The UNU Media Studio was established in March 2003 and works in collaboration with a global network of partners to develop and share open educational resources. Through a small team based in Tokyo, the UNU promotes innovation in the building of interactive content and video documentaries that engage, entertain and educate.

The core creative team is comprised of specialists in web and graphic design, documentary and multimedia production, as well as educational technology and instructional design. In developing projects, this team collaborates with subject matter experts from within the UNU, from other UN bodies and from partner universities.

The UNU Media Studio also collaborates with independent professionals in the area of documentary production, web application development, web design and instructional design. The team at the UNU Media Studio in Tokyo includes (alphabetically):

Brendan Barrett, head of the Studio with keen interest in exploring how to use the web to effectively communicate complex environmental ideas in society.

Kaori Brand, filmmaker with experience in the United States and Japan.

Jason Hall, an IT systems engineer (geek) with interests in Linux, Open Source and cooperative communities.

Rie Hayafune, studio assistant and writer.

David Jimenez, a graphic/interactive media designer, with a background in editorial design, branding and music production.

Mark Notaras, researcher, creative writer and editor.

Megumi V. Nishikura, video documentary producer with experience in the United States and Japan.

Luis Patron, an educational media technologist and documentary producer/director.

Carol Smith, creative writer and editor.

Citt Williams, a passionate and proactive filmmaker. Her films have been screened at Cannes, Sundance, Sydney and Mumbai.

Sean Wood, creative director with experience in the broadcast industry, branding and interactive design.

Former members of the UNU Media Studio include:

Gerard Brady, researcher, writer, educational media designer.

Janine Googan, graphic designer, animator.

Mohamed Saied, video producer, researcher.


The UNU has been involved in research and development in the domain of online learning technologies since 1996. The initial work focused on the building of innovative tools to support online education. In 2002, there was a shift in emphasis with content becoming the driver for UNU’s work in this area. Subsequently, the UNU Media Studio was set up in 2003 to develop engaging online educational content that explores the interaction between people and their environment, trying to learn and share success stories and valuable lessons.

Our main goal is to try to help academics in the developing world and we are fully engaged with a number of exciting innovative movements that could help better share knowledge and improve education. These include efforts to share content (opencourseware and open educational resources). This movement is supported by new approaches to copyright licensing and intellectual property rights that promote sharing and collaboration, specifically through Creative Commons.

We also believe that the technology we use should be accessible and affordable for educators in the developing world. This includes the adoption of open source software where available including learning and content management systems.

The UNU cannot single handedly develop educational materials quickly enough or update regularly enough. As such we are looking more and more to community and social network based approaches to content development that take advantage of new technologies encompassed within Web 2.0 and E-learning 2.0.

At the end of the day, it is the educational materials that we collaboratively build and share with our partners from across the globe that are most important and we are always seeking new ways to create engaging content of real relevance to people everywhere.

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