Creating Technology for Social Change

About the Center for Civic Media

We believe that civics is changing, becoming more open to participation through media and technology, even as traditional government institutions suffer from increasing public mistrust. We believe that designing media tools and spaces for social change through participatory practices is a key way of ensuring that an emergent civics is more fair and inclusive than current methods. As a collaboration between the MIT Media Lab and Comparative Media Studies at MIT, the Center for Civic Media pursues original scholarship and design work that investigates the tight-knit and dynamic relationships between communities, ecologies of media and technology, and the natures of information and power. In particular, we develop research tools and conduct case studies to help us understand media ecosystems, augment civic participation, and foster digital inclusion. We use design methods informed by social justice to build technologies that amplify the voices of communities often excluded from the public sphere.

Working at the intersection of participatory media and civic engagement, the Center for Civic Media’s mission is to design, create, deploy, and assess tools and processes that support and foster civic participation and the flow of information between and within communities.

We are inventors of new technologies that support and foster civic media and political action, we are a hub for the study of these technologies, and we coordinate community-based design processes locally in the Boston area, across the United States, and around the world.

The Center for Civic Media is made possible by funding from:

  • The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
  • The Gates Foundation
  • The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
  • The Ford Foundation
  • The MacArthur Foundation
  • The Open Society Foundations​
  • The Bulova-Stetson Foundation
  • The Mozilla Foundation