This 5-day-course, conducted by Andréa Poshar & Simona Venditti (both from Politecnico Milano) and Tom Bieling (Design Research Lab) focuses on how design (and especially: Video) has been used as a political tool. We 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. Not least by producing an activist video themselves, participants may improve their knowledge/skills regarding media theory, media activism, design research and the use of audiovisual tools. 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” – as a type of Design- and Media 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”.


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 significant communication structure for activist movements and to be able to define and identify communication structures.
  • Define a guideline for the realization of video activism that can support an active communication campaign.
  • Address issues related to storytelling in the age of smartphones and “mobile communication”.
  • Develop an activist video.