The Engagement Lab

Engagement Lab Logo

The Engagement Lab at Emerson College is an applied research and design lab that investigates and creates media and technology to reduce disparities in civic participation. 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. 

From playing games to making media, to running campaigns, we create opportunities for people to creatively participate in civic life. Whether they are used in classrooms or town squares, the tools and processes we develop make civic engagement meaningful for citizens and communities.

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Global Opportunities

Salzburg Global Seminar Logo

Our Media Design Master’s program reserves exclusive space for students interested in teaching to participate in a signature global-civic media program called the Salzburg Academy on Media & Global Change.

During the month-long program, you will work as teachers and graduate assistants in Salzburg, an intense and experimental setting for pedagogy practice.

The Salzburg Media Academy annually gathers over 75 students, 15 faculty, and 15 visiting scholars and practitioners from over 30 countries around the world for one month in Salzburg, Austria, to explore how media can respond to the most pressing problems of our time, and to rapidly prototype and create civic media responses to such problems.

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Student Project Spotlight

Port(land) of Opportunity by Justin Warren

Port(land) of Opportunity is a game for immigrants and refugees living in Portland, Maine to learn about services available to them in Portland. The Office of Economic Opportunity wanted to try stepping away from more conventional approaches of seeking community feedback (such as interviews and focus groups, as they have used in the past) and instead created an educational game in hopes of making the process more engaging and meaningful to participants.

Check out all of our student projects and research through Emerson's Engagement Lab.


Our Alumni have gone on to work for diverse industries and organizations such as:

  • The Obama Foundation
  • Global Family Research Project
  • Harvard Kennedy School
  • National Organization on Disability
  • Gimlet Media
  • Boston Public Health Commission
  • Department of Veteran Affairs
  • National Association for Media Literacy Education
  • Canadian Association of Community Television

Learn more about our alumni

Career Outlook

There is an increasing number of jobs in media design within the public, private, and non-profit sectors. Students in the program gain experience working with a variety of community-based organizations and will be prepared for jobs such as:

  • Digital Strategist
  • Innovation Director
  • User Experience Designer
  • Civic Designer
  • New Media Catalyst
  • Applied Research
  • Communications Director
  • Community Relations Specialist
  • Corporate Social Responsibility Manager
  • Community Manager
  • Director of Civic Engagement
  • Civic Technologist
  • Civic Artist

Student Resources


Emerge is Emerson’s online community connecting current students with alumni from around the world.