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Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Comparative Media Studies

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Comparative Media Studies was awarded $4,359,000 between 2005 and 2018, including 7 grants in Digital Media & Learning and Journalism & Media.


2018 • 3 years • Journalism & Media

The MIT Open Documentary Lab (the Lab), established in 2012, researches the uses, potential and implications of new technologies and methodologies in emerging forms of documentary and journalism. The Lab's research focuses on the ways in which new technologies enable new storytelling formats, as well as the practices through which documentary makers create stories in collaboration with the communities they are covering – a process known as co-creation. The Lab conducts research as well as project incubation to field-test and revise the results of that research, and dissemination via scholarly publications and its own newsletter, Immerse. The outcome of this work is that more nonfiction multimedia storytellers have access to resources, case studies, and best practices about how to use both new technologies and methods of co-creation in their work.


2016 • 11 months • Journalism & Media

The Open Documentary Lab (the Lab) at MIT is a research and practice center that studies and produces new forms of non-fiction storytelling and representation at the intersection of documentary, journalism, and technology, with the goal of exploring how emerging forms may foster greater awareness and empathy for different perspectives, and greater public participation in civic discourse and action. During 2016, the Lab will develop a proposal for the Co-Creation Documentary Incubator, through research and the convening of pilot workshops made up of teams of media-makers, community members, academics, and technologists that will experiment with participatory methods and new technologies to create stories that critique the status quo, seek meaning, and offer resolutions. The outcome will be a detailed proposal with case studies of how collaborative documentary storytelling can foster the building of solutions within communities.


2015 • 3 years • Journalism & Media

The Open Documentary Lab (the Lab) at MIT is a thought leader and field builder for the nascent community of artists, developers, funders, and researchers working to advance new forms of digital non-fiction storytelling. It was established in 2012 to examine, understand, and incubate the creation of and experimentation with changing documentary forms, and how those forms might contribute to - the timeless goal of documentary film - greater awareness and empathy for different perspectives and participation in civic discourse and action. MacArthur funding supports ongoing research on new and emerging forms of storytelling, a fellows and residency program that incubates new projects, and convenings that help to build the field and facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration. 


2014 • 1 year, 3 months • Journalism & Media

The MIT Open Documentary Lab (OpenDocLab) is an academic research group of the MIT Comparative Media Studies program. It brings together scholars, professors, filmmakers, journalists, technologists, and critics to share knowledge and practices about the changing world of nonfiction storytelling, by creating opportunities for dialogue and reflection. The MIT OpenDocLab will conduct a research project to map the current field of participatory digital interactive nonfiction storytelling, and assess the dynamics, potential, and impact of the models and methods of collaboration between emerging interactive documentary practices and contemporary journalism across media platforms.


2008 • 1 year • Digital Media & Learning

To develop and examine the value of professional development activities for learning environments that address media literacy.


2006 • 3 years • Digital Media & Learning

In support of the development and testing of a comprehensive media literacy curriculum and a national communications strategy to ensure widespread distribution (over three years).


2005 • 1 year • Digital Media & Learning

To develop a conceptual framework, website, and approach with models for achieving a new kind of digital media literacy among young people.

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