Henry Jenkins (Principal Investigator) - Henry Jenkins joins USC from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was Peter de Florez Professor in the Humanities. He directed MIT's Comparative Media Studies graduate degree program from 1993-2009, setting an innovative research agenda during a time of fundamental change in communication, journalism and entertainment.
As one of the first media scholars to chart the changing role of the audience in an environment of increasingly pervasive digital content, Jenkins has been at the forefront of understanding the effects of participatory media on society, politics and culture. His research gives key insights to the success of social-networking Web sites, networked computer games, online fan communities and other advocacy organizations, and emerging news media outlets.
Jenkins has also played a central role in demonstrating the importance of new media technologies in educational settings. At MIT, he led a consortium of educators and business leaders promoting the educational benefits of computer games, and oversaw a research group working to help teach 21st century literacy skills to high school students through documentary videos. He also has worked closely with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to shape a media literacy program designed to explore the effects of participatory media on young people, and reveal potential new pathways for education through emerging digital media.
Sangita Shresthova - Sangita is a Czech/Nepali international development specialist, filmmaker, media scholar, and dancer. She currently manages Henry Jenkins new project on participatory culture and civic engagement. Sangita holds a Ph.D. from UCLA's Department of World Arts and Cultures and wrote her dissertation on the globalization of Bollywood dance. Mirroring the international distribution of commercial Hindi films, Bollywood dance as live performance is fast becoming a global phenomenon with specialized dance schools in many urban centers. Driven by enthusiastic audiences eager to learn dances they have seen in films, Bollywood dance has now emerged as a recognized movement category. With user generated video portals like YouTube, the popularity of Bollywood dances and their complex juxtapositions of film and performance take on new virtual dimension. Her scholarly writing and has been published in several journals, including the Dance Research Journal. Sangita's work on Bollywood dance will soon be released as a book.
Anna van Someren - Anna’s background combines community work, youth work, education and new media production. Working with Henry Jenkins, Provost Professor at the University of Southern California and former Principal Investigator at the Center for Future Civic Media, Anna will conduct research on the ways in which participatory culture environments support the kinds of social deliberation, debate, and advocacy practices that allow entry into a shared public discourse. Most recently, Anna worked as Creative Manager for project New Media Literacies (NML) at MIT's Comparative Media Studies (CMS). She led the production and development of innovative educational materials informed by a deep understanding of the ways youth interact with and produce media. Prior to working at MIT, Anna developed new media curriculum and taught multimedia production at after school programs and at the college level. An independent video artist, Anna has shown her experimental shorts in festivals internationally. She received her B.A. magna cum laude in Art & Art History from Colgate University, and her MFA in Film & Video from Massachusetts College of Art.
Clement Chau - Clement is a child development specialist with a focus on the role of new media and new technologies on young people. He is currently completing his doctoral work in the Developmental Technologies research group at Tufts University. His recent work has focused on the use of virtual communities for learning and early robotics and early programming for young children. Clement previously with Henry Jenkins at MIT as a research specialist in Project New Media Literacies and is now participating in this new project examining the ways in which participatory cultures can support civic engagement. Clement received his BA in Music and Psychology at Washington University in St. Louis and his MA in Applied Child Development at Tufts University.