Watch “Creativity and Collaboration in the Digital Age” panel at MIT Comparative Media Studies
In a panel moderated by James Paradis, five former Comparative Media Studies (CMS) students discuss their personal experiences within the CMS program and the impact it has had on their understanding, interpretation, and implementation of creativity in the digital age.
Creativity may be perceived, traditionally, as the “artist or thinker or maker of things in solitude bringing forth what has before not had form. “ Nevertheless, creativity in the digital age—the age of the Internet—requires us to reconsider its boundaries. Beginning in the 19th century, anthropologists began to consider the evolutionary implications of culture concluding that “culture may also be created by all the people who exist in it.” Today, the Internet allows us to influence each other, to create “culture,” in ways that we would not have been able to consider before its presence. Asked to share their individual experiences within CMS, the five panelists share their academic and professional experiences with creativity and collaboration.
Beth Coleman provides three real-life examples of how she undertook to engage her students in classes during which they were asked to analyze how things work to “think creatively . . . to think about ‘what is the culture of making things?’”. Projects included ways of building greater social architecture to exchange cross-campus information, geo-locative design, and trans-media storytelling.
One of Clara Fernandez-Vara’s first impressions, after meeting fellow classmates from such diverse backgrounds as film, architecture, literature, and math, was that each knew something the other’s didn’t. Her goal was to learn and work together, not by dividing tasks, but by integrating how different fields of study and media overlap and support each other.
Philip Tan learned about collaboration while working on his Master’s thesis on live action role-playing. At CMS, it was his introduction to people who were “more experienced, smarter, and [who had] complementary skills” that showed him how to work with other people.
Brett Camper’s experience was highlighted by meeting people from a wide ranging set of backgrounds. “You can’t collaborate unless you’re listening and learning from others.” He learned to channel an overload of good input in meaningful ways, to control the chaos.
Ivan Askwith views the relationship between creativity and collaboration as the byproduct of being aware of your interactions with others. Whether intentional or not, when working with others, collaboration will happen.