September 20 - 22, 2018

Co-Creating Media with Communities, across Disciplines and with Algorithms

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.

Image credit: Folk Memory Project

Event Info

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

Symposium Schedule

Location: MIT Bartos Theater (map)
20 Ames Street Building E15, Atrium level, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139

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

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.


Special feature film screening

With filmmakers in attendance. Limited seats available. Tickets here: Film Screening (password: wisdom // ticket type: guest)

Location: MIT Bartos Theater (map)
20 Ames Street Building E15, Atrium level, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139


Registration and Breakfast


Welcome and Introductions

Sarah Wolozin, Jay Pitter, Cara Mertes, Lauren Pabst


The Buzz. The Swarm. The History. Why CoCreation

William Uricchio

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

Katerina Cizek


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

Richard Lachman


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.





Ardith Walkem


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?






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


Testify! Performance

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.

Location: MIT Bartos Theater (map)
20 Ames Street Building E15, Atrium level, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139


Light Breakfast


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



Shirin Anlen


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


Closing Remarks

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.

Our Speakers


Jay Pitter, MES, is an award-nominated author and placemaker whose work has consistently resulted in co-creating more inclusive and vibrant cities. She has spearheaded large-scale, institutional, city-building processes—rooted in neighbourhood knowledge—that address growing divides in urban centres. Most recently, she collaborated with Westbank to increase community engagement in the Honest Ed’s redevelopment process; consulted on Edmonton’s new heritage plan; and led a professional development luncheon for women city-builders in Detroit. While Jay has worked on a diverse portfolio of initiatives, housing has evolved as a key focus. Advocating for dignified, safe, and affordable housing is not just a professional mission for Jay; it is personal.

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.

Jay Pitter


William Uricchio is founder and Principal Investigator of the MIT Open Documentary Lab and PI of the Co-Creation Studio. He is also Professor of Comparative Media Studies at MIT and Professor of Comparative Media History at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. His efforts as a documentary maker began in grammar school, and led to a short but formative professional career as an editor and director of social activism and anthropological documentaries. Uricchio’s academic career began in the classroom with Leo Hurwitz, Lewis Jacobs, Jay Leyda and George Stoney, and resulted in a dissertation on the ‘city film’ that focused on the early years of non-fiction film production, and particularly film’s relationship to other once ‘new’media such as photography, stereography, and panorama. Uricchio’s current research continues to consider the relationship between cultural notions of the real and emerging representational technologies in interactive media, immersive systems such as Virtual and Augmented Reality, and in recursive algorithmic story systems. He is the recipient of Guggenheim, Humboldt, and Fulbright awards, and the Berlin Prize, and has worked as visiting professor at the FU in Berlin, the University of Science and Technology of China, Stockholm University, and multiple universities in Denmark as DREAM professor.
William Uricchio


Kamal Sinclair serves as the Director of the Sundance Institute’s New Frontier Labs Program, which supports artists working at the convergence of film, art, media and technology; as a Consultant to the Ford Foundation's JustFilms program; and as artist and producer on the Question Bridge: Black Males art project. At New Frontier, she partners with Chief Curator, Shari Frilot, to development and platform landmark projects in the evolution of story. , including experimentations with VR, AR, and AI as storytelling mediums. At Ford Foundation’s JustFilms, she consults on trends in emerging media as a tool for social justice. At Question Bridge, she and her collaborators launched an interactive website and curriculum; published a book; exhibited in over fifty museums/festivals; won International Center for Photography’s 2015 Infinity Award for New Media; and was archived at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. Previously, Kamal was a Transmedia Producer at 42 Entertainment and worked on projects such as Legends of Alcatraz for J.J. Abrams, Mark of the Spider-Man and Random Acts of Fusion; and as Principal at Strategic Arts Consulting. Her career began as a cast member of the Off-Broadway hit STOMP.
Kamal Sinclair


Babitha George is a partner at Quicksand and anchors their Bangalore studio. Her prior work in education in India prompted her to actively think about the role of design thinking in impact contexts, leading her to steer several of Quicksand's social innovation projects. She is a management graduate from IIM Ahmedabad, prior to which she studied English, Journalism & Psychology. With this background, Babitha believes strongly in the strength of multi-disciplinary approaches.

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.

Babitha George


Fred Dust works with leaders and change agents to unlock the creative potential of business, government, educational, and philanthropic organizations. A partner at IDEO, the acclaimed international design firm, Fred is a leading voice and practitioner of human-centered design and networked innovation. Fred helps organizations in media, finance, retail, and health confront significant disruption stemming from shifts in consumer behavior, social trends, economic pressures, and new technology. He is driven to catalyze networks to create change, and is particularly invested in developing new structures that can leverage the increased overlap between public, private, and philanthropic sectors. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for, the New School, and NPR as well as on the Board of Trustees for the Sundance Institute. Prior to IDEO, Dust was a project architect at Fernau & Hartman and spent eight years working with independent artists and major art organizations.
Fred Dust


Jonathan May is a cross-disciplinary arts programmer and creative producer working across live, installation and digital contexts. From Tate’s Turbine Hall, to building-wide takeovers in the favelas of Bogota, to public artworks on São Paulo skyscrapers, Jonathan has worked with festivals, communities and cultural institutions across the world.

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.

Jonathan May


Katerina Cizek is a two-time Emmy-winning director, co-creator at the forefront of digital media. She is the Artistic Director and Executive Producer of a new initiative at the MIT Open Documentary Lab called Co-Creation Studio. Her work has documented the Digital Revolution, and has itself become part of the movement. At the National Film Board of Canada, she helped redefine the organization as one of the world’s leading digital content hubs with two major projects HIGHRISE, and the NFB Filmmaker-in-Residence (both with Producer Gerry Flahive). Cizek has forged unconventional, creative partnerships with diverse organizations ranging from an inner-city teaching hospital to Mozilla Foundation, to the City of Toronto, to more recently, The New York Times as well as leading YouTube stars. Her work has been recognized with 2 Emmys, a Peabody Award, 2 Webbies, amongst others.

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.

Katerina Cizek


Zhang Mengqi was born in 1987. She graduated from the Dance Academy of Minzu University of China in 2008. Since 2009, she has been a resident filmmaker and choreographer at Caochangdi Workstation in Beijing. A founding member of the Folk Memory Project, Mengqi has made eight feature-length documentaries filmed in her father’s village in Hebei Province, known as her “self-portrait series.” Her films have been selected by Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival, Cinéma du Réel, True/False Fest, Visions du Réel, and others.
Zhang Mengqi


Jason Edward Lewis is an artist and software designer. He co-directs the Initiative for Indigenous Futures, the Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace research network, and the Skins Workshops on Aboriginal Storytelling and Video Game Design. His research interests include computation as a creative material, emergent media theory and history, methodologies for conducting art-led technology research, and, recently, Indigenous epistemologies and their relationship to machine entities. Lewis' creative work has been featured at Ars Electronica, Mobilefest, Urban Screens, ISEA, SIGGRAPH, and FILE, among other venues, and has been recognized with the inaugural Robert Coover Award for Best Work of Electronic Literature, two Prix Ars Electronica Honourable Mentions, several imagineNATIVE Best New Media awards and seven solo exhibitions. He publishes and presents on mobile media, video game design, machinima, and experimental pedagogy with Indigenous communities. Lewis has worked in a range of industrial research settings, including Interval Research, US West's Advanced Technology Group, and the Institute for Research on Learning, and, at the turn of the century, he founded and ran a research studio for the venture capital firm Arts Alliance. Lewis is a former Trudeau Fellow and Carnegie Fellow, and he is presently Research Chair in Computational Media and the Indigenous Future Imaginary as well as Professor of Computation Arts at Concordia University, Montreal. Born and raised in northern California, he is Cherokee, Hawaiian and Samoan.
Jason Edward Lewis


Kristian Martiny is a Danish cognitive scientist specialized within philosophy, psychology and neuroscience, that works with an open, collaborative and citizen science approach to research. He finished his PhD in 2015 from University of Copenhagen, where he investigated aspects of agency and embodiment for people living with the congenital brain damage, cerebral palsy (CP). In his PhD project he engaged in co-creation processes with different artists to make a theater play about CP (Humane Liquidation), a documentary film about CP (Natural Disorder) and an art installation (Universe and You).

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


Sarah Wolozin is the founding director of MIT Open Documentary Lab. As director, she develops and oversees lab programs, conferences, projects, collaborations, and operations. She is the founder and editorial director of Docubase and co-founder and editor-at-large of Immerse. She co-authored a report entitled Mapping the Intersection of Two Cultures: Interactive Documentary and Digital Journalism and is a contributor to the lab's forthcoming white paper about co-creation .

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

Sarah Wolozin


Dedicated to connecting communities to each other and their changing environment, Julia Kumari Drapkin created ISeeChange in 2012 after over a decade reporting natural disasters and climate change science across the globe and in her own backyard on the Gulf Coast. She has worked as the Senior Science Reporter for The Nature Conservancy; a foreign correspondent and environmental radio reporter for PRI's The World and Global Post; as a photojournalist for the Associated Press in South Asia and the St. Petersburg Times; and a multimedia producer for the Times Picayune. She was a NSF Polar Science Fellow in 2009 and a Metcalf Environmental Reporting Fellow in 2007.

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


Adrian Richardson is a developing audio/visual artist who works on issues of community building in his local Brownsville, Brooklyn neighborhood. He is also a key member of the Fireflies of Brownsville docugame and the Brownsville Tech Lab. Driven by new experiences, Adrian believes we must create our own moments as a way to build creative solutions to our most pressing social issues. When not in the studio, Adrian is ‘just another’ free runner doing Parkour in NYC.

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.

Adrian Richardson


Amelia Winger-Bearskin is an artist/technologist who creates immersive experiences and develops communities for artists, entrepreneurs, and innovators working on the bleeding edge of technology. She is a Google VR JUMP Start creator, co-directing with Wendy Red Star a 360 video story about Native American Monsters which has won the 2018 McArthur/Sundance Institute award.

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.

Amelia Winger-Bearskin


Alicia M. Díaz is the Director and Executive Producer of Dangerous Times | Rebellious Responses a documentary which traces the 1980’s rise of the Sanctuary Movement in Detroit by following Latinx exiles and advocates who challenged both the US Government and the movement itself. Through present day immigration resistance being waged in Detroit by Latinx, African Diaspora and Middle Eastern activists, Dangerous Times questions whether Sanctuary is possible in an era of unbridled populism. A native Detroiter, Alicia is a first-time filmmaker and an Instructor at the Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies at Wayne State University, where she strives to facilitate de-colonized learning spaces in which Latinidad is central to the American story. Together with Co-Producers Consuela López and Karen Cárdenas, she is committed to the proposition that Latinx stories are Detroit stories.
Alicia M. Díaz


Ardith (Walpetko We’dalx) Walkem is a member of the Nlaka’pamux Nation who has practiced in the areas of Indigenous law since she was called to the Bar in 1996. Her work in life, and in dreaming the Testify project, is based on the belief that Indigenous laws – and many art forms – are participatory – they are made and remade through engagement – they are alive, our laws are alive, they are in a process of constant creation moving forward. We have obligations to ourselves, and to our shared world, to find a new way of moving forward.

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


Assia Boundaoui is an Algerian-American filmmaker, writer and journalist. She has reported for PRI, BBC, AlJazeera, VICE, CNN and has worked on the research and production of a number of documentary films including HBO's MANHUNT (2013), the recipient of news-time Emmy award. Her debut short film about Hijabi hair salons for the HBO documentary film series LENNY, premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Her feature-length directorial debut, THE FEELING OF BEING WATCHED a documentary investigating a decade of FBI surveillance in Assia's Muslim-American community, had its world premiere at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival and received the Audience Award for Best Feature Documentary at the 2018 BlackStar Film Festival. Her work has been the recipient of support from the Ford Foundation JustFilms, International Documentary Association, San Francisco Film Society, Impact Partners and Firelight Media among others. Assia is currently a New America National Fellow and a fellow with the Co-Creation Studio at the MIT Open Documentary Lab, where she is iterating a hybrid-documentary work: the Inverse Surveillance Project. She has an M.A. in journalism from New York University and is an Algiers born, Arabic speaking, Chicago-native, currently based in Los Angeles.
Assia Boundaoui


Blake Fitzpatrick holds the position of Professor and Chair, School of Image Arts, Ryerson University and he is the Co-Director of the Documentary Media Research Centre at Ryerson. Fitzpatrick has exhibited his photo-based work in solo and group exhibitions in Canada, the United States and Europe, including exhibitions at the Canadian Embassy in Berlin and recent group exhibitions with the Atomic Photographers Guild in Australia, Switzerland and the United States. Freedom Rocks: The Everyday Life of the Berlin Wall, a long-term collaborative project he has produced with artist Vid Ingelevics was exhibited at the Goethe-Institut in Los Angeles with excerpted portfolios published in the journals Prefix Photo, Public and Ciel Variable. Recent iterations of the project include exhibitions at Prefix ICA and Harbourfront Centre (2017). His writing and visual work have appeared in the journals Public, Topia, History of Photography, Fuse, Ciel Variable, POV, RACAR, and Prefix.
Blake Fitzpatrick


Bree Gant is an artist and documentarian from Detroit exploring Black aesthetics, ritual, and emergence. Since graduating from Howard University in 2011 with a BA in Film, Gant has traveled as a fashion and portrait photographer, worked as a Teaching Artist, and exhibited around the country. She is currently directing an experimental docufiction short film about dance and care for Black femmes.
Bree Gant


Brett Story is a geographer and non-fiction filmmaker based out of Toronto, where she works as an Assistant Professor of Image Arts at Ryerson University. Her films have screened at True/False, Oberhausen, Hot Docs, the Viennale, and Dok Leipzig, among other festivals. Her second feature documentary, The Prison in Twelve Landscapes (2016) was awarded the Special Jury Prize for Canadian Feature Documentary at Hot Docs and was a nominee for a 2016 Canadian Screen Award. The film was broadcast on PBS's Independent Lens in 2017. Brett holds a PhD in geography from the University of Toronto, and her book, Prison Land: Mapping Carceral Power Across Neoliberal America, will be published by the University of Minnesota Press in 2019. Brett was a 2016 Sundance Institute Art of Nonfiction Fellow, and is currently a 2018 Guggenheim Fellow in film and video. She is completing her third feature documentary, The Hottest August.
Brett Story


Cheryl Gall produces events for OpenDocLab. She has also been a producer of Artists in Residence in MIT’s Office of the Arts. Before coming to MIT, she produced documentaries for PBS and has worked with NOVA, MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour, and American Experience. She received a BA in Comparative Literature from Yale University.
Cheryl Gall


Chi-hui Yang is a curator based in New York. He is currently Program Officer for Ford Foundation’s JustFilms initiative, a global effort that supports non-fiction filmmakers and organizations whose work addresses the most urgent social issues of our time. As a curator, he has presented programs such as: MoMA’s Documentary Fortnight, “Lines and Nodes: Media, Infrastructure, and Aesthetics” (2014, Anthology Film Archives) and “The Age of Migration” (2008, Flaherty Film Seminar). From 2000-2010 he was director of the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival. Yang is also an instructor at Brooklyn’s UnionDocs and has served as an adjunct professor at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and Hunter College. He earned a master’s degree in film studies from San Francisco State University and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Stanford University.
Chi-hui Yang


Ethan Zuckerman is Director of the Center for Civic Media and Associate Professor of the Practice, MIT Media Lab. Ethan is also cofounder of the citizen media community, Global Voices. Prior to MIT, Ethan worked with the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University on projects focused on civic media, freedom of speech online, and understanding media ecosystems. He led a team focused on Media Cloud, a project that builds an archive of news stories and blog posts in order to apply language processing and present ways to analyze and visualize the resulting data. Zuckerman also founded Geekcorp, a non-profit technology volunteer corps that has done work in over a dozen countries, and helped to found Tripod, an early participatory media company.
Ethan Zuckerman


Willie Orlando Ford was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. He has been working in video production since the late 90's, freelancing for CBS, NBC, NFL Network, and the Discovery Channel. He now concentrates his focus on telling more personal, in-depth stories that the larger networks don't take the time to tell. He tells stories to uplift his city and his community.
Willie Orlando Ford


Gina Czarneckis’ work sits at the intersection of art, design, technology and science and is realised in a diverse and often unconventional range of media, including video, drawing, installations, sculpture, participatory and site specific works. I often work in collaboration with musicians, programmers and scientists, at times forming large interdisciplinary groups of specialists converging to create these art works.

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).

Gina Czarnecki


Halie (Kwanxwa’logwa) Bruce is a member of the Namgis/Kwa’kwa’kawakw Nation who was called to the Bar in 2008. Her practice areas include Aboriginal law, family law, child welfare, fisheries law, Indigenous laws and governance, and Aboriginal business law. She has devoted part of her practice to restorative justice, including writing Gladue Reports for bail, sentencing and appeal courts in BC.
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.
Halie Bruce


Henry Navarro is an interdisciplinary fashion designer, artist, and educator focused on the convergence of fashion, visual culture, and social activism through both theory and practice-based research. Born and educated in Cuba, his creative and academic pursues has taken him to different countries of North America, Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean. Currently based in Toronto, Canada, Navarro is known for his collaborative fashion-based public art projects exploring topics relevant to different communities through their direct participation. A member of the Faculty of Communication, Arts and Design at Ryerson University, he draws from his artistic and academic background to inspire diverse students and audiences around the world.
Henry Navarro


Cara Mertes is Director of JustFilms at Ford Foundation, supporting socially engaged independent films and emerging media, strengthening organizations and networks for independent moving image content, and cultivating new resources and inclusive talent pipelines.

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.

Cara Mertes


Dr. Jayne Engle leads the McConnell Foundation's Cities initiatives. She has sought to catalyze change through participatory city planning and policy innovation in diverse settings -- from economic transition in Eastern Europe, to urban development and collaborative governance in the US, UK and Canada, to participatory community research in Haiti. She is passionate about bridging innovative local action with systems and structural change, particularly in ways that foster freedom and flourishing of people. She is adjunct professor at McGill University School of Urban Planning, and on many boards including Participatory City Global Advisory, Beyond Borders, and Intelligent Communities Forum jury.
Jayne Engle


Jessica Clark is the founder and director of Dot Connector Studio—a strategy and production firm that works with makers, funders and academics to research and develop new forms of social impact media. Current and recent clients include Media Impact Funders, the Ford Foundation, the Wikimedia Foundation, the Internet Archive, Knight Foundation, Democracy Fund and others. She is also the editor of, a publication exploring nonfiction storytelling on emerging platforms. Currently a research affiliate at MIT's Open Doc Lab, and previously a fellow at USC Annenberg's Norman Lear Center and the New America Foundation, Clark has been making and analyzing media for the past two decades.
Jessica Clark


Jonathan Frantz is a producer and director of photography working with Igloolik-based Kingulliit Productions. He moved to Igloolik, Nunavut with his family in 2012 and has been an active member of the Isuma team ever since. Jonathan is being mentored by Isuma founders Zacharias Kunuk and Norman Cohn, and studying their style of film production. Isuma is best known for having produced such award-winning films as Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner (2001), and The Journals of Knud Rassmussen (2006). Jonathan has a background in community planning, where he uses video and multi-media to support community development. Jonathan produces independent community-based media in ways that support local economic development, retain cultural integrity, and entertain audiences. He is an alumni and current adjunct professor at the UBC School of Community and Regional Planning.

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.

Jon Frantz


Julie Taylor is the Deputy Director at the Brownsville Community Justice Center where she focuses on community violence prevention, innovative youth programs, and criminal justice initiatives. Ms. Taylor received her MSW from Hunter College and has a background in community based social work, youth development, and community organizing. She has been working with youth and communities for 10 years.
Julie Taylor


Kate McKenzie is a digital media producer, author, educator and professional speaker. As the founder of Worldviews Productions and a Studio Manager at Ryerson University’s Transmedia Zone, Kate focuses on sharing stories of innovation from individuals who have courage in the face of difficulty. Her research centres around constructive journalism using a co-creation approach. She is currently directing and producing a documentary film about the first group of women to run a marathon in Afghanistan called “The Secret Marathon.”
Kathryn McKenzie


Lauren Pabst is a Senior Program Officer in the Journalism and Media program at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, which works to support nonprofit, public interest journalism, nonfiction multimedia, and participatory civic media in the U.S. Prior to joining the MacArthur Foundation in 2012, Lauren worked in the documentary field with the Rada Film Group, Black Public Media, and Public Policy Productions.
Lauren Pabst


Leonie Sandercock joined the UBC School of Community & Regional Planning in July 2001 after teaching at Macquarie University in Sydney, the University of California in Los Angeles, and the University of Melbourne. Her main interest is in working with First Nations, through collaborative community planning, using the medium of film as a catalyst for dialogue, healing, community development and cultural revitalization. Her current project is a community-driven feature film in partnership with the Haida Nation and Isuma, an Inuit film production company. Other research interests include the importance of stories and storytelling in planning theory and practice; and the role of multimedia in planning.
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.
Leonie Sandercock


Mandy Rose researches the politics and poetics of emerging documentary forms. She is an associate professor in UWE Bristol’s School of Film & Journalism, director of the Digital Cultures Research Centre and co-convenor of the i-Docs Symposium. Mandy is UWE lead in the Pervasive Media Studio management team.

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).

Mandy Rose


Dr. Marc Ruppel is a Senior Program Officer at the National Endowment for the Humanities, Division of Public Programs. He leads the Digital Projects for the Public grant line, with a portfolio that includes the 2017 G4C Game of the Year, "Walden, a game." Marc has worked on several experiential learning projects, including the Tribeca-funded Robot Heart Stories. He holds a Ph.D. in Digital Studies from the University of Maryland College Park, and has written about digital practices in journals such as The International Journal of Learning and Media and Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies.
Marc Ruppel


Mariel Belanger is dedicated to contributing in the growth of interdisciplinary arts as a method to engage Indigenous community, language, culture and act as a bridge to society telling stories of our time. She is a graduate of the Enowkin Centre’s NAPAT program and is a SSHRC, UBCO Aboriginal Fellowship, and Indian Brotherhood scholarship recipient. Mariel recently was awarded Outstanding Indigenous Graduate Student at the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry held in Champaigne-Urbana at the University of Illinois as well was nominated to the Canadian Association of Theatre Research board as graduate board member. As artist scholar, her research is about Identity through the lens of Indigenous Ways of Knowing and Being, Customary Law, Indigenous Feminism and Performance Theory, exploring how cultural identity is rebuilt through oral history and performance practice.
Mariel Belanger


Nicholas Pilarski works to create art that facilitates dialogue through documentary. Nicholas’s work has screened both nationally and internationally, including with the New York Times, MoMa, DOK Leipzig, Chicago International Film Festival, among others. He was recently named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film. Informing his creative work, Nicholas is a practitioner in Theatre of the Oppressed, has both written and given masterclasses on his theory of practice, and frequently delivers lectures on computational media and film theory. He is the Director of Art of Peoples Culture, an arts collaborative in Chicago and New York, and Assistant Professor in Digital Media at Carthage College.
Nicholas Pilarski


Odette Scott is a documentary filmmaker active in the US and China. Since 2007, she has been a member of CCD Workstation, a collective of independent filmmakers in Beijing, China. She has coordinated film screenings and festivals, and distributed, translated, and represented Chinese independent documentaries in writing and in person at universities, film festivals, and conferences. For Odette, filmmaking is a tool to explore memory, identity, history, and relationships.
Odette Scott


Opeyemi Olukemi is Executive Producer of POV Spark—the innovation arm of the iconic independent nonfiction film program POV—and Vice President of American Documentary’s Interactive unit.
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.
Opeyemi Olukemi


Rashin Fahandej is an Iranian-American artist and independent filmmaker. Her work centers on personal histories, marginalized voices, and the role of media, technology and public collaboration in generating social change. Fahandej’s ongoing project, Marginalia, is a series of poetic feature documentaries exploring the life of U.S. immigrants from persecuted minorities of Iran. Her films draw millions of Persian speaking viewers, igniting conversations around tabooed subjects such as Baha’i minorities. She has served as an artistic director for the award-winning project, Rebuilding the Gwozdziec Synagogue in Poland. As Boston Artists-In-Residence with Mayor’s office of art and culture Fahandej created IN-SIGHT Boston, a community collaborative project exploring youth violence, access, and equality.
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.
Rashin Fahandej


Ray Graham is a rising social advocate who focuses on creating new and innovative ways to ease tension between community and police in his neighborhood. A Brownsville, Brooklyn native, he is motivated to create dialog as a way to address issues of violence. Ray is one of the primary developers and chief game designers for Fireflies of Brownsville and an integral part in the Brownsville Tech Lab.
Ray Graham


Dr. Richard Lachman directs Zone Learning for Ryerson University, Research Development for the Faculty of Communication and Design, and the Experiential Media Institute. He is an Associate Professor, Digital Media in the RTA School of Media. Lachman’s 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.
Richard Lachman


Richard Ray Perez oversees a portfolio of Sundance Institute strategic partnerships focused on the convergence of nonfiction filmmaking, innovative thought leadership, and themes vital to contemporary societies. These initiatives include Stories of Change, a Sundance Institute partnership with the Skoll Foundation that harnesses the power of storytelling to advance the work of leading social entrepreneurs. Mr. Perez is also a senior reviewer for the Sundance Documentary Film Fund; frequently participates as a speaker, panelist and moderator at domestic and international events focusing on non-fiction filmmaking; leads workshops on documentary storytelling; and nurtures filmmakers throughout the world, including artists traditionally underrepresented in the field of non-fiction cinema.

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


Salome Asega is an artist and researcher based in New York. She is the Technology Fellow in the Ford Foundation's Creativity and Free Expression program area, and a director of POWRPLNT, a digital art collaboratory in Bushwick. Salome has participated in residencies and fellowships with Eyebeam, New Museum, The Laundromat Project, and Recess Art. She has exhibited and given presentations at the 11th Shanghai Biennale, Performa, EYEO, and the Brooklyn Museum.Salome received her MFA from Parsons at The New School in Design and Technology where she also teaches.
Salome Asega


After spending her early work life in corporate finance in New York, Sandy Herz has spent the majority of her career exploring the intersection of storytelling and social change, conceptualizing and building a portfolio of storytelling partnerships for the Skoll Foundation that span the best of independent film, journalism, and publishing. Through flagship partnerships with Sundance, DocSociety, BBC, National Public Radio, PBS NewsHour, and HarperOne, Sandy seeks out world-class storytellers and platforms to create broader awareness of, engagement with, and impact from the work of leading social entrepreneurs. Through these collaborations, she has developed deep expertise in both storytelling strategy and effective collaboration. Numerous projects have emerged from these collaborations, including the Oscar-nominated documentary Open Heart and the Emmy award winning virtual reality documentary Collisions, both of which achieved notoriety for their impact on the issues of global health and nuclear non-proliferation, respectively.
Sandy Herz


Sarah M. Bassett is an urban thinker, artist, and producer whose work focuses on the intersectionality between art and representation, public perceptions of community, and space. She has worked on creative projects that have screened in internationally recognized venues and festivals, including the New York Times and has shown her work in community-based forums. Integral to her practice is a background as an urban strategist, having contributed to policy and projects focused on civic empowerment. Sarah is recognized for her work on issues related to spatial justice, including during her tenure as a U.S. Fulbright Scholar. She is also the Director of Peoples Culture, an arts collaborative in Chicago and New York.
Sarah M. Bassett


Carlos Martinez de la Serna is the Program Director at the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), where he manages six regional teams investigating press freedom violations globally, and advocating on behalf of journalists and press freedom. With a background in design and journalism, he has worked in the U.S., Spain, and Japan. He is a co-founder of the nonprofit organization porCausa, and a former fellow at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, and the John S. Knight Fellowship at Stanford University.
Carlos Martinez de la Serna


Michelle Latimer is the showrunner, director, and writer of the breakout Indigenous resistance series RISE (Viceland), which premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival (Indie Episodic Program) and won the 2018 Canadian Screen Award for Best Documentary Series. Her latest film Nuuca (executive produced by Laura Poitras) premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival, screened at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and in competition at the 2018 Berlinale Film Festival.

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.

Michelle Latimer


Emily Bell is founding director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia Journalism School and a leading thinker and strategist on digital journalism. Established in 2010, the Tow Center has built an international reputation for research into the intersection of technology and journalism. The majority of Bell’s career was spent at Guardian News and Media in London as an award winning writer and editor both in print and online. As editor-in-chief across Guardian websites and director of digital content for Guardian News and Media, Bell led the web team in pioneering live blogging, podcasting, multimedia formats, data and social media.

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.

Emily Bell


Thomas Allen Harris is a critically acclaimed, interdisciplinary artist who explores family, identity, and spirituality in a participatory practice. Since 1990, Harris has remixed archives from multiple origins throughout his work, challenging hierarchy within historical narratives through the use of pioneering documentary and research methodologies that center the vernacular image and collaboration. He is currently working on a new Public Television series, Family Pictures USA, which looks at neighborhoods and cities through the lens of family photographs, collaborative performances, and personal testimony sourced from their communities.

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


Sasha Costanza-Chock (pronouns: they/them or she/her) is a scholar, activist, and media-maker, and currently Associate Professor of Civic Media at MIT. They are a Faculty Associate at the Berkman-Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, Faculty Affiliate with the MIT Open Documentary Lab and the MIT Center for Civic Media, and creator of the MIT Codesign Studio ( Their work focuses on social movements, transformative media organizing, and design justice. Sasha’s first book, Out of the Shadows, Into the Streets: Transmedia Organizing and the Immigrant Rights Movement was published by the MIT Press in 2014. They are a board member of Allied Media Projects (AMP); AMP convenes the annual Allied Media Conference and cultivates media strategies for a more just, creative and collaborative world (
Sasha Costanza-Chock


Shirin Anlen is a narrative technologist. Her work combines storytelling, interaction design and immersive technology to explore social structures and human emotions. Shirin is a research fellow at MIT Open Documentary Lab, a co-founder of Raycaster an experience design studio, incubated at NEW INC and the other half of Volume, a machine learning tool for storytellers under development. Her work has exhibited internationally including IDFA DocLab, Next Festival de Cannes, and SIGGRAPH.
Shirin Anlen


Sandra Rodriguez, PhD is a creative director and a sociologist of new media technologies. For over 16 years, she writes and directs award-winning documentaries broadcasted internationally, before pushing creation in the interactive realm. Exploring new forms of non-fiction, she directs VR projects, works as a UX consultant and acts as VR/AR mentor for public media and hackathons. In 2015, she is an author and episode director on the acclaimed webseries Do Not Track (Upian, NFB, ARTE, BR, Peabody 2015) and has since moved to explore immersive media.

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 (

Sandra Rodriguez


In their role as Associate Director of Detroit Narrative Agency (DNA), paige watkins co-leads the process of supporting DNA cohort members to develop moving-image projects and impact strategies. They coordinate program logistics and collaborate to optimize opportunities for cohort projects and grow Detroit’s narrative-shifting ecosystem. Paige’s involvement with DNA began as an Advisory Team member during the Seed Grant process in DNA’s first year, where they helped to develop the grant, facilitate community conversations, and support the review process.

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

paige watkins


ill Weaver is a founding director of Detroit Narrative Agency. In addition to their work with DNA they are an artist and organizer who co-founded Emergence Media, Complex Movements, Detroit Future Youth, and coordinated Detroit Summer for over a decade. Their artistic work has been recognized by awards and fellowships including: Sundance Knight Fellows (2016), United States Artists (2015), Kresge Arts in Detroit (2010), and the Ellen Stone Belic Institute for Women and Gender in the Arts and Media (2009).
ill Weaver


Atieno Nyar Kasagam is the director of Sidelots film, her first film, supported by the Detroit Narrative Agency. She is an Afrofuturist, whose mission is to bend and extend the edges of reality, to make space for deep liberation and joy for black people. She conjures new worlds with her words. She sees Wakanda on sidelots in Detroit. She journeys back and forth through time, through the lands of the living and the lands of the dead, on the back of her favorite black hood cat, ‘Eartha Kitt', trailed with an entourage of 10 kittens, 4 chickens, 6 ducks, 2 ducklings, and a gang of psychedelic starlings. She hoes the land for livelihood and moonlights as a chef, hoodwitch, and facebook griot.
Atieno Nyar Kasagam


Ahya Simone is a Detroit-based harpist, singer, and artist. She earned her degree from Wayne State where she was the principal harpist for the Wayne State University Wind Symphony in 2011. She has performed extensively in Detroit, nationally and internationally. Collaborating with worldwide known artists like Tunde Olaniran, Flint Eastwood, Juliana Huxtable and Kelela, her versatile approach to harp and vocals ranges from classical, experimental, electronic, R&B, and soul. She is also an emerging filmmaker (Detroit Narrative Agency, Knight Sundance Fellow 2018, and Kresge Artist Award Fellowship) - developing a web-series, Femme Queen Chronicles, along with Trans Sistas of Color Project- Detroit.
Ahya Simone


Sarah Schwettmann is a computational neuroscientist interested in creativity underlying the human relationship to world: from the brain’s fundamentally constructive role in sensory perception to the explicit creation of experiential worlds in art. She conducts research on Intuitive Physics in MIT’s Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, where she is working toward her PhD as an NSF Graduate Research Fellow. She developed MIT’s first course on Vision in Art and Neuroscience, which she co-teaches at the MIT Museum Studio. Previously, Sarah was a member of the Eagleman Laboratory for Perception and Action at Baylor College of Medicine and the Shouval Lab for Theoretical Neuroscience at UT Health Science Center Houston. In the arts, Sarah uses her background in computation to create installations that explore structure underlying creativity and its translation between humans and machines. Her work has been exhibited at FiftyThree in New York and at OPEN Gallery in Boston. Sarah received BAs in Computational and Applied Mathematics and Cognitive Science from Rice University, where she was a Trustee Distinguished Scholar, Century Scholar, and taught courses on Engineering Computation and Women Leaders in STEM.
Sarah Schwettmann


G̱id uuwans, Dana Moraes, belongs to the Ts’aahl Haida Eagle Clan of Kaay Llaanas and is of Haida and Musqueam descent. She has been employed by the Skidegate Band Council for the past 5 years as a Community Planner. During this time Dana also worked as a Casting Director, Production Manager, 2nd Assistant Director and now a Screening Coordinator for the film Edge of the Knife. She is also employed as a proposal writer and more recently as the Executive Director for Gwaalagaa Naay Corporation (Economic arm of the Skidegate Band Council). For the past four years Dana has also proudly been part of Indigenous and Northern Affairs’ Mentorship Initiative and welcomes opportunities to present, facilitate and share knowledge of her communities planning experience, nation to nation.

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.

Dana Moraes


Agnieszka Kurant is an interdisciplinary conceptual artist who examines how complex social, economic and cultural systems can operate in ways that confuse distinctions between fiction and reality or nature and culture. Her work investigates “the economy of the invisible,” in which immaterial and imaginary entities, fictions, phantoms and emergent processes influence political and economic systems. Collaborating with professionals from various fields (biologists, anthropologists, cartographers, economists, computer engineers and roboticists) Kurant probes the speculations and exploits of capitalism by analyzing phenomena such as collective intelligence, emergence, virtual capital, immaterial and digital labor, Artificial Intelligence, crowdsourcing, evolution of memes, civilizations and social movements, artificial societies and energy circuits. Many of her works emulate nature and behave like living organisms, self-organized complex systems or bachelor machines.

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.

Agnieszka Kurant


Michael Premo is an artist, journalist and filmmaker. He is co-founder and Executive Producer at Storyline, a production company building power with story and strategy. Michael has created original film, theater, radio, and museum installations with numerous companies including Hip-Hop Theater Festival, The Foundry Theater, The Civilians, and the Peabody Award-winning StoryCorps. Michael's photography has appeared in publications like The Village Voice, and The New York Times, among others. Recent projects with Storyline include the multi-platform project 28th Amendment: Housing is a Human Right, the participatory documentary Sandy Storyline, and award-winning short film and exhibit Water Warriors. He consults on participatory documentary processes, impact strategy, and civic engagement through Storyline and the Interaction Institute for Social Change. A recent highlight of that work includes working as an impact producer for the film This Changes Everything by Avi Lewis and Naomi Klein, and helping facilitate a collaborative process for community stakeholders in the South Bronx to advise the New York City Mayor’s Office, city agencies, and The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on the allocation of $45 million Post Hurricane Recovery and Resiliency aid. He is on the Board of Trustees of A Blade of Grass and The Center for Story-based Strategy.
Michael Premo


Cindy Sherman Bishop is an innovative multimedia artist and creative coder. She has created interactive installations for galleries and museums, as well as software for enterprise applications. Strongly center to the left and right brain, she looks for ways to pull the nuances of analog creation into the digital world. With her fellowship at the MIT Open Doc lab, and her work at Center for Civic Media, she creates both tools and provocations regarding creative civic technology, virtual and augmented reality and artificial intelligence. Primary tools & projects: VRDoodler, MediaCloud, creative civic AR Workshops. Primary provocations: AR Protests, "Natural Networks."
Cindy Sherman Bishop


Sheila Leddy is the Executive Director of the Fledgling Fund, a small private foundation driven by the belief that powerful visual stories can spur action around issues that affect the most vulnerable. Through its grant programs, labs and special initiatives it explores, supports, and deepens the role of documentary film and other forms of visual storytelling in larger social change efforts. Sheila has worked with the fund since its founding, where she's been integral to the development of the organization's overall strategy, collaborating with President and Founder Diana Barrett and the board of directors. She continues to play a leadership role shaping Fledgling’s strategy, operations, grantmaking and other initiatives. In addition to her work with Fledgling, she serves on the executive board of the Milton Foundation for Education and lives just outside of Boston with her husband and three children.
Sheila Leddy


Yasmin Elayat is an artist and immersive media director whose work pushes the boundaries of immersive narrative and participatory experiences where storytelling and technology collide. Yasmin is Co-Founder at Scatter, an award-winning immersive entertainment and software company, where she heads content, production and marketing initiatives. Scatter is recognized for pioneering the emerging language of Volumetric Filmmaking through its original volumetric film productions and its AR/VR creativity tools. Scatter’s first product Depthkit is the most widely used toolkit for accessible volumetric video capture.

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.

Yasmin Elayat
Where and When

Date + Time

Day 1: 
Thursday, September 20th
5:00pm to 7:00pm

(with limited seating for the evening screening at 8:30pm)

Day 2:
Friday, September 21st
8:45am to 9:30pm

Day 3:
Saturday, September 22nd
8:45am to 3:00pm


Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MIT Bartos Theater
20 Ames Street Building E15
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States

AWC Lab: Iyapo Repository. Photo by Ryan Michael White, Courtesy of Iyapo Repository
Who We Are

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.

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.

Image credit: Untitled Racial Terror Project