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1.4 Authority dispersed - Advanced

Many texts in everyday life do not have a single author; all the texts developed through the Centre for Road Safety have had multiple authors, teams working on writing briefs, advertisements, research and research reports, reports on the success of campaigns etc. In fact, the authority of these texts is derived from the fact that they are produced by teams who represent certain institutions.

Team work of this kind is highly organised but its power can be experienced through your own group work in class. 

Below is an overview of the range of people and activities needed to create a CRS advertisement:

  1. Research & Data Intelligence Specialist: Collect and interpret crash data, and customer perceptions, to identify problems and opportunities for positive behaviour change on our roads
  2. Centre for Road Safety and Transport for NSW Campaigns Team: Develop a marketing brief to clearly articulate the goals of the campaign, the key audiences, and how and when the campaign will be measured 
  3. Media strategy & buying agency and Transport for NSW Campaigns Team: Develop a media strategy based on which channels best suit the needs of the campaign and best reach the target audience
  4. Advertising agency and Transport for NSW Campaigns Team: Develop a creative concept.
  5. Design and production teams eg director, producer, photographer, website developer or graphic designer: Develop content to be used in the media strategy. Content is designed to fit the recommended media, get the audience’s attention, and convey the messages so they are understood by customers
  6. Advertising agency: Measures campaign performance, and used this intelligence to inform future campaigns

As digital technologies evolve, different ways of creating texts are emerging. One such way is through the process of crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing, like the advertisement creation process described above, occurs when a unique task is issued to a range of individuals who are combining to complete the task (or solve a problem). Crowdsourcing can be used to produce all kinds of different texts, ranging from advertisements to flash fiction, to poetry.

Crowdsourcing a poem

In this activity you will, as a class, crowdsource a poem.

Preview the advertisements on the Centre for Road Safety website and make a list of the key ideas, values and assumptions that underpin different campaigns, for example, personalising loss, appeals to social responsibility or the use of statistics as evidentiary proof.

After selecting one idea as a class, brainstorm words or phrases to create a word bank for the whole class to use. Working with a partner draft a poem observing the following constraints: 

  • use all the words given 
  • make no substantial changes or additions 
  • you may add linking words such as conjunctions and adverbs 
  • you may change tense. 

Discuss: Who is the author of the poem? Where does authority lie?

Found poetry

Found poetry is poetry created from existing texts. Found poetry can be segments/phrases/ lines found in a few texts that are collected into a poem or it can be the reconstruction of an existing non-literary text. These may be texts that are encountered in everyday life. When an ‘everyday’ text is transformed into a poem the audience is forced into encountering the altered text as literature. To create a found text from a whole non-literary text you leave the original text intact as much as possible, making only minimal alterations, and you do not add in any new words. Found texts blend the boundaries between everyday culture and art and challenge the ideas we have about who is an author. 

Use some of these approaches to create found poetry from the statistics report on the website. In this activity you will convert a prose paragraph to a poem.

  • Read this paragraph: 

Speed is the biggest killer. Speeding is the biggest cause of deaths on NSW roads. Statistics from 2000 onwards in the crash behavioural factors document show that speeding causes about twice as many deaths as fatigue-related crashes. Speeding is involved in about 40 per cent of road deaths.

  • Navigate to and explore the interactive features on this page that relate to speeding. Working with a partner, write some comments on: 
    • the variations that occur on the days of the week, time of day and month of the year
    • the differences between metropolitan and country statistics 
    • the impact of speeding on people
    • your point of view on these statistics. Are you shocked, saddened, cynical?
  • Return to the paragraph above and, based on your discussion and viewpoint, add line breaks to this prose paragraph to create a poem. 
  • Experiment with choices in line length, arrangement, tone and emphasis in order to establish your point of view. 
  • Compare the earlier and later texts. How has the transformation enhanced the meaning of the paragraph? Has it altered or intensified the meaning?
  • Where does authority lie?

Erasure poetry

Erasure poems are created by selectively erasing words from an existing text to produce a new work. There are many ways writers choose to intervene in the original text. They can erase delete, redact, white out, cross out, draw over or illustrate. 

  • Using your web browser search erasure poetry and read some examples.
  • Printed below is an extract from the transcript of the advertisement They’re counting on you. 
  • Transform this text through erasure. There are a number of ways that you could experiment, including:
    • maintaining text from the voiceover narration only
    • creating emphasis through interplay between the film shots and spoken text
    • creating a text that focuses on warning
    • creating a text that focuses on the grief of a lost child.

[Scott Cam is in the driveway with the family in the background.]
Scott Cam: It’s that easy. Lose focus for just a few seconds and a terrible tragedy can happen.
[We now see a recording from April 2012 of a baby girl in a toy plastic chair.]
Scott Cam voice over: Each year children are injured and lose their lives in driveways.
Peter Cockburn voice over: I went to reverse my trailer into my garage…
[Close-up of Peter Cockburn, of the Georgina Josephine Foundation.]
Peter Cockburn: And felt a bump and realised I ran over my little girl.
[We see a framed photo of the baby girl, Georgina Cockburn.]
Scott Cam: Driveway safety is an issue for everyone. Tradies, mums, dads, grandparents and friends.
[We now see how the family should safely leave the house. The mother is inside the house with her son and older daughter. They organise their bags and leave the house together after the mother unlocks the door. She holds her son’s hand.]
Scott Cam voice over: Keep our kids safe by supervising them, separating them from the driveway and the car when you aren’t there.
[We see the grandfather safely holding his young granddaughter as she says bye-bye to her mother and siblings in the car, waving her toy rabbit in the air.]
[A close-up shows a child proof lock, with the young boy unable to open the door.]
Scott Cam voice over: Secure any access points to a driveway or garage with child proof locks.
[We see a home with steel fence barriers showing vertical and horizontal designs that provide high visibility. We also see a timber fence across a driveway, with gaps between the palings to allow extra visibility.]
Scott Cam voice over: When you are building or renovating, design your driveway and fences to allow high visibility, driving in or out.
[Close-up shows Scott Cam.]
Scott Cam: Don’t let your kids play in driveways.
[We see the grandfather pick up his granddaughter outside the door of the house.]
Scott Cam voice over: Keep your kids close any time you are in a driveway – whether it’s yours or someone else’s.
[We see the mother supervising her son and daughter as they get into the back of the car.]
Scott Cam voice over: It’s about seeing where they are – at all times.
[The mother is shown walking around the back of the car. She checks that the yard and driveway are clear before getting in to the driver’s seat.]
Scott Cam: Make sure your children are safe. They’re counting on you.

  • Display your edited texts on a class wiki or blog.
  • Where does authority lie?

Last update: 23rd January 2019