Since its opening more than a decade ago, a large number of people and groups have been an active part of Medialab Prado (MLP). MLP is a public centre for cultural, social and civic innovation that depends from the Madrid City Council’s Department of Culture. It is an unusual and innovative cultural centre focused on encouraging and facilitating experimentation and participation in line with its position as a public institution open to citizens.
Its programmes and activities promote collaboration between all kinds of agents: neighbours, civil society, companies, research centres and universities, as well as other institutions. All these agents form a large community that has been involved in MLP in occasional or ongoing projects, making it a place where many people come to propose ideas, develop projects collectively, and interact with each other.
All this has made of MLP a pioneering centre, with an important international recognition, thanks to its commitment to free culture, the social uses of technologies, collaborative practices, work with communities and citizen innovation.
The departure of Marcos García as director of MLP, and the lack of any communication regarding what his departure might mean for the continuity of the centre, have generated deep concern in the community. We fear that the very future of such a carefully constructed project as MLP is at stake. Therefore, before any further developments affect the centre in a structural way, we call on the Madrid City Council:
- to communicate publicly and transparently its plans for the immediate future of MLP, starting with the administrative procedure for the designation of a new management and the destination of its current headquarters, in compliance with the criteria for best practice set by the City Council itself;
- to warrant the continuity of MLP’s project and that the lines of work and the values of cultural innovation and citizen participation that have so far proven to be successful, and which have been replicated, adapted and recognised by other institutions around the world, will be maintained;
- to take advantage of the current moment of change to open a process of dialogue with the MLP community, seeking their involvement in the future of the institution.
People who have felt part of the MLP community and have agreed with the defense of this public space, have supported it by signing this manifesto. We thank all of them for their public support and help in the diffusion, whose collection of signatures ends today, March 21, 2021. You can see the complete list here.