Convergence Design Lab is an applied research center and learning design studio. We partner with organizations to prepare youth to become future-ready, media-fluent participants in public life.
As part of the School of Media Arts at Columbia College Chicago, we aim to be an animating force in our Chicago communities and in the larger world beyond by fostering deep connections between the college and cultural, media, news/information and learning ecosystems locally, nationally and globally.
We don’t work in isolation. To address complex challenges, we engage the voices, perspectives and experiences of the people most directly impacted.
Whether it’s designing learning playlists for Chicago youth or helping teachers build strong professional learning communities, we apply the human-centered design process to truly meet the needs of diverse communities.
Our participatory process helps strengthen community ties, foster engagement and build sustainable impact.
We aim to produce long-lasting change. We do this by helping to build vibrant civic media and learning ecosystems that support educational equity and participatory democracy.
Our research and design practices are shaped by social impact theories like Connected Learning and Participatory Media. Connected Learning posits that youth learn best when pursuing interests and passions among a community of peers. Participatory Media flips consumers into active producers who create, remix and share media.
These theories influence our work in learning experience design, audience engagement, research and community building. In turn, the projects we carry out generate shareable data, frameworks and tools that help grow the collective knowledge and capacity of our field.
Locally, we form partnerships that support our strategic vision for Chicago as a connected city with leading innovators such as Chicago Learning Exchange/Hive, The Real Chi and Chicago Cultural Alliance.
Nationally, we work to grow the field by collaborating with education, media, news and civic networks such as Participate, Media Education Lab, 22x20 and many academic research institutions.