Medialab Prado is a citizens’ laboratory that serves as a place of encounter for the production of open cultural projects. Anybody can make proposals or sign up for proposals made by someone else and carry them out on a collaborative basis. Activities are structured around work groups, open calls for the production of projects, collaborative research and learning communities that address a very wide range of topics.
At a time of great change, there are many stakeholders that promote other institutional models wherein citizens play an active role. Medialab Prado operates in this context and aims to play a role in the transformation of cultural institutions.
Against this backdrop, we believe it is necessary to face the challenges of our time from multiple perspectives, armed with a wide range of know-how, and that we need to build spaces for coexistence, discussion and action between people with different backgrounds.
Medialab Prado understands the cultural sphere as a place for experimentation that may be linked to any area of knowledge or experience, where testing things out and having fun play a central role.
Its view of digital culture is that free culture tools and digital practices can serve as inspiration and foster an accessible culture built by and for everyone.
Medialab Prado is a citizens’ laboratory in the sense that it is a place for collaborative experimentation and a place in which to learn to cooperate.
Medialab Prado is a space open to the public whose operation is made possible by the cultural mediation programme, which aims to guide, embrace and interconnect users and projects, turning the space into a welcoming place where listening and citizens take centre stage.
Activities are aimed at production and discussion and have varying formats and durations, with a view to addressing various interests and possibilities for participation.
The space welcomes numerous work groups and communities of residents that address a very wide range of topics, which meet regularly and are open to the participation of any interested party.
The people in the cultural mediation team nurture the work groups, helping some of them along within the framework of their research projects.
The online community platform allows Medialab Prado’s users to document and track projects’ progress.
As a space devoted to production, Medialab Prado focuses on projects’ initial phases: on their prototyping. To prototype is to put ideas into practice; it’s the moment when ideas materialise in an initial functional version. To prototype alongside others is to give rise to a context of exchange of knowledge and skills in order to overcome a collective problem. The participants that meet to collaborate with each other may have very different backgrounds, and this mixed bag of know-how enables complex and very diverse projects to be developed. In some projects the artistic has a more intense role, while in others technology or science predominate. Some projects are educational and others are more activist in nature, but all of them are distinguished by including and requiring a range of know-how as they are being developed. These collaborative prototyping processes create community.
Prototyping processes are channelled through open calls for participation in collaborative prototyping workshops. The methodology of these workshops consists of forming interdisciplinary work groups to focus on various proposals selected via open call, composed of the person or people initially responsible for the proposal and all of the people interested in collaborating, who receive conceptual and technical advice from a team of guest experts with varying backgrounds.
Medialab Prado promotes the development and use of free and open-source hardware and software tools, rooted in the philosophies of free access to knowledge and collaborative work.
All online content is published under free licences.
Investigation and testing of models for archiving and documenting projects are promoted through various activities, with a view to making them accessible and replicable.
Medialab Prado belongs to collaboration networks at both the local and international level, devoted to the exchange of knowledge and replicability -a mutual back and forth- of models and formats.
At the local level, the main lines of action are:
At the international level, the main lines of action are: