Collective Wisdom text on blue background with people images.

New Works in Progress Available: Collective Wisdom from the Co-Creation Studio at MIT Open Documentary Lab

Why co-create and why now?

The MIT Press is delighted to partner with the MIT Open Documentary Lab’s Co-Creation Studio, a new initiative that incubates and researches alternatives to singular authorship in art, journalism, and documentary, with a focus on emergent technologies, to make Collective Wisdom: Co-Creating within Communities, across Disciplines and with Algorithms openly available on the PubPub platform.

Collective Wisdom is a first-of-its-kind field study of the media industry that highlights trends, opportunities, and challenges to help advance the understanding and recognition of co-created works and practices—efforts that function outside the limits of singular authorship. Now openly available for community comment and review via the Works in Progress initiative at the MIT Press, the report is a masterful  example of co-creation in and of itself, authored by Katerina Cizek and William Uricchio, with coauthors Juanita Anderson, Maria Aqui Carter, Detroit Narrative Agency, Thomas Allen Harris, Maori Holmes, Richard Lachmann, Louis Massiah, Cara Mertes, Sara Rafsky, Michèle Stephenson, Amelia Winger-Bearskin, and Sarah Wolozin.

While the concept of co-creation is entering the zeitgeist, it is an ancient and under-reported dynamic. Media co-creation has particular relevance in the face of today’s myriad of challenges, such as the climate crisis and threats to democracy. But it is not without risks and complications. In this study the authors draw on conversations with 166 practitioners, thought leaders and scholars to look at how people co-create within communities; across disciplines; and increasingly, with living systems and artificial intelligence (AI). The report also synthesizes the risks, as well as the practical lessons from the field on how to co-create with an ethos grounded in principles of equity and justice. This qualitative study reframes how culture is produced, and is a first step in articulating contemporary co-creative practices and ethics. In doing so, it connects unusual dots.

The MIT Press supports greater transparency in the revision and review process as well as the open access to new ideas by readers, researches, and other interested audiences. Works in Progress (WiP) are written works in early stages of development that are posted to the PubPub platform for open review. WiP are vetted by the Press, then posted on PubPub for open discussion. Comments are moderated by the author(s) and facilitated by Press staff. This program provides authors the benefit of community feedback in the development of their ideas, as well as the ability to publish a version of their work before more formal publication.

Collective Wisdom is now available online as an interactive report on the PubPub platform. Readers are invited to dive into the research findings and contribute their knowledge to dynamic community discussion.

Funding and other support for this work was provided by JustFilms/Ford Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Ryerson University, and The Fledgling Fund.