September 20 - 22, 2018
Image credit: Folk Memory Project
The symposium will consist of panels, presentations, screenings, performances, installations and break-out sessions with visionary, field-shaping documentarians, community leaders, journalists, artists, designers, planners, scientists, scholars, funders, and movement-builders from across the US and around the world to discuss the pressing issue of co-creation.
This invite-only gathering will take place on September 21-22, 2018 at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with an optional keynote on the evening of September 20th at 5pm.
Friday’s program will be be live-streamed and archived online.
Still from: Iyapo Films: Artifact 012, Courtesy of Iyapo Repository
05:00 – 06:50
Pre-conference Keynote in collaboration with MIT Comparative Media Studies
Thomas Allen Harris
Thomas Allen Harris is a critically acclaimed, interdisciplinary artist who explores conceptions of family, identity, environmentalism, and spirituality in a participatory practice. Graduate of Harvard College with a degree in Biology 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 with a keen recognition for its potential to organize social movements and impact the biological body. He currently holds a position at Yale University as a Senior Lecturer in African American and Film & Media Studies, where he is teaching courses titled “Family Narratives/Cultural Shifts” and “Archive Aesthetics and Community Storytelling”. He is also working on a new television show, Family Pictures USA, which takes a radical look at neighborhoods and cities of the United States through the lens of family photographs, collaborative performances, and personal testimony sourced from their communities.
Family Pictures USA uses methodologies Harris and his team developed with Digital Diaspora Family Reunion, LLC (DDFR), a socially engaged transmedia project that has incorporated community organizing, performance, virtual gathering spaces, and storytelling into over 60 unique audio-visual events in over 50 cities. Harris will talk about his trajectory as a media artist that led to DDFR and his documentary film work, including Through A Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People, his 2015 film that was developed in tandem with DDFR. Through A Lens Darkly features leading Black cultural figures, scholars, and photographers sharing their archives with Harris in an exploration of the ways photography has been used as a tool of representation and self-representation in history, garnering an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Documentary film, the Fund for Santa Barbara Social Justice Award, and an Africa Movie Academy Award, among others.
In conversation with MIT Professor Vivek Bald, Harris will reveal his process, experiences, and unexpected outcomes working with communities in online and offline shared spaces and places. Immediately following a Q&A, participants will be invited to share images that represent their conceptions of family and engage in a collaborative workshop highlighting the impact of new technologies in community archiving practices.
Bjarke Calvin, fellow at MIT Open Documentary Lab will share his new app: Duckling. Duckling is built for collaboration: When we combine our storytelling skills, we make manipulation difficult. Life is about telling your own story in a way that allows different views, facts and feelings to connect. That’s when things really change.
Registration and Breakfast
Welcome and Introductions
Sarah Wolozin, Jay Pitter, Cara Mertes, Lauren Pabst
The Buzz. The Swarm. The History. Why CoCreation
Behind the buzz that momentarily attends the term ‘co-creation’ is a history of practice as old as our species. The languages that connect us, the beliefs that guide us, and the narratives that serve as our cultural operating systems have all emerged over millennia in highly co-creative fashions, taking the form of dictionaries, sacred texts, and books well after the fact. The heavy industry of culture that dominated the 20th century eclipsed these practices, amplifying the Romantic era’s notion of the author as creative genius and transforming it into a business model and instrument of power. But co-creation has persisted in the margins. In today’s era of digital affordances, where the forces of concentration are again on the rise, co-creation has demonstrated new capacities to reclaim meaningful participation and re-balance social power, new ways to create trust. Like any method, it can be abused for profits or power, and in the digital era these dangers are more insidious than ever. But the potentials of co-creation to extend participation and inclusivity, and to tap the generative powers of communities, organizations, and even AI systems, have never been more important. This session will draw from moments in this deep history to address why co-creation? why now? and what can precedent teach us?
Fred Dust, Kamal Sinclair, Babitha George
Witness-guides reflect on the WHY of co-creation.
Lightning Talk: ‘Challenge for Change’ to Highrise to Co-Creation Studio
PANEL: Nothing about us without us. Co-creating within communities in-person and on-line
Salome Asega, Julia Kumari Drapkin, Zhang Mengqi, Michelle Latimer
Collective creation has a history as long as humanity itself. Do media structures, one-to-many or many-to-many, shape the potentials for co-creation? How might communities and social movements reclaim media-making and history-telling through co-creation? This session features four remarkable co-creative projects that have emerged from within communities and social movements, both in-person and on-line. These co-creators draw on traditions of documentary, Indigenous ceremony, dance, humour, testimony, and protocols of accountability and reciprocity, to create compelling media “with” people not “about” them.
Prep for Saturday’s Breakout
LIGHTNING TALK: Detroit Narrative Agency
ill weaver, paige watkins
PANEL: Estuaries: co-creating across disciplines, organizations and beyond
Opeyemi Olukemi, Gina Czarnecki, Jonathan May, Kristian Moeller Moltke Martiny, Carlos Martinez de la Serna
The rivers and oceans of professional disciplines, sectors and organizations are deeply divided by specialization, jargon and hierarchies. In this session, curators, artists, journalists and scientists share how they have developed their own ‘estuaries’ to mix, blend and stir up ideas and world-views by crossing boundaries. With untemplated and unconventional work methods, they have arrived at unexpected outcomes. They will share the limits and promise of working in these chartered territories. From temporary hackathons, to more sustained models of residencies, incubators, platforms and labs, they’ll show how they mix art with science, human-centred design with the newsroom, climate change reporting with the citizen-led collection of first-hand evidence. These experiments tackle the complex problems of the 21st century, and in doing so, they enable inclusivity, diversity and honour the multiplicity of expertise from all walks of life.
LIGHTNING TALK: Testify
PANEL: Channels on the Dial. Human and non-human co-creation, from artificial intelligence, machine learning to biological systems
Jason Lewis, Emily Bell, Agnieszka Kurant, Sandra Rodriguez, Sarah Schwettmann
Little is known — and is being done — about the governance, consequence and agency of Artificial Intelligence. Mark Zuckerberg tells us not to panic, Elon Musk insists we should. (Stephen Hawking agreed with Musk). Increasingly, artists are nuancing this debate with deeper interrogations, by working (even co-creating) with Artificial Intelligence, and other non-human systems, including social animals and biological systems such as stem cells. Can these systems truly be equated with human intelligence, or are they simply tools that still remain in service of humans? Are the technologies only conduits that allow for human-to-human co-creation? Are they feedback loops? Or is AI a type of intelligence we humans do not fully understand? Blackfoot philosopher Leroy Little Bear observes, “The human brain is a station on the radio dial; parked in one spot, it is deaf to all the other stations…the animals, rocks, trees, simultaneously broadcasting across the whole spectrum of sentience.” Could Artificial Intelligence be on that dial, and what are the implications for co-creative methodologies .. and the planet?
LIGHTNING TALK: Fireflies
PANEL: Swarm. The dangers and risks of co-creation, and building ethical frameworks and protocols to mitigate them
Ethan Zuckerman, Sasha Costanza-Chock, Yasmin Elayat, Grace Lee, Amelia Winger-Bearskin
The term ‘co-creation’ can be controversial. On one hand, for many auteur artists, journalists, professionals, and decision-makers, the notion of co-creation can threaten the authority and the rigour of systems that rely on individuals’ established talent and expertise. They also worry that “co-creation” dilutes ideas to the lowest common denominator. Meanwhile, vulnerable communities, movements and people who have been historically excluded from participating meaningfully in professional media-making, express concern that the term “co-creation” is simply a smokescreen for continuing extractive and exploitative practices, only under a new term. But the language of co-creation also has a long history of defining a constellation of collective practices that holds partners accountable to each other and produces a whole greater than the sum of its parts. In this panel, long-time co-creators discuss the risks and dangers of the term, and debate the ways in which we can mitigate them to ethically arrive at that larger whole.
Jay Pitter, Kamal Sinclair, Fred Dust, Babitha George
Reflections on the day.
05:00 – 07:00
Co-hosted by Fledgling Fund and Ryerson University
07:00 – 09:30
SCREENING + LIVE PERFORMANCES
A project co-created by Indigenous Lawyers and Indigenous Artists // The Illegal: Let us Live multi-media performance features a projected film and audio featuring the two artists as they read out the quotations. It also features one of the artists doing a live performance to accompany the film and audio. Illegal: Let us Live is an historical embodiment challenging the colonial imposition, forced displacement, diaspora and the importance of telling our intergenerational truths and speaking out against genocidal practices and laws. In this performance the artist is the embodiment of Mother Earth, transitioning through the story, as she portrays the thematic tension within ‘belonging’ in contemporary Indigenous relationships to colonial patriarchy. This piece is a challenge; as it calls out for more diverse methods of resistance. This piece speaks to the colonial strategy of denial as it addresses its continuing divide and rule pathologies. In this performance names are named, telling a part of the whole truth that resists being told.
Detroit Narrative Agency (DNA) Screenings
We will screen five DNA-supported short films by Black & People of Color Detroiters. The artists will be present and will join a post-screening conversation to share how DNA is working towards shifting narratives in the city of Detroit, Michigan.
The Folk Memory Project Live Dance Performance
Zhang Mengqi performs a live solo version of a collaborative multi-media dance piece. Mengqi is a founding member of the Folk Memory Documentary Project collective, who live and create together at a studio called Workstation in Beijing, China. The collective invites young filmmakers to visit their “home” rural communities to document the historical experiences of relatives and elders during the Great Famine of 1959-61. This body of work is growing with annual returns by the filmmakers, and the collection now includes over one thousand interviews. The collective performs the recordings to live audiences, using projection, dance and multi-media.
Morning Movement Workshop
Join us in a morning hands-on movement workshop guided by Zhang Mengqi, a dancer, choreographer and documentarian with the Folk Memory Project, based in Beijing, China. Menqgi runs similar workshops in her father’s village in Hebei Province, with elders and children. For a decade, Mengqi and the Fold Memory Project collective have been working in over 100 villages to document the historical experiences of elders during the Great Famine of 1959-61, which was never acknowledged and under-reported. This on-going co-created project explores the relationship between performance, movement, documentary, oral history for collective healing. No dance or movement experience is required to participate in this workshop.
Note: The Morning Movement Workshop takes place at the Cube in the Lower Atrium.
Welcome Back: Jay Pitter
LIGHTNING TALK: MARROW
PANEL: Funder’s Circle
Most professional models of media funding (whether public, philanthropic or commercial) tend to favour a singular author, along with templated development, production and distribution processes with strict rules around allocation of ownership, authorship, credits and expenditures. Co-Creation often happens in the margins (or even outside of the margins) of these templates. Co-creation is messy, unpredictable and risky. But it can also produce compelling results, both in the quality of media, and in the intangible outcomes of democratized media-production, civic engagement and profound challenges to the systems that prevent liberation and justice. In this session, we are joined by funders from foundations and government agencies coming from different sectors to explore the perils and possibilities of new models of funding, evaluating and supporting the co-creation of media.
These Roundtables are co-created and co-facilitated with Ryerson University, Faculty of Communication and Design, from Toronto, Canada, with delegation led by Dr. Richard Lachman, MIT grad.
Guests are invited to participate in 12 different break-out groups that will discuss pre-determined themes sourced at the symposium through co-creative methods. The themes may address such questions as: What are the areas of co-creation that need more research? How do we support communities that are already co-creating, to ensure that funding and resources flow? What kinds of interventions could happen at legacy institutions? With funders? How do we support co-creation in the public media sphere? What are new ways of financing, and models of ownership and governance in co-creation (collectives, cooperatives)? How can co-creation be encouraged in non-prescriptive ways through Film Schools, Universities and how do we develop curricula? How can the co-creation report be distributed and disseminated for impact? How do we best support documentary makers who want to learn co-creative methodologies – build trust, dialogue, and equity with their collaborators? Facilitators will be asked to report back to the plenary with a short summary. Our notetakers and recorders will document the discussion which we will aggregate and synthesize together with our partners at Ryerson, to be published in our upcoming Ford-funded COLLECTIVE WISDOM Field Study, later in the Fall of 2018.
Plenary Report Backs from Break-outs
Jay Pitter, Kamal Sinclair, Babitha George, Sarah Wolozin, Katerina Cizek, and William Uricchio
We will showcase three co-created installations at the symposium.
Sovereign to the Bone: Culture, Memory, and Indigenous Children
By Halie Bruce, Testify (digital video triptych) 2016
Testify is a curated pairing of artists/legal thinkers, working in conversation with each other to create an artwork and written work about Indigenous laws and opportunities for the dynamic expression as part of Canadian society. The dialogue invited by the “Testify” project puts the idea of reconciliation into practice by creating a space for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians to dream a way forward which respects and reflects the diversity, strength, and hope embodied within Indigenous traditions.
Excerpt: “The practice of bearing witness is a long-held tradition and law amongst my people, the Kwakwaka’wakw. As a child I bore witness to the strength of Indigenous people in the city – struggling to find work, to maintain ties and connections strained by the distractions of the City. As an Indigenous lawyer and Gladue report writer, I have observed the despair, culture and identity loss which is legacy of often multigenerational involvement in the child welfare system; and I have borne witness to the hope that is ignited when the survivor of the child welfare system learns even one word in their Indigenous language that speaks directly to their spirit. Blood/Memory. I share the belief that we need all the witnesses we can get both to give and receive this testimony, and to ensure that Indigenous laws in the area of child welfare are reconstituted in the best interest of Indigenous children.”
Dimensions in Testimony
Interactive Biography Installation (video, natural language processing) USC Shoah Foundation, 2016
A collection of interactive biographies that enable people to have conversations with pre-recorded video images of Holocaust survivors and other witnesses to genocide. The pioneering project integrates advanced filming techniques, specialized display technologies, and next-generation natural language processing to provide an intimate experience with these eyewitnesses to history. Having the opportunity to ask their specific questions – and receive appropriate replies – is a deeply personal experience and offers visitors the ability to guide the conversation into areas they find interesting. As they ask more questions and learn more about the survivor’s life, visitors almost feel as if they’re having an actual conversation with a living person.
Survivors were asked approximately 1,200 questions during the weeklong filming process. The questions cover the entire span of their lives – from their earliest memories to the present day. This puts the horrors of the Holocaust in sharp contrast with their earlier lives and provides a context for what came after. Questions were gathered through extensive research and discussions with the survivors before filming began. USC Shoah Foundation staff also heard from both children and adults to learn what types of questions they would want to have answered.
Although there is complex technology at work, it quickly disappears from the user’s thoughts as they become acquainted with the person on the screen. The result is moving and educational experience that stays with the user long after their interaction ends.
Fireflies: A Brownsville Story
A docu-videogame by Brownsville, for Brownsville
The geography of Brownsville, Brooklyn is divided by an ongoing rivalry between public housing developments. In this virtual reality documentary, players from both sides of the conflict work together to explore the stories, histories, and dreams of the community and its residents. By participating in this world-adventure simulation, players must traverse the structural realities of the neighborhood while searching to answer a simple question; do we have more in common than we once thought?
Live Portrait Studio
Have your co-created portrait taken by photographer, Danny Goldfield, Fellow at MIT Open Documentary Lab. Option to be published in the Field Study, with a quote about your thought on co-creation.
Her city-building values are informed by her childhood experience of growing up in social housing. She has also been influenced by the long-term mentorship of her second grade Irish Canadian teacher who modelled the power of reaching across racial, class, and gender differences. In addition to housing, Jay also focuses on democratizing urban design, social urbanism, and story-based public engagement. She regularly sparks important conversations on these topics through media platforms such as the Agenda with Steve Paikin, CBC Radio, Maclean’s, and Canadian Architect; and through educational institutions like Ryerson University where she has taught an urban planning course.
Moreover, Jay co-edited Subdivided, a Coach House anthology exploring inclusive city-building. She is now working on several placemaking projects in the U.S., and writing Where We Live, which will be published by McClelland & Stewart at Penguin Random House.
She is one of the co-founders of the UnBox Festival, leading on networks and collaborations bringing together efforts around social change, art & culture, thoughtful design and open research. She is also on the Advisory Board of the Victor Papanek Foundation and was featured in the British Council's 'Blurring the Lines' exhibition in London, as one of sixteen people from around the world who are reinventing creative exploration and participation in their respective communities. She is a member of the Mozilla Foundation's first cohort of ``Network50”, for outstanding work in Internet health.
Currently Jonathan is an arts programmer for British Council, where he has been creating projects exploring digital culture, cross-disciplinary practice and social engagement. With a regional focus on South Asia and the Americas, Jonathan works with artists, producers, designers and thinkers to explore how digital culture influences and inspires artistic, cross-disciplinary practice and transforms social and participatory engagement. His focus in the UK has been to forge a network of some of the most radical and forward thinking producers, makers and doers in the cultural sector, exploring arts practice in non-arts context.
Jonathan is a Trustee of the Live Art Development Agency and Strike A Light Festival, sits on the Digital Board of LIFT and co-founded refugee arts network Parallel Crossings. In his spare time he curates and presents the radio show ‘International Airspace’ with the community-run London Fields Radio, and runs workshops for young men and boys on gender equality with The Great Man Initiative.
Cizek‘s earlier independent films include the Hampton-Prize winner Seeing is Believing: Handicams, Human Rights and the News (co-directed with Peter Wintonick). Her work has been seen by millions around the globe, through TV broadcasts and publishing on the web. She has travelled the world with her projects, teaching and lecturing about her innovative approaches to the documentary genre and digital media.
Jason Edward Lewis
After his PhD, Kristian founded the Department of Psychological and Social Research at the Elsass Institute, where he today functions as head of department, as part of his Post.Doc position at the University of Copenhagen. At the department he works on developing meaningful healthcare solutions for people living with CP in collaboration with citizens, healthcare professionals and scientist.
In the start of 2016, Kristian also co-founded two not-for-profit knowledge institutions, Collaboratorium S/I and Stages of Science S/I. Kristian uses Stages of Science as a platform to combine science and art (primarily theater), with the aim of increasing social awareness and hereby changing the societal attitudes towards persons with physical and mental disability. In the Collaboratorium Kristian works as a advisor to help knowledge organizations open up their processes and create relevant societal impact, either by developing collaborative media and web platforms or by facilitating collaborative processes.
Kristian Moller Moltke Martiny
Wolozin has long had an interest in exploring new platforms for storytelling and social change. Before arriving at MIT, she produced award-winning documentaries and educational media for a wide variety of media outlets including PBS, Learning Channel, History Channel, NPR, websites and museums. She received her training from Blackside, Inc. makers of the Emmy award-winning, Eyes on The Prize, a PBS series about the civil rights movement. She went on to work on the Peabody award-winning series, I’ll Make Me A World: The History of African-American Arts. She started experimenting with the web back in the early stages of its public use and in 1996 created and produced an award-winning 8-week interactive web series based on a comic book character. She has sat on numerous committees and juries including Sundance New Frontier Story Lab, Tribeca New Media Fund, the IFP Media Center, Puma Impact Award, Tribeca Storyscapes and World Press Photo. She has presented at Sundance, SXSW, International Documentary Festival of Amsterdam (IDFA), Storycode, MIT, DocMontevideo and many other venues
Drapkin currently serves on the board of the National Federation of Community Broadcasters and is a consultant for the think tank Resources for the Future and NASA. She is one of the founding members of the Science to Action working group at AGU. Prior to journalism, Julia did research anthropology and archaeology for over 7 years in Latin America, where she geeked out on Mayan farmer’s almanacs.
Julia Kumari Drapkin
Cizek‘s earlier independent films include the Hampton-Prize winner Seeing is Believing: Handicams, Human Rights and the News (co-directed with Peter Wintonick). Her work has been seen by millions around the globe, through TV broadcasts and publishing on the web. She has travelled the world with her projects, teaching and lecturing about her innovative approaches to the documentary genre and digital media.
Amelia was a professor of time-based media art and performance art at Vanderbilt University for five years before returning to her roots in NYC creative technology, graduating from NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program in 2015. In 2016 she went on to found and direct the DBRS Innovation Labs, an applied ai research lab that specialized in developing creative uses of artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies.
Amelia is the founder of the Stupid Hackathon, which now holds events around the world. She is a fellow of the Sundance New Frontiers Lab 2017 , a 2017 Sundance Institute Time Warner Fellow, in 2017 she was awarded the Engadget Alternative Realities Prize for her VR directorial debut. In 2016 she was an Oculus Launch Pad Fellow and an Artist in Residence at Pioneer Works 2016, Her art is part of the permanent collections of the Guggenheim Museum and the McCord Museum. Amelia is Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) of the Seneca-Cayuga Nation of Oklahoma, Deer Clan.
Alicia M. Díaz
A focus of much of her work has been on finding ways to make space within the Canadian legal system for the recognition of Indigenous laws, and this has included in the areas of child and family wellness (finding ways to reassert and reclaim Indigenous laws in this area) and also exploring laws about land and resource use.
Ardith has a Bachelor of Arts from McGill University (Major Political Science, Minor Women’s Studies); Bachelor of Laws from the University of British Columbia and a Master of Law’s from the University of British Columbia. She is a two-spirited woman, and mom to two fierce daughters. She has published both academically and in poetry anthologies.
Ardith (Walpetko We’dalx) Walkem
Willie Orlando Ford
She started her career making animated film and video in the 1980s that focused philosophical questions through the visceral, psychological, biological body in contemporary culture. Since the mid 1990’s this combined with her fascination with convergent developments in life sciences and technologies, their possible applications and how this shapes and informs identity. These elements are more prominent in later works mainly ‘Heirloom’ (2016), ‘I” (2014) & ‘The Wasted Works’ 2010-15
In ‘The Wasted Works’, described loosely as participatory sculptures, she transformed body-matter from living donors into objects that combine a sense of threat with a sense of irony and draw people in on various levels; emotive, ethical and intellectual & using contemporary cultural artefacts to resonate historic references to ethics and the changing landscape of the biomedical economy. Through the Wasted Works she developed The Art and Ethics Advisory Panel.
Her work has been exhibited internationally at, for example, Brisbane International Arts Festival, Ars Electronica Lumiere, Sundance & Solo exhibitions include ‘Humancraft ‘ moving image Centre, New Zealand, (2005) retrospective show at the Bluecoat (2010).
Halie attended Simon Fraser University before attaining a Bachelor of Laws degree from UBC. She has 25 years of experience working with Indigenous communities, and Indigenous, provincial and federal governments, and businesses. She has extensive training in mediation and alternative dispute resolution through courses taken at the Continuing Legal Education Society of BC, Justice Institute of BC, and the Social Justice Mediation Institute. Prior to attending law school, Halie was an Administrator for a Province-wide aboriginal organization, where she had extensive experience in management and staff and employment issues. She has worked with members of different aboriginal communities from across B.C., Canada and internationally, to explore traditional mechanisms for resolving various land, resource, social policy and internal community disputes.
Throughout her career as a non-profit executive, producer/director and funder, Cara has championed artists as leaders, and worked to harness the power of the moving image arts to strengthen civil society, create transformative narratives and accelerate progressive change. At Ford Foundation, she and her team have funded over 300 films, worked to build a more inclusive independent media field and launched the JustFilms Global Network, a major five-year initiative supporting a network of global north and global south organizations to create an international independent film network. Prior, Cara served for eight years as director of the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program and Fund. While there, she greatly expanded lab offerings and granting funds and partnered to co-found catalytic initiatives including Good Pitch, an event and training model produced by DocSociety, and the 'Stories of Change' initiative with the Skoll Foundation.
Prior to that, Cara was executive producer of the PBS documentary series POV, and Executive Director of American Documentary, Inc. She led a major 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 creating and producing PBS' inaugural web series, POV’s Borders. She was executive producer of several Academy Award-nominated films, including Street Fight, Nerakhoon: Betrayal, and My Country, My Country.
Cara is member of WGA East, AMPAS and NATAS, and has been recognized with an IDA Award for her leadership at Sundance Institute, DocNYC's Leading Light Award and HotDocs Doc Mogul Award.
He has worked on and produced many of Isuma’s recent projects, including Digital Indigenous Democracy (2012), Attatama Nunanga - My Father’s Land (2014),) Maliglutit (Searchers) (2015) – where he was producer and director of photography, and a new 7-part TV series Hunting with My Ancestors. Jonathan is also producer of Edge of the Knife, an Isuma-style feature made in collaboration with the Haida Nation, which will have its world premiere at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival. This project was part of an initiative to reproduce the “Isuma” model in other indigenous communities.
Her best known urban writings include Property, Politics and Planning: a history of Australian city planning 1890-1990 (1992); Making the Invisible Visible: A Multicultural History of Planning (1998); and Where Strangers Become Neighbours: the integration of immigrants in Vancouver, Canada (2009). In collaboration with Giovanni Attili, she has produced the documentaries Where Strangers Become Neighbours, (2007); and Finding Our Way: beyond Canada’s apartheid, (2010).
Since 2010, Leonie has been working on a new Masters degree curriculum, Indigenous Community Planning (ICP), which has been designed and is now being delivered in partnership with the Musqueam First Nation. In 2015 Leonie received the Distinguished Planning Educator award from the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning, for her contribution to planning scholarship, education, and practice.
Having started out in the London independent film scene In the 1980s, Mandy went on to lead ground-breaking participatory media projects at the BBC including the “Mass Observation” camcorder project Video Nation and the Capture Wales digital storytelling project.
She is co-editor of i-docs: the evolving practices of interactive documentary – Wallflower Press 2017 and edited the section on co-creation. She is co-investigator of the EPSRC research project – Virtual Realities: Immersive Documentary Encounters exploring the uses of VR for nonfiction.
Her recent writing includes Not media about, but media with: Co-creation for activism. (i-docs 2017), Technologies of seeing and technologies of corporeality: currents in nonfiction virtual reality (World Records 2018) and The immersive turn: Hype and hope in the emergence of virtual reality as a nonfiction platform (Studies in Documentary Film 2018).
Throughout her career as an esteemed interactive producer, funder and public programmer, Opeyemi has created spaces and pipelines for interdisciplinary artists, communities, and content teams to experiment with and create meaningful innovative content. She is a fierce advocate of technological equity, eliminating bias from social innovation and is deeply invested in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Before joining POV, Opeyemi was the Senior Director of Interactive Programs for Tribeca Film Institute, produced for ScrollMotion and has served as an assistant professor of Integrated Media at Brooklyn College’s Barry R. Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema. Opeyemi has served on numerous festival juries and has mentored through the IDFA’s Doc Academy, New Museum’s NEW INC and Oculus’ VR for Good. She is a proud Rockwood (Ford Foundation) JustFilms Fellow.
A Father’s Lullaby, her research/creation project at MIT Open Documentary Lab, considers the absence of fathers in communities of color as a direct result of mass incarceration, its life-long impact on children who are left behind and its weight on women and lower-income families, explored through the space of love and intimacy. The project is being developed with community members as creative collaborators, and many local institutions including Boston Center for the Arts, Federal Probation Office, Office of Returning Citizens, and Community Music Center of Boston. A Father’s Lullaby public art installation can be experienced at Boston Center for the Art’s Plaza through Oct 26, 2018 and at HUBweek Boston 2018.
In addition to his work at Sundance Institute, Mr. Perez executive produced and directed the feature documentary, Cesar’s Last Fast, a film about the spiritual commitment of American civil rights and labor leader Cesar E. Chavez that premiered in competition at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. Prior to joining the Sundance staff, Mr. Perez was an executive producer at Brave New Films where he produced two documentary series, and directed a third. Richard Ray Perez is a native of Los Angeles and holds a bachelor of arts degree in Visual and Environmental Studies from Harvard University.
Richard Ray Perez
Sarah M. Bassett
Carlos Martinez de la Serna
Her films have screened at film festivals internationally, including Sundance, TIFF, Rotterdam, ImagineNATIVE, Aspen Shorts, Oberhausen and Cannes, and her work has been acquired by National Gallery of Canada. Selected films include Choke (Sundance Festival Jury Prize Honourable Mention in International Short Filmmaking, Tiff Canada’s Top Ten, nominated for Canadian Screen Award), The Underground (Tiff, Best Short Film ImagineNATIVE), Nimmikaage (Oberhausen, Pan Am Games, National Gallery of Canada) and the feature doc ALIAS (nominated for a Canadian Screen Award, premiered in competition at Hot Docs). She is currently developing The Freedom Project (Sienna) - a dramatic feature film examination of women within the prison system, and adapting Thomas King’s novel Inconvenient Indian (Bell/NFB). Michelle has written for Frontier Season 3, directed two episodes of the new CBC comedy “Little Dog”, and is currently attached as a showrunner and co-creator for Sienna Films series “Red Nation Rising”. Michelle’s latest move into scripted television includes purchasing the rights to bestselling author, Eden Robinson’s award-winning “Son of a Trickster” trilogy, which she will be co-producing with Sienna Films, acting as showrunner and creator for the series.
In 2018, Michelle was the only Canadian awarded the 2018 Field of Vision Filmmaker Fellowship where she will be working closely with producer, Laura Poitras, to develop and incubate groundbreaking, social-justice films. As a curator, Michelle has programmed for ImagineNATIVE, Hot Docs Film Festival, Victoria Intl Film Festival and the Dawson City International Short Film Festival. She is an alumna of the Toronto Film Festival’s Talent Lab, the inaugural Tiff STUDIO Producers Program and holds a BFA in Theatre Performance and Film Studies from Concordia University, Montreal. In 2013, Michelle was selected by Playback Magazine as one of Canada’s Top Ten Filmmakers to Watch, and the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) recently named her among the “Great Canadian Filmmakers of the Future”. Michelle is of Métis/Algonquin descent and much of her work is dedicated to the pursuit of Indigenous rights and sovereignty.
She is co-author of a number of lectures and papers on the transformation of journalism, including co-editor of the book Journalism After Snowden (2017), ‘The Platform Press: How Silicon Valley Re-engineered Journalism’ with Taylor Owen (2017) and most recently, ‘Friend and Foe: The Platform Press at the Heart of Journalism’. Emily is a trustee on the board of the Scott Trust, the owners of The Guardian, and an adviser to Tamedia Group in Switzerland. She delivered the Reuters Memorial Lecture in 2014, the Hugh Cudlipp Lecture in 2015, and was the 2016 Humanitas Visiting Professor in Media at the University of Cambridge. She also gave the AN Smith Annual Lecture in Australia in 2017. Emily continues to write a regular column for the Guardian and Columbia Journalism Review, and is a contributor to the New York Times, CNN, the BBC and numerous other outlets.
In 2009, Harris created Digital Diaspora Family Reunion, LLC (DDFR), a socially engaged transmedia project that incorporates photo sharing, community organizing, performance, virtual gathering spaces, workshops and exhibitions into over 60 unique audio-visual events in over 50 cities. Working in partnership with museums, senior and youth centers, educational institutions, libraries, housing authorities and cultural arts spaces, DDFR creates linkages affirming our common humanity while privileging the voices of people whose stories have often been absented, marginalized or overlooked. The DDFR archive has grown to include more than 3,500 interviews and 30K+ photographs.
A graduate of Harvard College, the Whitney Independent Study Program, and the CPB/PBS Producers Academy, a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, and a published photographer, curator, and writer, Harris lectures widely on the use of media as a Tool for Social Change. He is on faculty at Yale University in African American and Film & Media Studies, where he is teaching courses titled “Family Narratives/Cultural Shifts” and “Archive Aesthetics and Community Storytelling”.
Thomas Allen Harris
Today, Sandra Rodriguez heads the Creative Reality Lab at EyeSteelFilm, an Emmy awarded company based in Montreal, where she explores virtual and extended reality experiences (Deprogrammed, Big Picture, MANIC VR, Chomsky vs Chomsky). Sandra has been honored to talk and offer Master Classes on Storytelling in Digital Media in high visibility events including: Cannes Film Festival, SXSW, Sundance New Frontier, IDFA, RIDM, Mutek, Sheffield Doc Fest, Singapore Film Festival, VR Anti-Manifesto (Montreal and Berlin), New Storytellers and more. She is also a Visiting Scholar at the MIT Open Documentary Lab, where she teaches MIT’s first course in VR and immersive media production, with the support of MIT CAST and Oculus NextGen (www.hackingvr.mit.edu).
paige is involved in other narrative-shifting work in Detroit as the co-creator of Black Bottom Archives (BBA). BBA is a community-driven media platform dedicated to centering and amplifying voices, experiences, and perspectives of Black Detroiters through journalism, art, and cultural organizing. The vision of BBA is to preserve local Black history & archive present realities in connection with others across the diaspora. paige manages outreach, content and development, along with coordinating BBA’s Advisory Board.
paige is completing the Master of Community Development program at University of Detroit Mercy, and is a member of Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100)’s Detroit chapter. They also sit on the Board of the James & Grace Lee Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership.
When they’re not out trying to change the world, paige is most likely binge-watching corny sitcoms, loving up on Black people, or traveling with their family
Atieno Nyar Kasagam
Dana’s expertise includes a diverse range of planning experience including comprehensive, land use, and project-based planning. Her passion for planning began while running Swan Bay Rediscovery Program, a cultural youth camp, where she observed the need for programs that connected youth, elders and language. This is a value that she brings forward into everyday work. Dana continues to support community programs working with elders and youth honoring tradition, language and protocol.
Dana was raised in Ladner and attended Kwantlen University College where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology). Recently, she completed the Northwest Canadian Aboriginal Management Program with the Peter B. Gustvason School of Business at UVIC.
After traveling extensively for several years, she returned to Haida Gwaii where she met her husband, and began a family. Through her travel experience Dana gained a love for languages and food and enjoys entertaining. She now resides in Skidegate, Haida Gwaii, with her husband and four children. They spend their free time with their extensive family food gathering, hunting and fishing.
In 2015 she did a commission for the façade of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. In 2013-2014, she presented a major solo exhibition at the Sculpture Center, New York. Her work has been also exhibited at Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2013), Witte de With, Rotterdam (2011), Moderna Museet (2014), MUMOK, Vienna (2009), Tate Modern, London (2006), The Kitchen, New York (2016), Grazer Kunstverein (2015), Bonner Kunstverein, Stroom Den Haag (2014) and Performa Biennial, New York (2013). In 2010 she co-represented Poland at the Venice Biennale of Architecture (with Aleksandra Wasilkowska). Her most recent exhibitions include commissions for Guggenheim Bilbao (2017), La Panacee, Montpelier and SFMOMA (2018) as well as solo shows at SCAD MoA and at the CCA in Tel Aviv (2017).
Kurant is currently an artist in residence at MIT CAST and holds a fellowship at the Smithsonian Institute.
Cindy Sherman Bishop
Yasmin directed the Emmy-nominated, award-winning original Scatter production Zero Days VR a documentary about cyber warfare and the Stuxnet virus, which made its World Premiere at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and was called “revolutionary” (VRScout) and “one of the most powerful VR documentaries” (Voices of VR). Yasmin co-directed Blackout: an immersive documentary inviting New Yorkers to share their stories in their own voice which premiered at Tribeca Film Festival 2017. She is the co-creator of 18DaysInEgypt, an interactive documentary about the Egyptian Revolution that was lauded as one the Moments of Innovation in Participatory Documentary. Upcoming projects include Changing Same a co-production with RADA Film group and is a magical-realist, afro-futurist time travel VR exploration into the cyclical history of racial injustice in America.
Yasmin’s body of work spans new media documentaries, immersive experiences, site-specific and large-scale installations. Yasmin’s work has won multiple awards and exhibited at various festivals including Sundance, Tribeca, SIGGRAPH, Festival de Cannes, and the World Economic Forum.
Where and When
Date + Time
Thursday, September 20th
5:00pm to 7:00pm
(with limited seating for the evening screening at 8:30pm)
Friday, September 21st
8:45am to 9:30pm
Saturday, September 22nd
8:45am to 3:00pm
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
MIT Bartos Theater
20 Ames Street Building E15
Cambridge, MA 02142
AWC Lab: Iyapo Repository. Photo by Ryan Michael White, Courtesy of Iyapo Repository
Who We Are
The Co-Creation Studio at MIT Open Documentary Lab 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. Co-Creation occurs within communities, across disciplines and sometimes involves algorithms. Co-Creation seeks to transform the systems that perpetuate inequality.
The MIT Open Documentary Lab studies and incubates new forms of documentary storytelling. The lab 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.
Image credits: Mirror Mask, Folk Memory Project, Priya’s Shakti
Collective Wisdom Field Study
COLLECTIVE WISDOM is also a field study that will be launched later in 2018.
For this report, we drew on our interviews and group discussions with over one hundred people, our collected databases of relevant literature and media projects, along with twenty years of our own personal fieldwork and production using co-creative documentary and journalism practices.