ASPP: Ideas can... be published!

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Jeudi 25 juillet 2013


Christine McKenna Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

Did you know that in between organizing the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences and curating our Big Thinking lecture series on Parliament Hill, we also help to get academic books published? The Awards to Scholarly Publications Program (ASPP), funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, is another key part of our efforts to promote knowledge in the humanities and social sciences in Canada.

Since its inception, the ASPP has supported the publication of over 6,000 scholarly books. Topics have spanned a huge range of disciplines in the humanities and social sciences, and titles have included everything from Legislated Inequality to The Donut: a Canadian History.

A lot of fascinating and valuable ideas have found their way into print through our program, and our most recent batch of books to receive funding is no exception. So keep an eye on the blog as we highlight some of this year’s ASPP-funded titles.

Out of the Basement: Youth Cultural Production in Practice and in Policy - Miranda Campbell

McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2013

Employment is elusive – especially for young people. When I was in high school, the only job I could find was serving/spilling popcorn at a quiet movie theatre, where the shifts were sparse and usually no more than 4 hours long. It was also really boring, and I longed to find a job where I could be creative; the best I could do was to neatly arrange the nacho chips like petals around the cheese sauce.

If only I’d thought to establish my own creative enterprise, just as the subjects of Miranda Campbell’s Out of the Basement: Youth Cultural Production in Practice and in Policy resolved to do. With limited access to jobs, but increased access to the tools of cultural production, young people in the 21st century are, according to Campbell, “trying to make careers for themselves from small-scale creative projects” and in doing so “changing the parameters of how money is (and is not) the creative industries at large.”

Examples of this phenomenon are not hard to find – we all know people with their own magazines, photography services, musical endeavours, and little online shops where they sell handcrafted jewellery. What is hard to find, Campbell suggests, are “cultural and educational policy structures” which suit the “contemporary realities of ad hoc, small-scale, and self-generated youth work in the creative industries.” She states there is a need for increased awareness and support for youths’ creative initiatives, and ultimately makes recommendations for a “comprehensive youth policy framework” to support today’s landscape of youth cultural production in Canada.

With the state of economics and technology ever evolving, maybe it’s time for some of us to rethink that whole, “Why don’t you get off the computer and go find a job?” mentality.




Award to Scholarly Publications Program