General Issues
Arts, Culture, & Recreation
Science & Technology


Medialab Prado

General Issues
Arts, Culture, & Recreation
Science & Technology

MediaLab Prado's ParticipaLAB is a social innovation laboratory in Madrid that supports the design of digital tools for citizen engagement and public participation.

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Mission and Purpose

Medialab Prado is a citizens' laboratory in Madrid that provides an open space for collaboration and learning both with local communities and international networks. This is achieved through a variety of activities and projects with a focus on prototyping, open source methods and tech and networking. According to its website, Medialab Prado aims:

  • "To build, promote and sustain learning and hands-on communities that see people from very different worlds (in terms of education and experience, interests, background or social status) work together to develop specific projects.
  • To promote the development of open cultural projects: well-documented, adaptable and replicable.
  • To foster an atmosphere of cooperation and exchange that encompasses life and human affection with value placed on informality and community.
  • To experiment, improve and evaluate collaborative work methodologies and modus operandi at the various levels of action: institutional in general, within the organisation itself and in users’ development of projects.
  • To open up spaces for critical reflection on digital technology and its impact on society." [1]

Origins and Development

Medialab-Prado is a Program part of the Department of Culture and Sports (former Department of Arts, Sports and Tourism) of the Madrid City Council. It has its origin in the 2000 at the Conde Duque Cultural Center. In 2002 takes the name of MedialabMadrid and in 2007 moves to its current location at the Plaza de las Letras in the basement of the old Belgian Sawmill. From then on it has been named as Medialab-Prado, referring its new location near el Paseo del Prado. After its renovation, in April 2013 the Old Belgian Sawmill opens to the public and becomes the headquarters of Medialab-Prado.

MediaLab-Prado is part of a city-wide initiative to increase citizen participation, create government transparency, and improve public-service delivery using information and communications technology. Madrid's committment to the use and expansion of civic tech has been officially supported and implemented since 2013.   

Organizational Structure, Membership, and Funding

MediaLab-Prado is funded by Madrid City Council. 

Medialab Prado is part of local and international collaborative networks that seek to exchange knowledge, build upon, and improve models and formats of collaboration and participation.

At the local level, the Lab's network affiliations allow it to:

  • Scale and adapt working formats with workshops in different districts / neighborhoods of Madrid.
  • Develop transversal projects with other Areas of the Madrid City Council.
  • Collaborate with other institutions in the city.

In the international arena, the Lab's is involved in the following:

  • European networks through projects subsidized by the EU,
  • Network with Latin America through mainly the SEGIB Citizen Innovation program
  • Collaboration networks that are starting with different countries in Africa.

Membership and Participation

Medialab Prado is open to the public following a program of cultural mediation, which aims to guide, welcome, relate users and projects to each other, to produce a hospitable place where listening and respect are central priorities.

All activities are oriented to accessible, open production and debate, utilizing different formats and times to respond to and allow for the participation of a variety of demographics, interests, and abilities.

The space welcomes working groups and resident communities around diverse topics. Open calls for groups are disseminated periodically and anyone interested is invited to apply. The Lab's cultural mediation team take care of the work groups and offer support for their research projects. The online community platform allows Medialab Prado users to document and follow the progress of the projects.

Specializations, Methods and Tools

MediaLab Prado's ParticipaLAB is a social innovation laboratory in Madrid that supports the design of digital tools for citizen engagement and public participation. The Lab offers a range of activities and participants are supported and encouraged to use a variety of methods and tools for experimentation. Specifically, the Lab provides:

  • A permanent space for information, consulting and encounters, attended by cultural mediators, who explain the nature of the space and connect different people and projects with each other.
  • Open Calls for the presentation of proposals and the participation in the development of collaborative projects.
  • Activities Program that comprises workshops, seminars and debates, as well as the meetings of different work groups, exhibitions, conferences and other events such as concerts and performances.
  • A work atmosphere dedicated to the encounter, cooperation and exchange, where there is room for life and affects; and informality and closeness are appreciated.

Major Projects and Events

There are several on-going programmes at the Lab:

  • Interactivos?: creative uses of electronics and programming
  • research and reflections on the network culture
  • Visualizar: data visualization tools and strategies 
  • Commons Lab: trans-disciplinary discussion on the Commons
  • AVLAB: audio-visual and sound creation

Analysis and Lessons Learned

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The Lab publishes a variety of multi-media content including videos, articles, and presentations. All are available (in Spanish) at 

See also

Social Innovation Labs 


[1] Medialab Prado (2019). About. Available at:

"Qué es," Media-Lab Prado, 2018,

External Links