Study Group: Community Engagement through Filmmaking (Session 1)


Tuesday, February 6, 2018, 4:30pm to 6:30pm


124 Mt Auburn St, Suite 100N, Room 106 (Middle East Initiative Conference Room)

The Ash Center and the HKS Communications Program invite you to join a study group led by Cecily Tyler, independent film and documentary maker, HKS MC/MPA '16; titled, "Community Engagement through Filmmaking." The 6-session workshop will teach participants how to make a compelling 3-5 minute video emblematic of an issue they care deeply about, in a “guerrilla-style” format. The first session of the study group will meet on Tuesday, February 6th. 

Participants—as an individual or as a team—will 1) identify a broad social topic like urban blight, water rights, elderly care, access to education, or the promises and perils of the sharing economy; 2) research and discover various hyper-local stories that represent your issue; 3) use the lens of filmmaking to produce a no-budget narrative; and 4) introduce and present your final work to your intended audience. The study group will help participants develop video production skills while strengthening your capacity in the art of engagement. Throughout the filmmaking process participants will also consider ways to build community while seeking to represent the untold voices of your social topic. 

The sessions will meet from 4:30-6:30 pm in the Middle East Initiative Conference Room at 124 Mt Auburn St, Suite 100N, Room 106 every other Tuesday starting on February 6th. This study group workshop is open to anyone at Harvard. While no previous experience is required, you will need access to your own digital camera/smart phone and editing equipment (which can be found in some of the Harvard libraries, including Lamont and Cabot).

Each study group will consist of lecture and discussion to enhance the assigned readings. Participants will also work through in a series of skill-building exercises during some of the sessions. Active, full participation in all 6 sessions is required for an optimal outcome in this study group workshop; this is a collaborative effort and experience. The participants will be accountable to one another as much as they are accountable for the video they produce. Team effort is also needed outside of the study group to experience the field learning and to offer support to the other workshop participants so that all participants can complete their video.

Office hours, field hours (filming), editing time, and scheduled meetings with your team members will all be necessary to consider as you move your project forward.

The study group will accept approximately 20 students, depending on how many teams vs. individuals enroll. To apply, please email Cecily Tyler at and in 300 words explain why you would like to participate. In addition to the 300 words description, please note if you are able and willing to attend all 6 sessions. This is a non-credit workshop intended to help you have fun putting to use what you are learning in your other classes.

Study Group meeting dates: 

  • Tues, Feb 6
  • Tues, Feb 20
  • Tues, March 6
  • Tues, March 20
  • Tues, April 3
  • Tues, April 17
  • Fri, April 27: final session/presentation. This date is tentative