Julian Sefton-Green

Julian Sefton-Green in Southern California

Julian Sefton-Green is an independent scholar working in Education and the Cultural and Creative Industries. He is currently Principal Research Fellow at the Department of Media & Communication, London School of Economics, and a research associate at the University of Oslo working on projects in London and Oslo exploring learning and learner identity across formal and informal domains. He is an Honorary Professor of Education at the University of Nottingham, UK and the Institute of Education, Hong Kong.

He has worked as an Associate Research Professor at the University of South Australia, where he was developing a city-wide initiative to imagine and implement new kinds of spaces for learning. He has been the Head of Media Arts and Education at WAC Performing Arts and Media College – a centre for informal training and education – where he directed a range of digital media activities for young people and co-ordinated training for media artists and teachers. He worked as Media Studies teacher in an inner city comprehensive school in London and in higher education teaching undergraduate and postgraduate courses, leading teacher training degrees in media education.

He has researched and written widely on many aspects of media education, new technologies, creative learning and informal learning. Recent volumes include: joint editing of The International Handbook of Creative Learning (2011) and Researching Creative Learning: Methods and Approaches (2010), both with Routledge; Learning at Not-School (2013, MIT Press); and co-editing Identity, Community and Learning Lives in the Digital Age (2013 Cambridge University Press). He has directed research projects for the Arts Council of England, the British Film Institute, the London Development Agency and Creative Partnerships and has spoken at a number of conferences around the world. His personal blog is www.julianseftongreen.net.


Blogs (13)


A Learning Life: How Connected Learning Might Work Over Time

Monday, August 15, 2016

Korean pop group sings on stage In my last blog, I talked about Learning Identities, Education and Community: young lives in the cosmopolitan city as an example of an attempt to study connected learning in action — catching the process of travel across learning sites and focusing on the process of building a learner identity. In that study, we paid particular attention to how participants in Oslo in Norway constructed narratives about themselves to suggest an almost existential meaning for the choices they made about education such as which school to attend, what courses to follow. How individuals “storied” themselves, what forms of


From ‘Connected Learning’ to ‘Learning Lives’

Monday, August 01, 2016

kids walking to school It’s too late now but having worked with the Connected Learning Research Network for some time now, I wonder whether the concept of connected learning should really have been called connecting learning on the basis that our interest is about forging links, crossovers and travel across and between the activity of learning rather than thinking of learning as a static body (or bodies) of knowledge. Finding ways to capture and theorise the linking process or activity is, of course, not easy. At the same time, as I have worked with the Connected Learning Research Network, I have been


Childhood and the Pursuit of Meaning in Today’s Connected World

Monday, May 23, 2016

Group of London-based students in school uniform Most adults reckon they know about children because they were one once. This is a strange kind of qualification. First of all, there is a tendency to universalize childhood as if the child you were once can stand for all children. Secondly, the childhood you experienced is for all its similarities to the ones being lived today, structurally, materially and existentially quite different. My colleague, Sonia Livingstone, and I spent a whole year with 28 13- and 14-year-olds trying to get a grip on what it means to grow up in London in the second decade of the


Introducing New Book Series: ‘Connected Youth and Digital Futures’

Monday, May 02, 2016

Book Series Collage of book covers for 'Any Media Necessary' and 'The Class' Building on research supported by the MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning initiative, a new series “Connected Youth and Digital Futures,” is debuting its first two books — By Any Media Necessary: The New Activism of American Youth and The Class: Living and Learning in the Digital Age. This series offers books that describe the ways that the day-to-day lives and futures of young people are being reconfigured at the intersection of civil and political reform, transformation in employment and education and the penetration of digital technologies across all domains of social and personal life. Why


From Changing Education Systems to Changing Society

Monday, February 29, 2016

Group of young people working at individual computer stations Whether stated explicitly or not, a core proposition of DML is that there are deep consequences to the ways that young people are learning both in and out of school and using digital technology with peers, in affinity groups, as they develop interests and expertise. In the context of the U.S., digital media and learning (DML) offers challenges to the school curriculum and significantly to the organization of the out-of-school, community-based non-formal learning sector. But, what could it mean in other places around the world? I recently visited TUMO Centre for Creative Technologies, in Yerevan, the capital


Explaining the Research of Connected Learning

Monday, June 02, 2014

group of adults sitting in circle at connected learning research meeting The idea of “connected learning” encompasses a way of theorising and describing the kinds of learning that take place against the grain, as it were, in places where we might not usually expect to find it, in communities where traditionally it is not always recognised, and amongst individuals who frequently appear to be on parallel tracks to those customarily valued by the mainstream. It describes communities of practice that have sprung up in virtual and informal spaces inhabited by young people and around activities and interests often ignored by conventional schools. However, whilst the idea of


Making Sense of Games, Gaming Culture Knowledge

Thursday, April 10, 2014

shadow outline of gamer with head phones on I am carrying out a piece of work, exploring how young people imagine, develop interests in, and work toward becoming employed in a range of digital creative industries. I am interviewing a number of young people who are studying game design or various kinds of computer programming as well as those informally engaged in maker communities or other kinds of coding clubs, festivals and initiatives. Part of my interest is in the kinds of identity work that young people engage in as they begin to define themselves as the sorts of people who might work in


How Might Creative Youth Cultures Understand the Nature of ‘Creativity’?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

black female student filming using camera and tripad against brick wall In this post I want to compare two European research projects that investigated creative production by young people in informal, out-of-school and, to a great extent, self organised contexts. Around the world scholars are very interested in the development of any kind of learning community and especially those seemingly stimulated by or reliant on forms of digital technology. It is the key premise for DML. Virtually all of the scholarship is interested in the types of different relationships such cultures have with formal schooling both to see how they might serve as templates for educational reform


What Counts As Learning?

Monday, November 11, 2013

child taking picture with camera in crowd of adults I have recently contributed to a new issue of the Bank Street occasional papers. The issue is called “The Other 17 Hours: Valuing Out of School Time” and explores recent attention to the meaning and nature of learning during the time not spent at school. My essay describes some of the research I am involved with as part of the Connected Learning Research Network and examines how learning is constructed and enacted in six different kinds of families in London. By showing that who defines learning in domestic contexts and on what basis, I argue that


Is There Such a Thing as Digital Creativity?

Monday, September 23, 2013

students sitting at desks in classroom working on laptops In some ways, this question is of course impossible. Given the difficulty of defining creativity in the first place with scholarship, trying to focus on the distinctions between what is new, what is expressive, what is individual and what is social, trying to work out what difference the digital makes may seem like splitting angels on a pinhead. However, it is equally impossible to ignore the fact that the last two digital decades have closely entwined ideas about creativity with our emerging understanding of how digital technology works in practice. I don’t want to focus here


Creativity, Criticality and Curriculum Reform in Australia

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

close up of student using video camera to do interview of student I was recently at the biannual conference for the Australian teachers of media (ATOM) in Brisbane, Queensland. The teachers, university lecturers, educators and media producers who were at the event were all excited because the new arrangements for the national curriculum in Australia named ‘Media Arts’ as one of the five arts subjects that were now mandatory across the education system. Like all stories of curriculum reform there is a level of detail that does not travel well to other countries: however, if we set aside some of the details that concerned the locals and if


Towards the Value, Purpose, and Sustainability of Out-of-School Learning

Monday, July 22, 2013

student hands typing at laptop On the basis of the truism about life/success/genius being 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration it is strange that so many initiatives in education – particularly those aimed at engaging youth who may be disenchanted with mainstream schooling or excluded from society for socio-economic reasons – pay so much attention to the initial moments of engagement rather than the long-term problem of consolidation and sustaining growth. This is a challenge for the digital media and learning field and the host of allied and associated programs, community and after-school initiatives, out-of-school and informal learning projects all around the


‘Making’ and Education Reform: Learning to Ride the Wave

Thursday, June 06, 2013

large art metal installation for open make space At this moment in time, on both sides of the Atlantic, digital making and the maker movement is enjoying its time in the sun. A combination of policy concerns, technological developments, learning theories, social opportunities and articulate enthusiasts have come together and, although the maker movement is a bit of a minority sport, it seems to have broken through into the mainstream. In the UK, for example, there is a terrific program of support offering a range of activities from maker-faires to hacking events to coding clubs working with apps and mash-ups and the new pliable,