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COLLECTIVE WISDOM: Co-Creating Media within Communities, across Disciplines and with Algorithms

This first-of-its-kind field study of the media industry highlights trends, opportunities, and challenges to help advance the understanding and recognition of co-created works and practices—efforts that function outside the limits of singular authorship.

Co-Creation Studio News
at MIT Open Documentary Lab

The Co-Creation Studio is a new initiative at MIT Open Documentary Lab. The studio researches and incubates alternatives to a singular authorial vision, through a constellation of media methods. For our studio, co-creation can occur within communities, across disciplines and with non-human systems such as Artificial Intelligence. We work within the context of the MIT Open Documentary Lab, which brings storytellers, technologists, and scholars together to explore new documentary forms with a particular focus on collaborative and immersive storytelling. A center for documentary research, the lab offers courses, workshops, a fellows program, public lectures, and conferences; it incubates experimental projects; and it develops resources and critical discourse. In the spirit of MIT’s open courseware and open source software movements, the Open Documentary Lab is inclusive, collaborative and committed to sharing knowledge, networks, and tools.

What is Co-Creation

Working Definition

Co-Creation offers alternatives to a single authored vision. It’s a constellation of media methods and frameworks. Projects emerge out of process, and evolve from within communities and with people, rather than being made for or about them. Co-Creation also spans across disciplines, organizations and can also involve non-human systems. Co-Creation ethically reframes who creates, how, and why. Co-Creation interprets the world, seeks to change it, with a commitment to equity, and justice.

Image credit: Mirror Mask




Projects don’t originate from the singular, auteur vision of one person. Rather, ideas originate from relationships and deep listening and dialogue.


Projects emerge from the process, rather than the other way around, with many outcomes including quality and compelling media that resonate beyond the margins.


Make media from within communities and with people rather than for or about them.


Reframe who gets to tell which story, who owns it and why. Grounded in principles of racial equality, narrative sovereignty and digital justice.


Media-makers work with citizens, communities, scholars, across institutions, multi-disciplinary teams, and/or with machines / algorithms in a shared, parallel discovery process.


All partners respect each others’ expertise including first-lived experience. Challenge power dynamics, and prioritize inclusion and diversity.


Use non-exploitative methods, frameworks and networks with new and/or appropriate technology, workflows, tools, protocols, leadership, teams and roles, and multiple languages of storytelling.


Impact, sustainability, healing and reciprocity are paramount. How do communities benefit?


Not only interpret the world, but change it, tackling complex problems, by acknowledging multiplicity of points-of-view, and that solutions often come from within communities.


Share and learn. Be open. Contribute to transparent, open and public knowledge frameworks.

Collective Wisdom


Collective Wisdom is a three-day multi-disciplinary symposium, organized by the Co-Creation Studio at the MIT Open Documentary Lab, in partnership with the Ford Foundation’s Just Films, the MacArthur Foundation, and the Phi Centre.

Visit the Collective Wisdom website
Image credit: Folk Memory Project