Centers & Labs

The College of Media, Communication and Information is home to several internationally recognized centers of academic excellence that provide valuable new research and insight on contemporary issues. 

The Center for Communication and Democratic Engagement (formerly called BoulderTalks) seeks to foster community and knowledge through democratic engagement. Through teaching, research and outreach we promote communication practices that embody democratic values, such as inclusion, participation and mutual benefit. Center for Communication and Democratic Engagement encourages thoughtful reflection on how we communicate about cultural crises, conflicts and challenges through democratic practices like debate, dialogue, deliberation and performance.

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Founded in 2016, the Center for Documentary and Ethnographic Media advances the field of nonfiction media practice, ranging across long and short-form documentary, web and hypermedia, performance, installation, immersive media and extended reality.  Presenting guest scholars, curators, artists and practitioners, the Center inspires a national forum for documentary practice as an aesthetically and socially responsive art form within a culture that is increasingly expressed through media.

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Through the Center for Environmental Journalism, CMCI seeks to enrich public understanding of environmental issues by elevating the quality, range and depth of coverage by journalists. The center does this by helping seasoned and emerging journalists enhance their knowledge of the scientific, economic, political, and social aspects of these issues. The center also is a leading hub for journalistic reporting on environmental issues and research at the intersection of media, environment and society.

The Ted Scripps Fellowships in Environmental Journalism are at the heart of the CEJ’s professional development efforts. As part of the fellowship program, five journalists spend nine months at the University of Colorado auditing classes; working on long-term, in-depth journalistic projects and reflecting on critical questions—all without the pressure of deadlines.

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The Center for Media, Religion and Culture conducts groundbreaking research and promotes innovative teaching at the intersection of religion, media and public life. It is one of very few institutions worldwide dedicated to academic research, teaching and public outreach in this rapidly emerging field. It brings together national and international scholars, students, professionals and the general public at its widely attended conferences, seminars and workshops.

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The Center for Race, Media and Technology leverages faculty and student thought leadership and insights to better understand how to redesign these systems to be more inclusive and representative of the everyday experiences of Black and Indigenous people of color. 

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The Immersive Media Lab features a teaching/presentation area and four technology workstations. Each station includes hardware and software for creating and showcasing virtual reality, augmented reality and 360-degree experiences.

The departments of Critical Media Practices and Journalism hold immersive technology classes in the lab, and it is also available to faculty and students for research.

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The Media Archaeology Lab houses the largest collection in North America of still-functioning media from the early 20th century through the 21st century. Everything in the lab is meant to be turned on and played with. From phonograph plays and magic lanterns, to typewriters, word processors, early computers from the 1970s through the 2000s, the lab gives students, researchers, and artists the rare opportunity to have hands-on access to historically important devices of all kinds. The lab believes that having the opportunity to experience how things were can help to envision how things could be.

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The Media Economies Design Lab is a think tank for community ownership and governance in media organizations. It creates space for researchers and practitioners to challenge the conventional norms and explore possibilities offered by neglected histories and possible futures. Drawing on diverse fields such as cultural studies, law, management, media archaeology, organizational communication and sociology, MEDLab holds space and time for better kinds of business. 

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Nature, Environment, Science & Technology (NEST) Studio for the Arts is part of the larger campuswide Grand Challenge initiative and is open to all CU Boulder students, faculty, staff, campus units and community partners. CU Boulder is home to some of the top arts, Earth and space science graduate programs in the country. NEST explores the interrelation, generative overlaps and productive differences between these respective arts-based and science-based disciplines. 

NEST seeks projects that engage with central questions of how methodologies within the sciences can inform artists and their appraoch to art making. In turn, what can contemporary art practice reveal about science to scientists? How can we use the practice of art to directly inform the practice of science, and vise versa? What central assumptions in scientific training might be challenged by approaches employed by the arts and humanities? 

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