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MediaLab Prado; uncertain future? Back

MediaLab Prado; uncertain future?

1 Mar 2021

This week we learned that our 2016 Princess Margriet Award laureate MediaLab Prado is facing severe challenges. The premises they are based in are destined – by the current local government – for use by another cultural institution. These changes come atop the news that the current director Marcos Garcia would need to depart. The various communities that are active in the “public centre for cultural, social and civic innovation” launched a petition to collect support. It asked the Madrid City Council’s Department of Culture to communicate more clearly on their plans, to warrant the continuity of MediaLab Prado and to engage in a dialogue with the communities involved.

Without mingling in any local political processes, we can only support these three wishes.

At the European Cultural Foundation we have very fond memories of the institution, their management and the communities involved in MediaLab Prado. The jury report for the 2016 Princess Margriet Award mentioned “Krétakör and Medialab-Prado haven been chosen for the 2016 European Cultural Foundation Princess Margriet Award for Culture for their exceptional bodies of artistic and cultural work in developing critical spaces of social participation and political experimentation through culture.”


One year later Platoniq, MediaLab Prado, the Madrid City Council’s Department of Culture and European Cultural Foundation hosted the third Idea Camp in MediaLab Prado. Fifty changemakers from all over Europe got to know eachother, worked together, and developed projects under the theme ‘Moving Communities’. The organising team and the participants applauded the welcoming and open atmosphere in MediaLab Prado.  Following the IdeaCamp MediaLab Prado offered residencies to various of the granted participants: Paris Legakis and Nicolai Chirnev & Laura Popplow.

Marcos Garcia and his staff were regular contributors to European Cultural Foundation programmes and public events for we were impressed by the way how their vision allowed various groups of users to meet one another, to discover and play with technologies, therewith learning how to cooperate, and to nourish democratic processes between digital culture and the public sphere in Spain, and abroad. We hope MediaLab Prado will be able to continue to demonstrate “that it is possible to develop new cultural initiatives as permeable, civic-public partnerships that are capable of rethinking public institutions from within.

For Europe needs public spaces like MediaLab Prado, now maybe even more than in 2016.


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