Transmedia and Social Change at MIT’s Futures of Entertainment Conference

It was exciting to see a discussion of the application of transmedia storytelling to activism and social change at MIT’s Futures of Entertainment conference. My own work exploring and writing about this topic a year and a half ago was inspired by Henry Jenkins’ work in transmedia (http://www.mediarights.or/news/Transmedia_Activism_Telling_Your_Story_Across_Media_Platforms_to_Create_Eff) and am very happy to see that the topic is starting to be discussed on a larger scale.

In the time since I published my work, I have partnered with Vicki Callahan of UWM and USC to create the Transmedia Activism Design Group ( Our aim is to create a community of practice that moves the creation and distribution of media, art and cultural assets from awareness to action. One of the primary strengths of transmedia activism is that it allows social change itself to be the hub of a campaign, with media (in whatever form, be it digital, online or real-world) providing the vehicle to generate commitment, engagement and action. As one participant at Futures of Entertainment said, media is a powerful vehicle for education and dialogue. Participatory co-creation of media, paired with a robust multi-platform distribution strategy, is one of the best and most innovative ways to have people connect to a cause, by opening up avenues for dialogue and providing an educational experience about workable solutions to real-world issues– and also by harnessing the talents of an engaged audience to commit to action through creation, donation, knowledge-sharing, and action (through volunteerism by laypersons and solution-building by experts).

We have begun applying the framework to a variety of projects, by filmmakers and nonprofits. One dynamic example of the possibilities of co-creation and multi-platform distribution is the project (currently in production) Boomtown Babylon (, which brings together a variety of filmmakers from around the world to present stories, issues and solutions for the extreme effects of global urbanization.

We invite anyone interested in delving deeper into transmedia and social change to share comments and questions further here. And thank you all for your work and continued commitment.