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Digital platforms: learning, change and national brand

Grant Holder: Professor Justin Lewis

Co-applicant: Professor Ian Hargreaves

Researcher: Hugh Griffiths

Funder: Welsh European Funding Office, The Do Lectures

Period: July 2011 to December 2014

Digital platforms are opening up new ways of learning, in competition with schools and universities as well as media and publishing enterprises. A number of such platforms have been created with the aim of promoting change or advancing a particular set of ideas. This project is particularly interested in digital platforms which have their roots in a place or an event and seeks to understand the relationship between physical place and global expression online, along with their importance in economic, political and cultural terms.

The aim of the research is to evaluate the role and impact of these new digital platforms, and specifically to examine the Do Lectures, a digital change platform established in West Wales in 2008 by David and Clare Hieatt, co-founders of the clothing company howies. Based in Cardigan, the Do Lectures (ideas + energy = change) holds its signature annual event in a West Wales forest, but has a growing international following online.

The research will evaluate the influence of the talks and the event as a whole not only from a Do Lectures point of view but also from a Wales point of view. To what extent can a small event influence how Wales is seen around the world, helping to shape the country’s “brand”?

The picture that emerges from the research will be of value to digital platform entrepreneurs but also to organizations which need to understand the impact of their digital footprint. The research outcomes will also be of interest to the tourism industry, to education and to the media.

'Digital platforms: learning, change and national brand' is a Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarships (KESS) project