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May 8, 2023 – Unity Technologies and Co-Creation Studio at MIT Open Documentary Lab are excited to announce the second year of WORLDING, an initiative to advance thought and practice at the intersection of visual storytelling, climate change, XR, and land use decision-making. The initiative is accepting nominations of teams to participate in an intensive virtual research and development incubator in the fall of 2023.

Nominations are accepted until MAY 31, 2023
Deadline Extended until JUNE 5, 2023
(12 am midnight ET) here



We are looking for participation from 4-5 teams from different perspectives.  At a minimum, each team should consist of a storyteller and a land use planner or placemaker. Experience with XR technology may be helpful but is not required for consideration.


Join us for a VIRTUAL TOWNHALL here to learn more about the WORLDING initiative and to ask us your questions. Register for the webinar, May 25 12 noon – 1:30 pm ET on zoom.


During the incubator, the teams will have a unique opportunity to develop their projects with researchers and makers from MIT departments including ODL, CoCreation Studio and Unity team members, along with special guests from the field.  Teams will explore how they use (or could use) realtime 3D technology to imagine, plan and co-create future worlds within real-life communities. While WORLDING is not a funding call, the workshop will include a custom-curated program specifically developed for the teams, with a strong focus on ideation rather than hands-on technical development. The experience of engaging with other projects in different sectors and fields creates an environment where new pathways for action are seeded, and transformational ideas can blossom. Each team will receive a small honorarium.


The cohort will be carefully selected to include a diverse spectrum of disciplines, worldviews and approaches, from documentary, journalism, to games; from professionalized urban planning to community-based placemaking; from AI-driven climate science to projects informed by Indigenous Epistemology, Afrofuturism and frameworks for disability justice. The workshop will also serve as a testing ground for curriculum development for graduate level planning classes.

All projects which meet the guidance below are welcome to be nominated from anywhere in the world (including self-nominations). We encourage applications from teams that include: Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian individuals; individuals who are part of racial, ethnic, or religious minority groups; women; gender non-conforming individuals; LGBTQI+ individuals; individuals living with a disability; and other individuals whose authorship has historically been undersupported or underrepresented within the fields of documentary, planning, and technology. 

image courtesy Mrinalini Singha, graphic: Kat Cizek


There is no required training, educational degree, or years of experience to be nominated. We anticipate that the workshop will be most beneficial to teams that already have a problem statement and ideas on how they want to explore the intersection of placemaking, world-building, storytelling, and land use. While we are interested in teams with early 3D models and prototypes built in game-engines, we will also include teams in earlier stage of development with strong research agendas.

The teams will need to make themselves available for a design process that will include several ideation and planning sessions during the spring and summer of 2023, resulting in an intensive 5 days-worth of of virtual encounters in Fall 2023 , spread over 3 weeks: October 23, 2023 – November 10, 2023. The incubator will make an effort to accommodate candidates from any time zone, but core programming will take place within regular working hours in ET/PT time.


Nominations are accepted until JUNE 5, 2023 (12 am midnight ET). Self-nominations are encouraged. The cohort will be selected by the project organizers based on information provided in the form and potentially subsequent follow up discussion. We will only reach out to projects under consideration. 


The act of co-creating XR worlds can be a powerful tool in both storytelling and placemaking. It not only sparks the collective imagination, but can also propel land use planning into direct action, especially with specific, local and urgent climate change adaptation and mitigation measures. This, at any rate, is our hypothesis, and we would like to investigate a co-creative approach to technology-assisted future-versioning by drawing together place-makers, community members, and artists/creators to visualize sustainable worlds and explore how we could use realtime 3D technologies to render them possible in real life.

Please nominate yourself or any team here:



Unity Technologies is the world’s leading platform for creating and operating immersive realtime 3D (RT3D) content.We believe the world is a better place with more creators in it – and creativity can and should come from anyone, anywhere. We focus the power of our talent, technology, and grants to empower anyone to foster a more sustainable and inclusive world. WORLDING is made possible through funding support provided by the Unity Charitable Fund, a fund of Tides Foundation.


Founded in 2016, the Co-Creation Studio is an initiative at MIT Open Documentary Lab. The studio researches and incubates collective creation (alternatives to a singular authorial vision), through a constellation of media methods. For us, co-creation can occur within communities, across disciplines and with non-human systems such as Artificial Intelligence, as outlined in our forthcoming MIT Press book, Collective Wisdom: Co-Creation Media for Equity and Justice. 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.


Kat Cizek

Author Kat Cizek

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