MA in Civic Media: Art and Practice

Emerson College

Program Description

MA in Civic Media: Art and Practice

Emerson College

Program Details

Civic Media: Art and Practice (CMAP) is a one-year intensive applied research MA program housed in Emerson’s Engagement Lab. In contrast to traditional coursework, you’ll connect with potential community stakeholders from the outset and work with those organizations as you formulate your thesis project.

The CMAP program responds to the burgeoning landscape of media and technology with a program that is applied, embedded in communities, and represents a deviation from the traditional way a graduate higher education program works. The program is design-oriented and requires the building of technologies, games, public art installations, participatory storytelling platforms, and other processes and practices that support the ambitions of the cohort.

We understand the components of CMAP as follows:

  • Civic Media are the technologies, designs, and practices that support connecting a common purpose, ranging from systematic interventions to the creative and interpretative acts that rest in the realm of art. The program focuses on the challenges of implementation: each student is confronted with the complexity of moving theory into practice, together with organizational partners.
  • Art in our program is understood as the production of creative objects, platforms, and actions that go beyond the walls of galleries and museums and relate to questions of collective good rather than, or in addition to, personal self-expression.
  • Practice is understood here as the application of student experiences in the real world. This does not mean where students will go for jobs once they are finished, but rather the application of all curricular work towards community engagement, whether local, national, or global, and non-profit, governmental, or private.

Learning Outcomes

CMAP pulls all of the core concepts and ideas of civic media into an intensive one-year program, during which students will:

  • articulate a sophisticated understanding of contemporary issues in media, communication, and technology that impact civic life
  • use a variety of participatory design and research approaches and methodologies, including human-centered design and participatory action research
  • employ the appropriate strategies to effectively communicate and work with communities
  • address, in classes and projects, the major scholarly debates regarding the interplay of new technologies, art, and civic and political life
  • discuss, write about, and design projects around the global scope of civic media and be able to situate local problems within a global context

In Demand in Today's Market

There is an increasing number of jobs in civic media within the public, private, and non-profit sectors. Students in the program gain experience working with a variety of community-based organizations and will be prepared for jobs such as:

  • Community Manager
  • Director of Civic Engagement
  • Civic Technologist
  • Civic Artist
  • Digital Strategist
  • Innovation Director
  • Civic Designer
  • New Media Catalyst
  • Communications Director
  • Community Relations Specialist
  • Corporate Social Responsibility Manager

Past graduates of CMAP currently work in various industries and organizations where they apply the skills and knowledge gained from the program, including the Obama Foundation, Global Family Research Project, Harvard Kennedy School, and more.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated March 16, 2018
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Sept. 2019
1 year
USA - Boston, Massachusetts
Start date : Sept. 2019
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Sept. 2019
USA - Boston, Massachusetts
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info

Introducing Civic Media: Art & Practice from Engagement Lab on Vimeo.