Collaborative Literacy

Robyn Richardson, MFA Design Management Candidate, Savannah College of Art and Design, rarichar@scad.edu

At a time when collaboration is quickly commanding the practice of creative industries, individuals are expected to perform at an efficient level of cooperative production. There is a need, however, to inform these practices with a language and knowledge of collaboration as a social practice and negotiated experience. With this in mind, this paper proposes that collaboration should be taught and negotiated from an individual perspective of "collaborative literacy." Informed by Keith Sawyer's ten conditions for group flow and Etienne Wenger's theory of social identities in communities of practice, this paper aims to synthesize these ideas to a foundation for teaching collaborative literacy as first, a language, and second, a skill set. Building on existing theories of literacy, i.e., visual literacy, literacy of ecologies, etc., this paper will coin "collaborative literacy" as a practice that begins with shared reading and understanding of symbols and signs that exist within the collaboration experience and expand to synthesis and manipulation of these characteristics to inform personal collaborative practice. In teaching collaborative literacy as a skill, those who engage in its practice will be better prepared to capitalize and share the opportunities afforded by collaboration- both personally and professionally.

Proposed Length of Paper: 15 pages

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