The Communication Department is preparing to unveil its Creative Communications Lab in the 2023-2024 academic year, providing Boston College students interested in audio and video production with a new, state-of-the-art facility to help them develop skills and showcase their creativity.

The CCL will be located on the second floor of Lyons Hall, adjacent to the department’s Media Lab. Communication faculty say the new lab will be geared to the instructional and professional-development needs of students interested in broadcast, film, and other media-related fields.

Matt Sienkiewicz

Communication Chair Matthew Sienkiewicz, left, and Christopher Citorik, assistant director of the Creative Communications Lab. (Lee Pellegrini)

“The goal of the CCL is to enable students to work in a realistic setting, with equipment that is much like what is used in professional situations,” said Associate Professor Matthew Sienkiewicz, the department chair. “The lab will help familiarize them with techniques and procedures in audio and video production, and develop the skills and knowledge to create content with laptop or smartphone.”

Christopher Citorik, who as assistant director will oversee the lab on a day-to-day basis, said that while the Media Lab will be incorporated into the CCL, the latter will serve a different purpose.

“The existing Media Lab is more for individual use, with individual workspaces,” explained Citorik, whose professional experience includes working in a variety of roles at WBUR and WBZ. “The new lab is geared toward teaching and group projects, so there will be many opportunities for collaboration.”

The CCL’s features will include 20 moveable workstations for student use, a green screen (used for combining two still images or video frames, such as in weather forecast broadcasts), and studio lighting. The lab will include four wall-mounted monitors arranged in separate areas for group breakouts, and a fifth monitor that will serve as an instructional screen and connect with the other four monitors.  

“The emphasis is on being modern, flexible, and modular,” said Sienkiewicz. “We don’t want to get locked into a piece of technology that might be obsolete in several years, but what we’ll have will be very useful for students to get a basic grasp of audio and video production—enough to help them get internships, for example.”

Sienkiewicz and Citorik said the addition of the CCL represents an enhancement to, not a change in, the study of communication at BC.

“As a department, we are focused largely on teaching theory and history in communication; the addition of this lab will not change that, but rather will incorporate some basic elements of audio and video production into our curriculum—which, in the BC tradition, emphasizes critical thinking,” said Sienkiewicz, noting that Citorik will utilize the CCL in teaching the new Fundamentals of Creative Communication course. “So now, when students learn about basic film theory techniques—a close-up versus a wide shot, for instance—they can try these for themselves and get a fuller understanding of what’s involved.”

 Sienkiewicz used a historical metaphor in describing the CCL’s role: “When writing implements were introduced in schools, students learned how to create letters and numbers, not just read them,” he said. “By using the CCL in concert with our media classes, we’re teaching penmanship.”

Sean Smith | University Communications | May 2023