How to set up a citizen laboratory

How to set up a citizen laboratory

Citizen laboratories are a new type of institution that encourages experimentation and cooperation between people with different profiles for the development of initiatives that seek to improve life in a place. Citizen laboratories invite any person or organization to present ideas and put them in contact with others who want to contribute to making them a reality. To do this, they offer a meeting and collaboration place where they can get down to work in work teams made up of promoters and collaborators.

In the last 17 years, different public institutions such as libraries, museums, universities and cultural centers have incorporated citizen laboratories as part of their organizational model. It is a new form of relationship between institutions and their environment in which people stop being mere beneficiaries of a service and become collaborators in the experimentation and production processes, either proposing and leading new ideas or forming part of the work teams of other ongoing projects.

This workshop is aimed at people interested in starting up a citizen laboratory in their locality using existing infrastructures such as schools, libraries, universities, cultural, sports or health centers. During the workshop, the participants will receive an introduction to the operating methodology of citizen laboratories and will carry out a first laboratory design adapted to the local context.

In addition to making it easier for each participant to design a citizen laboratory, collaboration between the different proposals will be encouraged in order to begin to shape a network of citizen laboratories that allows remote cooperation between them.

More information about citizen laboratories:

The citizen laboratory methodology proposed for this project has been developed since 2006 by Medialab Prado (Madrid City Council) and other institutions such as the Ibero-American General Secretariat -Citizen Innovation Laboratories-; the Spanish Agency for Cooperation and Development in the program -Experience City-; the State of Nuevo Leon -LAB Nuevo Leon-, he Tecnologico de Monterrey; independent organizations like Silo (Brazil) or the library laboratories & Rural Experience of the Ministry of Culture and Sports of Spain. 




How to do a collaborative prototyping workshop. Guide The Adventure of Learning. Marcos Garcia (2021) 


Citizen laboratories. An approach to Medialab Prado VVAA 

Includes manual on mediation in citizen laboratories 


Experience District. Many ways to make neighborhood. Documentary about Experimenta District. Documentary about the Experimenta District project (2018). 


Collaborate, experiment, share. Welcome to Medialab Prado. 

Documentary about Medialab Prado (2020) 


Experience District, citizen laboratories in peripheral places of cities 


Rural Experimenta, citizen innovation in rural areas. Program of the Ministry of Culture of Spain to promote experimentation and collaboration in rural areas: 


Valle Experimenta, citizen laboratory at the Espacio Odisea library in Valle de Bravo (Mexico). Collaborative prototyping workshop 


Distributed citizen laboratories. Citizen innovation in libraries and other cultural institutions