll work together to develop a children’s book about a snail called Hashtag and his adventures on the Internet.

Why a children’s book, you ask? Well, I love children’s books, and I love the Internet, but all children’s books about Internet culture are so negative and restrictive: don’t talk to strangers on Facebook, don’t give out personal information, don’t download pirated material, don’t… don’t… don’t. Why not tell kids about all the amazing things that the Internet has to offer, and how you can find community and meet people from all over the world?…In fact, P2PU is an amazing example of such a community, illustrating what can happen when a bunch of cool people come together to learn, create and share. It is for this reason that I believe in the potential of this online community to get together and collaborate in the development of a fun and valuable children’s book about the Internet. A book about the Internet, by the Internet!

The finalized book will be available in two forms: online as an e-book (where anybody can download it for free), AND as a printed book for those that want to purchase it, with all profits going to The Modern Story, an amazing NGO that implements digital storytelling programs for underprivileged children in Indian public schools. I had the pleasure of working as the field coordinator of this program in India, before starting my PhD studies, and I can attest to the value of this program and to the fact that any money raised with this book would directly benefit the children and their schools.

The course will run from September 15 to October 12, and will be organized as follows:

Week 1: intro to crowdsourced art and the children’s book project
Week 2: collaborative plot development and writing (20-30 sentences)
Week 3: collaborative illustration (20-30 illustrations)
Week 4: wrap-up and final details (title, cover, possibilities for online publishing, etc).

Participation in this project will not require too much time on your part (and you can be as involved as you’d like), but hopefully it’ll be fun to work on and it will allow us to build a strong and supportive creative community!

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