The Medialab Matadero, formerly known as Medialab Prado, is a cultural space and citizen lab in Madrid (Spain). It was created by the Madrid City Council in 2000, growing since then into a leading center for citizen innovation.[4] It follows a participatory approach, using collective intelligence methods (developed in living labs) and fast prototyping tools such as fab labs,[5][2] to use and co-create digital commons.[6][7]

Medialab Matadero
Medialab-Prado building
Established2000; 24 years ago (2000)[1]
Budget$2.5 million[2]
Field of research
Citizen science, Free culture, Open source, Participatory design
DirectorMarcos García[3]
LocationMadrid, Spain



The Medialab Matadero started in 2000 as a cultural program of the Madrid City Council within the cultural center Conde Duque.[1] In 2002, it was named "Medialab Madrid", a space focused on the research, production and dissemination of cultural works around society, science, art and digital technologies.

In 2007, it was moved to the basements of the old industrial building Serrería Belga (Belgian Sawmill), and renamed "Medialab-Prado" because of its new location next to the Prado Museum and the Paseo del Prado boulevard. This industrial building was originally built in 1920s and owned by Belgian migrants, and it remained in operation until the 2000 when it was sold to the City Council.[8]

In 2010, it received an honorary award from Prix Ars Electronica.[9][10]

In 2013, after an extensive refurbishment effort of the Serrería building, the center started using the 4000 m2 and all the floors of the now renovated building.[8] This refurbishment was awarded multiple awards, including the 12th Spanish Biennial of Architecture and Town Planning award, the COAM 2013 award and the Sacyr innovation award 2014.[11]

In 2014, the City Council considered renting the building to the Telefónica corporation, in order to host innovation hub initiatives such as Wayra.[12] A manifest signed by a list of renowned names (such as Javier de la Cueva or Antonio Lafuente) supporting the center was published, and eventually the building remained for the sole use of MLP.[13]

In 2016, Medialab-Prado was awarded the Princess Margriet Award by the European Cultural Foundation, for "developing critical spaces of social participation and political experimentation through culture".[14][15]

In 2021, the Medialab was moved again by the Madrid townhall, from its Serrería Belga location to the Matadero Madrid centre and renamed Medialab Matadero.[16]


Edit-a-thon "Wiki-witches" to increase women representation in Wikipedia, held in Medialab-Prado

Medialab-Prado stated to follow these methodological principles:[17]

  • Community and Mediation: it holds a cultural mediation programme with the aim to interconnect users and projects. In order to facilitate it, users may form work groups that are hosted in the space. It also provides an online platform to facilitate interaction and visibility.[18]
  • Prototyping: the center focuses on experimentation, and on implementing the initial phases of new ideas. To facilitate this, it makes regular open calls for participation in collaborative prototyping workshops.[17]
  • Free Culture & Commons: it promotes the use of free open source tools, all online content is published under open licenses, and all work groups must open and share their outcomes and processes.[17]
  • Networks: Medialab-Prado belongs to collaboration networks at both the local and international level, with the aim to share and exchange practices. Locally, it holds workshops concerning different Madrid neighbourhoods, and collaborates with different public institutions. Internationally, it has collaborated in multiple EU-funded projects[19][20][21][22] and with Latin American institutions through the SEGIB Citizen Innovation programme.[23]


Media Facade of Medialab-Prado

The type of activities are pretty diverse, organized in several lines of work[24] or "labs":

  • DataLab, Lab on open data, such as hosting The Glass Room by Tactical Tech and Mozilla,[25] or the data visualization workshops Visualizar.[26][27]
  • ParticipaLab, Lab on collective intelligence for democratic participation, such as the "Collective Intelligence for Democracy" international call.[28]
  • InCiLab, Lab of citizen innovation, such as the "Madrid Listens" project, to connect City Hall officials with citizens on specific projects,[28] and other open democracy experiments.[29]
  • PrototipaLab, Lab of creative prototyping, such as a collaboration with African cultural mediators,[30] urban art interventions,[31] or artist residencies.[32][33]
  • CiCiLab, Lab of citizen science, including events on scientific outreach.[34][35]
  • AVLab, Lab of audio-video experimentation, such as innovative participatory games,[36][37] or projecting documentaries on the topic.[38]

In the past, it also hosted a Commons Lab coordinated by Antonio Lafuente[39] although its activities are now included in the other labs.

International recognition


In 2010, it received an honorary award from Prix Ars Electronica.[9][10] And in 2016, it was awarded the Princess Margriet Award by the European Cultural Foundation, for "developing critical spaces of social participation and political experimentation through culture".[14][15] It was the first Spanish institution that receives it.[40]

Medialab Matadero has hosted multiple talks of renowned names, including major academics such as Nancy Fraser,[41] Yochai Benkler,[42] or Langdon Winner,[43] or politicians such as EU Commissioner Karmenu Vella.[44] It has also been venue of international events such as Libre Graphics Meeting,[45] the Red Bull Music Academy,[46] the Media Facades Festival Europe,[47] or the Madrid Design Festival.[48]

It was due to one of Medialab Matadero events that the open hardware project Arduino reached international attention.[49] Its Spanish co-founder, David Cuartielles, presented Arduino in the center, where Ars Electronica festival director Gerfried Stoker saw it and invited him to show it at the festival.[49]

Medialab Matadero has been referred by the European Cultural Foundation as "cultural change-makers enacting alternatives in the face of political adversities",[50] and by the UNDP as example of "new spaces [that] are needed for citizens and communities to access [...] digital opportunities".[51] Others claim they "enable the creation of new and highly constructive new communities of concern around difficult topics, as well as building legitimacy for bold experimental approaches",[52] that they are "reinventing mediation patterns" (,[53] turning Madrid into "an international reference of the urban commons" (openDemocracy),[28] the most relevant Spanish citizen lab (El Mundo),[54] "emerging institutions at the intersection of art and technology" (TechCrunch).[55]

See also



  1. ^ a b "History | Medialab-Prado Madrid". Retrieved 2019-12-14.
  2. ^ a b Fanjul, Sergio C. (2016-03-27). "¿Qué es MediaLab?". El País (in Spanish). ISSN 1134-6582. Retrieved 2019-12-12.
  3. ^ "Marcos García | Medialab-Prado Madrid". Retrieved 2019-12-12.
  4. ^ "Madrid as a democracy lab". openDemocracy. Retrieved 2019-12-12.
  5. ^ "The hypothesis of cultural third places". Retrieved 2019-12-12.
  6. ^ "Featured People: Medialab-Prado - LIBRARY". European Cultural Foundation. Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  7. ^ Laboratorios de innovación ciudadana | Marcos García | TEDxMadrid, retrieved 2020-01-05
  8. ^ a b "The building: Belgian Sawmill | Medialab-Prado Madrid". Retrieved 2019-12-14.
  9. ^ a b "La tecnología aplicada al cuerpo triunfa en los premios Ars Electronica". El País (in Spanish). 2010-05-27. ISSN 1134-6582. Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  10. ^ a b "Medialab-Prado receives an Honorary Mention at Prix Ars Electronica 2010 | Medialab-Prado Madrid". Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  11. ^ Ocio, Guia del. "9. Serrería Belga / Huellas de la arquitectura industrial en Madrid / A fondo / Guía del ocio -". Guía del Ocio: Cine, Teatro, Conciertos, Arte, Restaurantes y locales (in European Spanish). Retrieved 2019-12-14.
  12. ^ Bosco, Roberta (2014-04-08). "Medialab se asoma a su futuro". El País (in Spanish). ISSN 1134-6582. Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  13. ^ Peirano, Marta (7 April 2014). "El Ayuntamiento de Madrid quiere desahuciar a MediaLab-Prado". (in Spanish). Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  14. ^ a b "Press Release 15/03/2016: 2016 ECF Princess Margriet Award for Culture presented to KRÉTAKÖR (HUNGARY) and MEDIALAB-PRADO (SPAIN) - LIBRARY". European Cultural Foundation. Retrieved 2019-12-12.
  15. ^ a b Ferrer, Isabel (2015-11-24). "Medialab-Prado, premiado por la Fundación Europea de la Cultura". El País (in Spanish). ISSN 1134-6582. Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  16. ^ Mendoza, Sofía Pérez (2021-02-24). "Levy desaloja Medialab Prado para trasladarlo a Matadero y abrir un centro de "creación contemporánea" en su sede". (in Spanish). Retrieved 2023-03-18.
  17. ^ a b c "About | Medialab-Prado Madrid". Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  18. ^ "Comunidad | Medialab-Prado Madrid". Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  19. ^ "Partners | Doing It Together Science". Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  20. ^ "Do It Together Science Bus". Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  21. ^ metabody. "Metabody – PARTNERS". Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  22. ^ European Commission (31 December 2014). "StudioLab - a new European platform for creative interactions between art and science". CORDIS. Retrieved 5 January 2020.
  23. ^ "Madrid y Zaragoza conectando la Innovación Ciudadana en Iberoamérica | SEGIB". 11 December 2017. Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  24. ^ "Medialab Prado se insertará en su nueva etapa en ecosistemas de innovación con talleres de prototipos y más colaboración". Europa Press. 2018-10-26. Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  25. ^ "The Glass Room Experience Madrid". Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  26. ^ "Visualizar | Medialab-Prado Madrid". Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  27. ^ BOSCO, R.; CALDANA, S. (2011-07-26). "El arte de visualizar los datos". El País (in Spanish). ISSN 1134-6582. Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  28. ^ a b c "Madrid as a democracy lab". openDemocracy. Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  29. ^ "Random election, the G1000 and deliberation to change Madrid". openDemocracy. Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  30. ^ Iglesias, Analía (2019-10-17). "Lo que se puede aprender de los animadores culturales africanos". El País (in Spanish). ISSN 1134-6582. Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  31. ^ Fanjul, Sergio C. (2015-08-06). "Arte para humanizar Madrid". El País (in Spanish). ISSN 1134-6582. Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  32. ^ "50 ideas to foster democratic values and citizen participation – Connected Action". Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  33. ^ "The Continuous Loop of Feelings: Anaisa Franco On Her Mind-Bending Interactive Sculptures | Newcity Brazil". 2019-07-02. Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  34. ^ "La Noche de los Investigadores vuelve este viernes con más de 60 actividades". La Vanguardia (in Spanish). 2019-09-26. Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  35. ^ (2014-12-15). "'Escena, humor y ciencia ficción', en Medialab-Prado". Zona Retiro - (in Spanish). Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  36. ^ "Control a Game of Tetris With Your Body and a Buddy". PCWorld. 2010-10-12. Retrieved 2019-12-14.
  37. ^ "Body tracking Tetris game lights up the streets of Madrid (video)". Engadget. Retrieved 2019-12-14.
  38. ^ VELASCO, JUAN (2019-11-25). "Madrid acoge el estreno de un documental pionero dirigido por un cordobés". CORDÓPOLIS, el Diario Digital de Córdoba (in European Spanish). Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  39. ^ Madrid, ANTONIO FRAGUAS | (2011-12-28). "Reportaje | La revolución cultural del procomún". El País (in Spanish). ISSN 1134-6582. Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  40. ^ Fanjul, Sergio C. (2016-03-27). "¿Qué es MediaLab?". El País (in Spanish). ISSN 1134-6582. Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  41. ^ Editor, Logopress- (2019-03-20). "Conferencia de la feminista Nancy Fraser en el Museo Reina Sofía". Revista de Arte - Logopress (in Spanish). Retrieved 2020-01-05. {{cite web}}: |last= has generic name (help)
  42. ^ "Seminar with Yochai Benkler about The Wealth of Networks". Medialab-Prado Madrid. Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  43. ^ "Seminario con Langdon Winner: ¿Tienen política los artefactos?". Medialab-Prado Madrid (in Spanish). Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  44. ^ "Citizens' Dialogue in Madrid with Commissioner Karmenu Vella". European Commission - European Commission. Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  45. ^ "Medialab-prado-in-madrid-and-the-printing-industry / Libre graphics meeting, April 10-13 2013, Madrid". Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  46. ^ "RedBull Music Academy Bass Camp: la fiesta llega al metro". (in Spanish). Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  47. ^ "Review on Media Facades Festival Europe 2010". MAI. 2011-01-11. Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  48. ^ "Guest Venues". Madrid Design Festival. Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  49. ^ a b "Medialab Prado, un espacio de premio donde hacen electro ganchillo y prótesis para niños amputados". ELMUNDO (in Spanish). 2016-02-26. Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  50. ^ "2019 ECF Princess Margriet Award for Culture laureates announced - Announcements - e-flux". Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  51. ^ "Urbanizing Africa; avoiding pitfalls and embracing opportunities". UNDP. Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  52. ^ "How to make governance fit for the future: 7 lessons from innovators". Apolitical. Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  53. ^ "The hypothesis of cultural third places". Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  54. ^ "Laboratorios ciudadanos: espacios abiertos para crear comunidad". ELMUNDO (in Spanish). 2019-09-07. Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  55. ^ Cutler, Kim-Mai (30 May 2014). "Arts And Tech Non-Profit Gray Area Is A Symbol For A Changing City". Tech Crunch. Retrieved 6 January 2020.