Activism / Arts & Culture / Civic Engagement / Communication / Justice & Equality / Racial & Gender Equity

Culture Lab

Tools

Citizen Engagement Laboratory

increases the rate of societal and political change by accelerating tech-savvy, people-powered organizing initiatives.

Overview:

Helping social justice groups harness the power of pop culture.

The Culture Lab serves as an “action tank” (think tank + action center) to help social change groups tap into the power of entertainment to inspire action and move us closer to the just, equitable, and sustainable world we seek.

Recent culture-driven breakthroughs on issues like LGBT equality have prompted social justice groups to pay attention to the evocative power of movies, shows, and music. But for the most part, nonprofits are still attuned to news cycles, not the popular narratives and fan conversations that activate the imaginations of millions.

Culture Lab provides the resources, tools, creative content and relationships to help changemakers listen, meet people where they already are, make the most of pop trends, and inspire action.

Our methods are designed to increase social change groups’ savvy and ability to develop cultural strategies. We do this through:

  • Prototypes and Pilots: We use a learn-design-act cycle to test new tools, content, and events with partners. Our experiments yield insights and solutions that are useful far beyond a single issue or campaign. We share those insights and continue to build on them to push the field forward.
  • Collective Resources: Commercial marketing agencies and their data-trackers are often too expensive–– and not aligned with the goals of justice and equity groups. We lower costs with tools that are designed to be shared across movements and issue areas.
  • Collaborative Activities: We organize and support cohorts of groups with related issue and policy agendas, making it easy for participants to build off each other’s insights and amplify their work.
  • Wide Distribution: We believe in open-source ideas, and aim to scale our tools, content and programs in ways that are low-cost and high-yield for our social justice “customers” and partners.

Spud’s Thoughts:

I’m always fascinated how you can pop culture and entertainment as a vehicle to communicate messages of social change. This is where my fascination with wanting to work for Disney originated from (at some point I’ll get down and work for them) and is why one of my startups was focused on launching a social innovation talent agency. I haven’t had a chance to dig too much into this group’s work, but they have a few different reports and guides as it relates to weaving together pop culture and social change.