About The Lab

The Engagement Lab was founded in 2010 by Professor Eric Gordon. Originally called the Engagement Game Lab, its initial focus was the creation of games and playful systems for public engagement. In 2015, as the Lab brought on additional faculty investigators, including Paul Mihailidis and Catherine D’Ignazio, the name was shortened to the Engagement Lab, and the focus expanded to more broadly include a range of media and technologies. Since then, the Engagement Lab has established itself as a leader in the space of civic media, with faculty, staff, and students employing participatory methods to co-create media and technology with those most impacted by the problems the interventions are designed to address. 

We have worked locally and in over a dozen countries, forging partnerships with local institutional and community stakeholders to build media interventions that enable greater, more equitable, participation in public life.

Learn more about our approach

A number of individuals gathered around legos and other prototyping materials on a table
A room with an orange wall, a prototyping table, and shelves of materials

Our Space

The Engagement Lab is located at 160 Boylston St, where we have been since 2015. In a small building at the edge of Emerson’s Boston campus, you can find us tucked between Piano Row and the old Steinway building. We are easily accessible by public transit, just a short walk from the Boylston stop on the green line and the orange lines’ Chinatown station. 

The Engagement Lab resides on the fourth floor of the building in a unique space that includes faculty and staff offices, student co-working space, creative meeting space, and lots of video games. The third floor is home to a makerspace that we operate and Classroom 312, where the majority of Social Impact Studios are held. When students discover the Engagement Lab, they often talk about it as Emerson’s best kept secret.  To access the building, you can tap your Emerson ID, buzz up to the 4th floor, or give a wave to Pat Bartevian, the building’s owner who operates Bartevian Inc on the first floor -- she will usually buzz you right in. Before you trek up the stairs or call the elevator, pop in and say hello to Pat for some incredible stories about her time teaching at Emerson and as a global performer, or of her family’s long history of owning and operating the store since 1910. See you at the Lab!