Play and Civic Learning
This initiative looks at how games and play create productive informal learning environments for young people and adults. What are the affordances of online games for civic learning and participation?
The networked citizenship project is a multi-year research project that explores transformations in the definition and qualities of citizenship in the context of new digital tools and practices. It explores concepts of play, connectivity, and attention in civic life and asks how these qualities augment feelings of trust and efficacy. The research is based on empirical data gathered from the lab’s affiliated games and tools.
Youth and Civic Media
Our work in the area of youth and civic media is a multi-project research effort that investigates how games and social media tools enable youth to engage in civic issues in new ways, and examines the impact of this engagement. Using data from game play across multiple platforms and numerous cities, we focus on areas of youth empowerment and ongoing dedication to civic life, the benefits of intergenerational publics, and youth strategies of framing civic issues.
Design Action Research for Government Project
The Design Action Research for Government Project (DARG) is a partnership between the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics in Boston and the Engagement Game Lab at Emerson College. The goal of DARG is to advance the capacity of local governments to foster civic engagement through technological innovations. Its mission is to provide a conceptual framework and evaluative capacity to guide city-level innovations that create opportunities for the public to meaningfully engage in the creation and study of public life.
DARG is a model for collaboration between government and universities. The project employs techniques of action and design research to source, create, and study civic technology projects in Boston. It seeks to build strong collaborations with communities in order to increase the effectiveness of civic experimentation and to maximize learning opportunities. Undertaking a research program that goes beyond traditional measures of engagement, DARG also aims to improve the way research concerning civic media in governance takes place. Ultimately, DARG aims to transform common practices of government innovation from a model of top-down intervention and evaluation to one of participatory design and research.