Detroit Future Media

Detroit Future Media (DFM) is working towards a more just, creative and collaborative world. We see media education, collaborative entrepreneurship and media-based community organizing as the specific practices we need to build this new world in Detroit, Detroit Future Media is designed to inspire and support long-term, community-rooted, participatory problem-solving and innovation in Detroit.

Detroit Future Media offers an experience of education and community building that is holistic, sustainable, and supportive of critical thinking, creativity, and self-expression. Demystifying technology and teaching digital media skills is a fundamental element of this work. We bring together an exceptional group of committed artists and media-makers with different backgrounds and experiences to develop their work, through a joint process of personal reflection and collective analysis of the challenges and possibilities of Detroit.

DFM is structured so that participants attend workshops twice a week for 20 weeks. Once a week, participants will be in a workshop within their focus track- either Education, Entrepreneurship, or Media-based Community Organizing.  These focus tracks are an opportunity to develop skills and perspective for strategic application of the media production skills they are building. The other DFM day of the week is spent in a media skills workshop- either video, web, or graphics. These workshops are offered in four week segments and participants can choose a different skills area for each segment, of which there are four total.

In the Detroit Future Media-Education Track, participants will come to understand that education is something that can happen at all moments in our lives whereas schooling is the formalized indoctrination of knowledge en masse.  No matter if participants want to work in schools, in the community or develop a deeper sense of how to breakdown complex information/practices to individuals no matter the context, this track will set the foundation for this to happen.

Creating our own media is a process of speaking and listening that allows us to investigate the problems that shape our realities, imagine other realities, and then organize our communities to make them real. When we use media in this way, we transform ourselves from consumers of information to producers, from objects within narratives of exploitation and violence to active subjects in the transformation of the world. Through the Media-based Organizing Track of Detroit Future Media you will strengthen your ability to use media for transformative social justice.  Skills you will gain through this track include:  developing shared vision and principles, power-mapping and strategy development, developing essential questions, participatory research, facilitative leadership, how to synthesize diverse experiences towards solutions and how to use the distribution of your media project as an organizing process.  Pre-requisites:  You must have some prior or current experience with community organizing.

The Entrepreneur Track will offer insight to  alternative business models and operations that support media-based economic growth in Detroit. Students will interact with local experts in marketing, copyleft and copyright law,  fiances, and business owners to get first hand tangible knowledge of what it takes to build and sustain a small business.

The core elements of the track are understanding finances, product development and its relevance to Detroit’s communities, knowledge of legal obligations in owning a small business, and understanding the drive and commitment it take to be a business owner. Students will graduate with a unique skill set to create their own jobs and foster cooperative forms of community wealth creation in Detroit.
Apprenticeship Program
DFM graduates will have the opportunity of participating in the apprenticeship program and will be assigned a DFM staff member as a mentor. They will meet with this staff member regularly one-on-one to assess their growth and productivity in their placement, troubleshoot problems, reflect on their experience, and explore certain media skills further if deemed useful to the work they’re doing at their placement.  Once a month beginning right before their apprenticeship and throughout the period, the apprentices will meet with their mentor group- the other apprentices who work with their mentor. During these sessions, the mentor will facilitate apprentices sharing their reflections on their placements.  Each session will involve a Critical Friends Group Consultancy Process, with facilitation, note-taking, and timer responsibilities being rotated from session to session.

Major Project

Participants  enrolled in the full  DFM program are required to complete  a “major media project”  throughout the 20 weeks of Detroit Future Media. Final projects will be a part of the DFM showcase and graduation. During orientation participation will be paired up with an advisor for support tin major project development and choosing workshops.

Goals for curriculum

>> Participants will deepen their understanding of the role media-making plays in shaping individuals and communities

>> Participants will feel empowered to produce media and use technology to make change in their own lives and communities

>> Participants will develop media production skills that allow them to express themselves creatively

>> Participants will experience media-making as a collaborative process that strengthens the individual while nurturing the collective

>> Participants will develop strategies for media and technology to be used in creating positive change in Detroit’s economic, social, and educational systems


To help educators, community organizers, artists, and entrepreneurs use media and technology to transform education and economic development in Detroit.

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