student in media lab

CMI Program Overview

The Creative Media Institute is four weeks in length, running from June 8 to July 3, 2015.  
The CMI program consists of two screening seminars and two creative labs. The CMI program alternates between the screening seminars and creative labs. Full program participants are together as one group during the seminars, then split into nonfiction, fiction, and photography tracks for the labs. 
The four-week CMI program is for individuals studying nonfiction, fiction, and experimental media production, analog photography, and film and media studies. Participants will be required to take part in screenings and discussions during the seminars and to create an original work during the labs. Some media production experience is required.
The CMI screening seminars are also stand-alone programs that anyone interested in immersing themselves in an intensive, week-long study of moving and still image media can attend. Students, artists, educators, arts administrators and programmers, and people who write about the arts are encouraged to attend.
Featured visiting artists for the 2015 CMI will be announced in early spring 2015. 




The screening seminars take place in the 1st and 3rd weeks of the CMI. Participants take part in daily screenings bookended by discussions and interviews led by artists, scholars, and critics. Guest artists bring in colleagues to screen and discuss works. The goal of the seminars is to bring together a community of diverse perspectives for week-long, intensive looks into specific areas of cinema, video, and photography. The seminars are designed to be stand-alone programs. Anyone (undergrads, artists, educators, curators, and programmers) can attend one or both screening seminars. 



The creative labs take place in the 2nd and 4th weeks of the CMI. During the creative labs, students follow separate paths based on the medium (moving or still image) and mode of expression (nonfiction or fiction). Students attend workshops in the morning and head out into the field during the afternoon. The labs provide a safe space to experiment with approach, style, and practice. Only participants attending all four weeks of the program can take part in creative labs. Here are the different tracks:




The CMI Fiction Creative Labs provide participants with the opportunity to write rehearse and shoot three to four short works using a number of different, creative restraints to inspire innovation and experimentation. Working in writer-director teams, participants will work together with a cast and crew that the CMI will provide them for each shoot.
The first lab focuses on quick decision-making and experimentation. Participants are broken into small teams. All teams attend production workshops run by special guest artists every other morning. Workshops will focus on screenwriting and directing actors and each guest artist’s approach to both. Guest artists will then deliver story prompts to the shooting groups. The groups will have 24-hours to write, rehearse, shoot, and screen something based on the prompt. This process will repeat itself during the week. Teams will be limited to the specific characters, locations, and storylines during the different shoots. 
During the second lab, participants will focus on the process of revision. Fiction participants will rewrite and reshoot a scene shot under restraint during the first Lab. This time around, shooting groups will have greater freedoms in terms of lead time for pre-production, the number of characters, locations, and storyline.  At the end of the week, participants will be required to screen the new scene for all program participants.



The CMI Photography Creative Labs will offer an intensive study of portraiture in its broadest sense– including themes of identity, culture and place. Participants working in photography will have the opportunity to work in a range of media: from cyanotype and wet-plate collodion tintype to film (medium format and instant) and digital capture.

The first lab is about process: how we process memory, how we build narratives out of images, and the processes and media by which we preserve our experience visually. Participants will be producing new work or printing work-in-progress while meeting regularly for critiques. Participants will be asked to bring their own strengths to the course (expertise in a particular photographic medium, an ability to sequence images creatively, etc.) and will spend the two weeks of the workshop either developing an installation or a book project. Critique sessions will focus on editing and sequencing and discussions will center on how best to bring disparate media together into a unified whole.

The goal will be to give each participant a range of skills and materials with which to build a multimedia piece dealing with the themes of the CMI. It is recommended that participants bring a hard-drive full of past photographic images and a set of found or family images with which to work. During this Screening Seminar, in addition to attending all screenings, discussions, and artist talks; photography participants will attend photography workshops.
The second lab will examine all forms of social media, but specifically use Instagram as the platform to create work as a class. The basis of the curriculum is to encourage students to think about social media as the medium itself. We will investigate the ways in which social networks are being used to create galleries without walls, books without pages while blurring the boundaries of artist, writer, educator, dealer, curator, critic, collector, and consumer.
A major shift is happening to our cultural landscape as we become more globally connected and visually sensitive of the ways in which people live. By the end of the 1990s digital cameras were replacing film cameras; on June 29, 2007, the iPhone launched; and on July 10, 2008, Facebook released its mobile app, which would change the way we look at photographs forever. Instagram launched shortly after the iPhone 4 in 2010. Last year Facebook announced that the site has 14.58 million photo uploads per hour. Instagram has 200 million active users, and 60 million photographs shared daily. Snapchat has 26 million users and 400 million snaps sent daily.



The CMI Nonfiction Creative Labs provide participants with the opportunity to experience the process of making a nonfiction short. Shooting teams will be assigned a local person or place to investigate, explore, and document. Later, each team member will be required to edit and screen a rough edit of a short based on their local subject.

The first lab focuses on nonfiction production. Small teams of participants are assigned local subjects to research and document. Participants attend production workshops each morning, then head out into the field to research and shoot footage of their subject and their subject’s surroundings. Production workshops will focus on shooting, sound, and lighting for on-location recording. In the evenings, participants review their footage and attend a critique with an advisor. The critiques will focus on craft and approach with an emphasis on being conscious of visual language and putting it to use when documenting a subject.  

The second lab focuses on healthy post-production habits and different approaches to editing nonfiction materials. Each participant will edit their own nonfiction short using footage shot during the first lab. Advisors will give critiques daily as each participant races to finish a rough cut of their short by the end of the week.

Stay In Touch
With The Creative Media Institute
Snail Mail
Andrew Hart, Program Director
Hampshire College
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002
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