At Civic Studios, we research and produce civic entertainment
Civic Studios is a production house based in Mumbai, India. Incubated at the MIT Media Lab, the production house focuses on creating content in the genre of Civic Entertainment i.e. films, television, radio, and digital content, that encourages civic engagement, creates knowledge about public institutions, and illustrates various models of change and participation.
Research @MIT Media Lab
The Civic Entertainment research project at the Center for Civic Media, MIT Media Lab studies models of democratic participation, develops frameworks around citizen engagement, and explores the ways in which entertainment can create thought and behavior-change.
Civic Studios creates and supports stories about public institutions such as the executive, legislature, judiciary, and bureaucracy, and aims to present narratives around accountability, monitoring, and citizen participation to strengthen these institutions.
Civics is the study of rights and duties, but little in the real world prepares us to exercise or practice these rights and duties. For public institutions and government to function well in a democracy monitoring, accountability, and feedback through citizen participation are vital.
Peter Levine, professor of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Tufts University, argues that the subject of “philosophy addresses the nature of justice but not actions that might be available to you to make the world most just”, political science is about the study of government and politics, but not “what you and I should do together”, and professional schools may teach us how to be lawyers or policy-makers, but “no department teaches strategies for citizens”.
Barriers to civic participation include:
Limited knowledge about government systems and processes
Mistrust of political and public institutions
Lack of self-efficacy in citizen power