CUT//ACT: Video (and) Activism

Have you ever wondered how media has changed over time, and how “video” has been used as a political tool? In this course, you will learn both, not least by producing an activist video yourself! You may improve your knowledge/skills regarding media theory, media activism, design research and the use of audiovisual tools.

The workshop is an intensive 5-day-course (no lessons on the weekend – October 7th and 8th) brought to you by Andréa Poshar & Simona Venditti (both from Politecnico Milano) & Tom Bieling (Design Research Lab / Berlin University of the Arts).

We will seek to explore key elements of media studies such as its history, its relationship with activism, its communication practices, audiovisual development and aesthetics, visual design, and the social and cultural changes that have occurred in time. Within this context, facilitators will try to improve participants’ knowledge and skills regarding media history, media activism and the use of audiovisual tools, such as the video as a political tool of communication.

The format of this project will bring the challenge (and the opportunity) to the participants to inquire media studies not only in a theoretical, reflexive and critical way, but also will call attendees into action to develop their own skills and aesthetics regarding communication for activist movement.


“Video activism” has many different definitions according to scholars and people involved in the field. But, in this workshop we adopt the meaning given by Harding (2001), who defines it as “the use of video as tactical tool of communication to bring about social change and social justice and environmental protection”. Hence, video activism is a type of media activism that encompasses a broad grouping of individuals. The people involved, the methods used and the energy committed all vary enormously according to each project.

In this workshop we will learn how to create activism video communication, and we will also provide theoretical and practical tools to make independently audiovisual products. Starting from the paper and the storyboard we will prepare material – such as camcorders and/or smartphones – to shoot video. Finally, we will work on the audio and video editing. Everybody will produce their own product ready to publish on the web. The workshop will prepare creative producers in the context of activism for the production of audiovisual projects to document their work in the activism, cooperation and communication field. The workshop will also address issues related to storytelling in the age of smartphones and “mobile communication”.


To our students, the CUT//ACT course aims to:

  • Inquiry media history and design research in relation to social and activist movements.
  • Seek to understand social and cultural changes media can bring to society.
  • Develop the capacity of students to identify the different types of visual communication aesthetics.
  • Show the evolution of visual communication aesthetics along the development of new tools of communication.
  • Improve the ability to develop a good communication structure for activist movements and to be able to define and identify communication structures.
  • Work out the ability of not only improve images but to assemble them with audio, interviews, etc.
  • Define a guideline for the realization of video activism that can support an active communication campaign.
  • Develop an activist video.
  • To be able to develop contents for the storytelling, to the appropriate technical knowledge for the realization of a video activism product.
  • Point out technical analysis of the video content, research and sharing of personal reflection on sensitive issues for a possible campaign.


The CUT//ACT course has been designed for artists, activists and designers with little knowledge in the fields of media theory, design research, social science and little experience within media methods of practices and uses. It is suitable to students and scholars as well as the experienced practitioners who are looking to review and/or enhance current approaches/ knowledge regarding media studies, media activism, and public engagement. The workshop might also be suitable for scientists, teachers, and students of science seeking continual professional and academic development and people working in research groups/nucleus with a communication/social science element to their role.

No previous technical knowledge will be required from the students/participants.

You may start do develop your concept within the course, but in case you already have a specific topic (e.g. a political, social, environmental issue) in mind, feel free to get in touch with us anytime before the course. So we can think about specific people and institutions to meet, information to provide, places to visit etc. It will help you to safe time, keep focus on your work and finally create a better outcome.

People who would like to join the course, please register here! 


About designabilities

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