Reimagining civic engagement in a digital culture

The Engagement Lab is an applied research and design lab dedicated to reimagining civic engagement for a digital culture. We find new ways for communities to bring their voice forward, and new ways for institutions to respond. We work with partners to co-design solutions to the most pressing problems in democracy and governance, including participation gaps, gender or racial discrimination, lack of basic media literacies, youth exclusion, and gaps in public health practices. Our research and practice are influenced by the fields of media studies, communications, human centered design, and cultural studies. Our research ranges from basic research about play and learning to specific program evaluations.

Collaborate + Work With Us

We work directly with partner communities to design and facilitate civic engagement processes, augment stakeholder deliberation, and broaden the diversity of participants in local decision-making. For more information on how to work with us, contact

Students and Researchers

The Engagement Lab is always looking for exemplary students. Emerson undergraduates can work on directed studies with lab faculty, or apply for lab assistantships. We are accepting applications for our 1-year MA program in Civic Media Art and Practice (CMAP), which is housed in the lab and offers the opportunity to work on projects with faculty and staff.

Community Based Partnerships

The Engagement Lab is dedicated to fostering meaningful and mutual relationships with organizations or individuals committed to positive social impact. Partnership opportunities include: graduate studio courses, specific design or research projects, workshops or organizational capacity building.

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Our Partners

The Berkman Center
Boston Public Schools
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Cape Cod Commission
Citi Foundation
Detroit Works Project
Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative
Institute for Community Health
Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Center
Knight Foundation
Living Cities
MacArthur Foundation
Metropolitan Area Planning Council
The Office of New Urban Mechanics
North Shore Community Development Coalition
Philadelphia City Planning Commision
The Pearson Foundation
The Teagle Foundation
The World Bank Group
Tufts University
World Wildlife Fund
PLAN International