How to co-create — and why: the emergence of media co-creation as a concept and as a practice grounded in equity and justice.

By Katerina Cizek and William Uricchio

With coauthors Juanita Anderson, Maria Agui Carter, Detroit Narrative Agency, Thomas Allen Harris, Maori Karmael Holmes, Richard Lachman, Louis Massiah, Cara Mertes, Sara Rafsky, Michèle Stephenson, Amelia Winger-Bearskin and Sarah Wolozin

400 pp., 7 x 9 in, 198 color photos, hardcover, 9780262543774, published November 1, 2022
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How to co-create — and why: the emergence of media co-creation as a concept and as a practice grounded in equity and justice.


Co-creation is everywhere: It’s how the internet was built; it generated massive prehistoric rock carvings; it powered the development of vaccines for COVID-19 in record time. Co-creation offers alternatives to the idea of the solitary author privileged by top-down media. But co-creation is easy to miss, as individuals often take credit for—and profit from—collective forms of authorship, erasing whole cultures and narratives as they do so. Collective Wisdom offers the first guide to co-creation as a concept and as a practice, tracing co-creation in a media-making that ranges from collaborative journalism to human–AI partnerships.

Why co-create—and why now? The many coauthors, drawing on a remarkable array of professional and personal experience, focus on the radical, sustained practices of co-creating media within communities and with social movements. They explore the urgent need for co-creation across disciplines and organization, and the latest methods for collaborating with nonhuman systems in biology and technology. The idea of “collective intelligence” is not new, and has been applied to such disparate phenomena as decision making by consensus and hived insects. Collective wisdom goes further. With conceptual explanation and practical examples, this book shows that co-creation only becomes wise when it is grounded in equity and justice.


November 1 • 12 pm ET • online

Virtual Celebration of Book Release at MIT Open Doc Lab/CoCreation Studio

Please register here and join us for a virtual celebration with most authors and coauthors present.

November 14 • 3pm CET • Amsterdam

World Launch at IDFA: Meet the Authors

International Theatre Amsterdam, Leidseplein 26, 1017 PT Amsterdam, Netherlands

Please email us to be placed on guest list if you are not already an Industry Delegate.

December 2 • 1 pm GMT • online

Virtual Lunchtime Talk at Pervasive Studio, Watershed U.K.

Please register here and join us for a virtual talk with a few of the authors.

December 9 • 6:30 pm ET • New York City

U.S. Launch at Ford Foundation: Authors’ Photoshare led by Thomas Allen Harris

Ford Foundation building, NYC

Please email us to be placed on guest list if you would like to attend.

Early 2023 • Canada and US

Please stay tuned for more dates as they are announced at this site




Amelia Winger-Bearskin

Amelia Winger-Bearskin is an artist who innovates with artificial intelligence in ways that make a positive impact on our community and the environment. She is a Banks Family Preeminence Endowed Chair and Associate Professor of Artificial Intelligence and the Arts, at the Digital Worlds Institute at the University of Florida.  She is the founder of the UF AI Climate Justice Lab and the Talk To Me About Water Collective.  She founded Wampum.Codes which is both an award-winning podcast and an ethical framework for software development based on indigenous values of co-creation. was awarded a Mozilla Fellowship embedded at the MIT Co-Creation Studio from 2019-2020 and was featured at the 2021 imagineNative festival. She continued her research in 2021 at Stanford University as their artist and technologist in residence made possible by the Stanford Visiting Artist Fund in Honor of Roberta Bowman Denning (VAF) .  Winger-Bearskin is a member of the Seneca Cayuga Nation of Oklahoma.

Katerina Cizek

Katerina Cizek is an influential figure in international media, with over 25 years of experience as a Peabody- and Emmy-winning documentarian, author, producer, and senior leader working with collective processes and emergent technologies. She is the co-founder, executive producer, and artistic director of the Co-Creation Studio at MIT Open Documentary Lab. At the studio, she designs and leads innovative incubators, workshops, research projects, delegations, and fellowships fusing art, documentary, and journalism with emergent tech and science. For over a decade, Cizek worked as a documentary director at the National Film Board of Canada, transforming the organization into a world leader of  digital storytelling with the projects HIGHRISE and Filmmaker-in-Residence. She is a member of the Directors’ Guild of Canada, and has advised many media labs, including Sundance, ESoDOC (Italy), and CPH:LAB (Denmark). She is a member of the editorial collective at IMMERSE, and a member of the inaugural Interactive Board of Jurors for the Peabody Awards. She has given talks at the British Library, the Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Venice International Film Festival, Berlinale Talent Lab, Skoll World Forum, the Canadian Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, and universities around the world. Cizek has been a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Toronto Metropolitan University and, prior to that, a Visiting Artist at MIT. She is a frequent keynote speaker, panelist, and moderator, and advises on, designs, and facilitates programs around the world.

Detroit Narrative Agency

Detroit Narrative Agency (DNA) was founded in 2015, by ill weaver and adrienne maree brown, with help from Jeanette Lee from Allied Media Projects, with a primary focus on disrupting harmful narratives about Detroit. For too long, the stories that circulated about Detroit defined it as broken, violent, and in need of saving from itself. After Detroit’s emergence from bankruptcy in 2014, there was a new strand of stories about Detroit: stories of resurgence led by white billionaires, scrappy entrepreneurs, and pioneering artists. Invisible from that narrative was the Detroit that was saving itself all along, the Detroit that pushed back against marginalization and erasure, the Detroit that had a vision for the future based in liberation and justice. The Detroit Narrative Agency is amplifying that Detroit, incubating authentic and compelling stories that shift the dominant narratives about this place by putting the power of story back in the hands of Black, Indigenous, People of Color. We focus on non-extractive media storytelling, centering and amplifying the voices of our city, and providing skillbuilding opportunities within film and media production with a focus on community impact. DNA also contributes to the growth of the film and media ecosystem in the Detroit area and globally.

Maori Karmael Holmes

Maori is a curator, filmmaker and writer. She founded BlackStar in 2012 and serves as its Chief Executive & Artistic Officer. She has organized programs in film at a myriad of organizations including Anthology Film Archives, Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles), The Underground Museum, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. As a director, her works have screened internationally including her feature documentary Scene Not Heard: Women in Philadelphia Hip-Hop. She has also directed and produced works for and Visit Philadelphia, as well as musicians: India.Arie, Mike Africa, Jr., and Wayna Her writing has most recently appeared in Seen, Documentary Magazine, The Believer, Film Quarterly, Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good, and How We Fight White Supremacy: A Field Guide to Black Resistance Maori received her MFA in Film & Media Arts from Temple University and her BA in History from American University. She currently serves on the boards of American Documentary (POV) and Asian Arts Initiative; the advisory boards of Ulises, Vidiots, and Lightbox Film Center; and is a member of Brown Girls Doc Mafia, The Community Board, and Programmers of Colour Collective. Maori was recently announced as one of the Kennedy Center’s #Next50 List and is a 2019-2020 Soros Equality Fellow and 2016 JustFilms Rockwood Fellow. She serves as Mediamaker-in-Residence at the Annenberg School for Communication at University of Pennsylvania and Curator-at-Large at Penn Live Arts.

Richard Lachman

Dr. Richard Lachman directs the Zone Learning incubators for Toronto Metropolitan University, Research Development for  The Creative School, and the Experiential Media Institute.  He is an Associate Professor in the RTA School of Media, his work in transmedia has garnered a Gemini, CNMA and Webby Honouree awards, and he has lead collaborative design exercises with UNICEF, TIFF, Penguin UK, Kobo, the CRTC, and others.  Richard completed his doctorate at UNE in Australia studying software recommendation-engines, did his undergraduate work in Computer Science at MIT, and holds a masters degree from the MIT Media Lab’s “Interactive Cinema” group. He was part of a startup acquired by Mattel, ending as Lead Designer and Lead Engineer for the Petz software with over 3 million units shipped worldwide.  Dr Lachman’s areas of research include transmedia storytelling, digital documentaries, augmented/locative/VR experiences, mixed realities, and collaborative design thinking.

Juanita Anderson

Juanita Anderson is a producer, director, still photographer and media educator who was born and raised in Detroit. Her creative work lies at the intersection of cultural history, artistic expression and the responses to social injustice that amplify the voices of communities too seldom represented on screen.  She is best known for her work as executive producer of the 1989 Academy Award-nominated feature film Who Killed Vincent Chin? (a film by Christine Choy and Renee Tajima), which was inducted into the National Film Registry in 2021. She also helmed the groundbreaking African American community affairs series Detroit Black Journal (WTVS)  and Say Brother (WGBH) before becoming an independent producer in 1993.

Her recent credits include Sydney G. James: How We See Us (2022), produced for the Firelight Media/American Masters short film series, In the Making, and the forthcoming documentary short, Reclamation (2022), produced in collaboration with the Detroit Narrative Agency and the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network. Anderson served as the 2019-2020 Murray Jackson Creative Scholar in the Arts at Wayne State University, where she heads the Department of Communication’s Media Arts & Studies programs and has served as a faculty member since 2003. She is also the Resident Artist in Media Arts at The Carr Center in Detroit. A long-standing advocate for diversity in public media and the arts, Anderson was a co-founder of the National Black Programming Consortium (now Black Public Media); a past president of the National Conference of Artists, the nation’s longest-standing African American visual arts organization; and is currently a member of the Board of Directors of American Documentary, Inc.


Louis Massiah

Louis Massiah is an American documentary filmmaker, MacArthur Prize winner, and cultural worker who has worked with Philadelphians to develop mediamaking skills and to access media resources in order to record their own stories. He graduated from Cornell University with a B.A., and from Massachusetts Institute of Technology with an S.M in Visual Studies (documentary filmmaking.) He has been an artist-in-residence, a visiting scholar and on faculty at City College of New York, Princeton University, Howard University, the University of Pennsylvania, , Haverford College, Swarthmore College and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.He is the founder and executive director of the Scribe Video Center, a media arts center providing educational workshops for community groups and emerging independent media makers. Since 2005 he has served as executive producer of the Precious Places Community History, a participatory Philadelphia video history project that explores  the city’s communities as a collection of short films conceived and produced by community members. Wth funding from the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage and the Doris Duke Foundation, he also directs  a community film history project called Muslim Voices , which explores the history of diverse Muslim communities across the US  (including Sufis, Sunnis, the Nation of Islam, the Ahmadis, the Moorish Science Temple of America, and others) through a series of short films through participatory production methodologies.

Maria Agui Carter

Maria Agui Carter is an award-winning filmmaker, writer, and long-time media diversity advocate. She was born in Ecuador and grew up in New York City. Formerly an in-house producer for WGBH-TV, she founded Iguana Films in 2000, and writes, produces, and directs both dramatic and documentary works broadcast and screened internationally, in English and in Spanish. Her most recent documentary and trans-media series SciGirls on PBS, for which she served as series production advisor and directed the opening episode, was nominated for a 2019 Emmy award.Ms. Agui Carter is a former Board Chair and Trustee of NALIP (The National Association of Latino Independent Producers) and serves on its Women’s Board. She is a member of the Writer’s Guild of America, East, and serves on its Diversity Coalition. She has been the winner of a Warren Fellowship in History, Corporation for Public Broadcasting Fellowship, George Peabody Gardner Fellowship, and Rockefeller fellowship in Latin American Studies, among others and has been a visiting artist/scholar at Harvard, Tulane and Brandeis universities. She has been a panelist, judge, and/or speaker at film festivals and industry conferences, foundations, and film funds, including NEA, NEH, ITVS, LPB, IDA, ITVS. She has been a featured speaker at national conferences and Summits including Smithsonian, White House Latino Heritage Forum, UnidosUS, Sundance Film Festival, the Allied Media Conference, the Provincetown Women’s Summit, Tribeca, DOC NYC and Harvard. She is the founder of ARC (Artist Retreat Center) NALIP, an arts residency for women filmmakers and screenwriters of color. She has also served as a mentor for other producers through labs and programs at NALIP and Firelight Media.

Thomas Allen Harris

Thomas Allen Harris is a filmmaker and artist whose work across film, video, photography, and performance illuminates the human condition and the search for identity, family, and spirituality. Graduate of Harvard College and the Whitney Independent Study Program, member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, and published writer/curator, Harris lectures widely on the use of media as a tool for social change. He lectures and teaches on media arts, visual literacy, and personal archiving at such institutions as Yale, Dartmouth, University of California, and many others. In 2009, Harris founded Digital Diaspora Family Reunion, LLC (DDFR) a social engaged transmedia project that has incorporated community organizing, performance, virtual gathering spaces, and storytelling into over 45 unique audio-visual events in over 30 cities. With this project, Harris has toured nationally and internationally, most recently as a Montgomery Fellow at Dartmouth College and at the Yale University Afro American Cultural Center, to invite individuals to explore and share the rich and revealing narratives found within their family photo albums. To date, DDFR has brought over 3000 people together in live events and gathered in excess of 30,000 images, sharing content through social media, television, articles, newspapers, and radio to receive over 70 million impressions worldwide. Harris is bringing DDFR to national TV with Family Pictures USA.

Cara Mertes

Cara currently serves as Founding Director of the International Resource for Impact and Storytelling (IRIS), a donor collaborative focused on supporting creative visual storytelling and narrative analysis in the public interest internationally. he joined Ford Foundation as Director, JustFilms, the foundation’s signature documentary portfolio, where she and her team integrated the initiative across the foundation’s strategies, supported hundreds of documentary films internationally, created an international network of non-fiction resource hubs and incubated a range of narrative-centered initiatives including the Pop Culture Collaborative, the Detroit Narrative Agency, Narrative Initiative. She funded the ground-breaking reports Making A New Reality and Collective Wisdom.. Earlier, Cara was Director of the Sundance Documentary Film Program and Fund, supporting hundreds of non-fiction projects internationally with funding and rigorous Sundance Labs. Prior, she was executive producer of the PBS documentary series POV. She led an expansion of POV/American Documentary, producing an annual prime-time series and PBS specials that brought dozens of award-winning films to public television viewers. She received multiple Emmy Awards, George Foster Peabody Awards, and duPont-Columbia Awards and was awarded a Webby Award for her pioneering web series on PBS, POV’s Borders. She was  executive producer of several Academy Award-nominated films, including Street Fight, Nerakhoon: Betrayal, and My Country, My Country, and served as executive director of American Documentary. Cara is a member of AMPAS and WGA East, and a graduate of Vassar College (BA), Hunter College (MA) and Harvard Business School’s OPM Program as a Ford Fellow.

Sara Rafsky

Sara Rafsky is a writer, researcher and producer who works at the intersection of journalism, press freedom, human rights and documentary film in the US and Latin America. She is currently the Newsroom Safety and Security Fellow at the New York Times. Before this she was a Senior Research Fellow at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University and a producer of the Netflix Original documentary, “The Three Deaths of Marisela Escobedo,” which won the 2021 Ariel Award (the Mexican equivalent of the Academy Awards) for best documentary.  Previously, Rafsky worked at Doc Society as the Safe + Secure Executive, an initiative on mitigating risks faced by documentary filmmakers; as a researcher at the MIT Open Documentary Lab and a Google News Lab Fellow at Witness. Prior to that she was the Researcher on Central America at Amnesty International in Mexico City and the Americas Research Associate for the Committee to Protect Journalists in New York. Rafsky has written about culture and politics as a freelance journalist in New York, Bogotá, Buenos Aires and Phnom Penh.  In 2008, she received a Fulbright Grant to research photojournalism and the Colombian armed conflict.  She has a BA from Georgetown University and an MS in Comparative Media Studies from MIT, where she wrote her thesis “The Print that Binds: Local journalism, Civic life and the Public Sphere.”

Michèle Stephenson

Filmmaker, artist and author, Michèle Stephenson, pulls from her Haitian and Panamanian roots to think radically about storytelling and disrupt the imaginary in non-fiction spaces.  She tells emotionally driven personal stories of resistance and identity that center the lived experiences of communities of color and the Black diaspora. Her stories intentionally reimagine and provoke thought about how we engage with and dismantle the internalized impact of systems of oppression. Stephenson draws on fiction, immersive and hybrid forms of storytelling to build her worlds and narratives. Her feature documentary, American Promise, was nominated for three Emmys and won the Jury Prize at Sundance. Her more recent non-fiction work, Stateless, was nominated for a Canadian Academy Award for Best Feature Documentary. Stephenson collaborated as co-director on the the first episode of the magical realist virtual reality trilogy series on racial terror, The Changing Same, which was nominated for an Emmy in the Outstanding Interactive Media Innovative category and premiered at Sundance Film Festival. It also won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Immersive Narrative at the Tribeca Film Festival.  Along with her writing partners, Joe Brewster and Hilary Beard, Stephenson won an NAACP Image Award for Excellence in a Literary Work for their book, Promises Kept.  She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science, a Guggenheim Artist Fellow, and a Creative Capital Artist.

William Uricchio

William Uricchio revisits the histories of old media when they were new; explores interactive and participatory documentary; writes about the past and future of television; thinks about algorithms and archives; and researches narrative in immersive and interactive settings. He is Professor of Comparative Media Studies at MIT, founder of the MIT Open Documentary Lab, and was its Principal Investigator as well as PI of the Co-Creation Studio until 2022. He was also Professor of Comparative Media History at Utrecht University in the Netherlands and has held visiting professorships at the Freie Universität Berlin, Stockholm University, the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen (Lichtenberg-Kolleg), China University of Science and Technology, and in Denmark where he was national DREAM professor. He has received Guggenheim, Humboldt, and Fulbright fellowships, the Berlin Prize, and the Mercator Prize. His publications include Reframing Culture; We Europeans? Media, Representations, Identities; Die Anfänge des deutschen Fernsehens; Media Cultures; Many More Lives of the Batman; Collective Wisdom: Co-Creating Media Within Communities, across Disciplines and with Algorithms, and hundreds of essays and book chapters, including a visual “white paper” on the documentary impulse ( He is currently leading a two-year research initiative on augmentation and public spaces with partners in Montreal and Amsterdam.

Sarah Wolozin

Sarah Wolozin is the founding director of the MIT Open Documentary Lab. The lab studies and incubates new forms of documentary storytelling using established and emerging technologies and drawing from film, journalism, theater, video games, design, and art fields. She is the founder and editorial director of Docubase, a database of the people, projects and tools transforming documentary in the digital age, co-founder and a member of the editorial collective of Immerse, and co-founder of the Co-Creation Studio. Wolozin has long had an interest in making technologies more accessible and in exploring new platforms for storytelling. Before arriving at MIT, she produced award-winning documentaries and media for a variety of outlets including PBS, WGBH, websites and museums. She started experimenting with the web back in its early stages of public use. She has sat on numerous committees and juries including Tribeca New Media Fund and Tribeca Storyscapes, World Press Photo and Sundance. She has presented at Sundance, MOMA, SXSW, International Documentary Festival of Amsterdam (IDFA) and many other venues.