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Critical Media Labs: Educational Spaces of Media Art Production and Participatory Research

Research Open House 2021

participants on zoom holding up cards to their cameras|A screenshot of students holding up signs with words representing what they would like to learn in the Critical Media Lab
Chloe Smolarski and Tasha Darbes, Pace University
Alessandra Woodman, MS Urban Placemaking and Management ‘20
School of Art, Digital Arts

In partnership with Gregorio Luperón High School, a bilingual STEM school in NYC, we are working with students to further understand the role creativity has in supporting immigrant youth in developing new forms of agency.

Drawing on several theoretical frameworks, including Critical Media Literacy (CML), we define Critical Media Labs as educational spaces of media art production, participatory culture, and community research. This research project posits that an integrated curriculum imbued with discussion imparts research skills and scaffolds digital storytelling tools that will empower students to process lived experiences and societal disruptions, as well as to respond to social injustices.

A collage of student work and descriptions of what they have learned.
Students share their work and what they’ve learned during our sessions.

In The Right to Research, Arjun Appadurai states that “. . . full citizenship today requires the capacity to make strategic inquiries–and gain strategic knowledge–on a continuous basis.” Expanding on this notion, our research emphasizes the importance of nurturing creativity, making media art as a vehicle of meaning-making and effecting change.”