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Collective Wisdom: Co-Creating Media for Equity and Justice (Book)

by Katerina Cizek & William Uricchio
How to co-create—and why: the emergence of media co-creation as a concept and as a practice grounded in equity and justice.
2022  ·  
About the Film

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

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

Upcoming Screenings

Stay tuned for upcoming screenings!

About the Director

Katerina Cizek

Katerina Cizek is an influential figure in international media, with over 25 years of experience as a Peabody- and Emmy-winning documentarian, author, producer, and senior leader working with collective processes and emergent technologies.

She is the co-founder, research scientist, and artistic director of the Co-Creation Studio at MIT Open Documentary Lab. She co-wrote the world’s first comprehensive book on co-creating media, Collective Wisdom, published by MIT Press in 2022. At the studio, she designs and leads innovative incubators, workshops, research projects, delegations, and fellowships fusing art, documentary, and journalism with emergent tech and science.

For over a decade, Cizek worked as a documentary director at the National Film Board of Canada, transforming the organization into a world leader of  digital storytelling with the projects HIGHRISE and Filmmaker-in-Residence. Founded on both community-based and global partnerships, these two long-form digital projects garnered international awards and critical acclaim. Cizek’s earlier human-rights documentary film projects — on subjects ranging from the handycam media revolution to people smuggling and the Rwandan genocide —  instigated criminal investigations, changed United Nations policies, and screened as evidence at an International Criminal Tribunal, as well as on television and at festivals around the world.

Currently, Cizek serves on multiple boards, including the inaugural Interactive Board of Jurors for the Peabody Awards, the inaugural Interdisciplinary Advisory Board at the Royal Shakespeare Company in the UK, as well as the AKO Storytelling Institute at the University of the Arts London. She is a mentor for the fellows progam at NEW INC in New York City. She has advised many media labs, including Sundance, ESoDOC (Italy), and CPH:LAB (Denmark). She is the Executive Producer for Assia Boundaoui’s 2022 Inverse Surveillance Project. Cizek was as a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Toronto Metropolitan University and, prior to that, a Visiting Artist at MIT. She is a proud member of the Directors’ Guild of Canada. As a frequent keynote speaker, panelist, and moderator, she advises on, designs, and facilitates programs around the world.


William Uricchio

William Uricchio (PhD NYU) is professor of Comparative Media Studies at MIT and professor of comparative media history at Utrecht University.  He has held visiting professorships at Stockholm University, the Freie Universität Berlin, the University of Science and Technology of China, Philips Universität Marburg and Georg-August Universität Göttingen; and Guggenheim, Fulbright and Humboldt fellowships and the Berlin Prize have supported his research. At MIT, Uricchio is principal investigator of the  MIT Open Documentary Lab. His scholarly research considers the interplay of media technologies and cultural practices in relation to the (re-) construction of representation, knowledge and publics. In part, he researches and develops new histories of ‘old’ media when they were new (early photography, telephony, film, broadcasting, and today’s ‘new’ media). And in part, he investigates media cultures and their audiences through research into such areas as peer-to-peer communities and cultural citizenship, media and cultural identity, and historical representation. He is currently completing a manuscript on the concept of the televisual from the 17th century to the present and a manuscript on the cultural work of algorithms.