Convergence, friends & supporters at the Digital Atelier opening
About Us
We are an applied research center and learning design studio.

Convergence Design Lab is an applied research center and learning design studio. We partner with organizations to prepare youth to become future-ready, media-fluent participants in public life.

As part of the School of Media Arts at Columbia College Chicago, we aim to be an animating force in our Chicago communities and in the larger world beyond by fostering deep connections between the college and cultural, media, news/information and learning ecosystems locally, nationally and globally.

Our Process
We collaboratively design sustainable solutions.

We don’t work in isolation. To address complex challenges, we engage the voices, perspectives and experiences of the people most directly impacted.

Whether it’s designing learning playlists for Chicago youth or helping teachers build strong professional learning communities, we apply the human-centered design process to truly meet the needs of diverse communities.

Our participatory process helps strengthen community ties, foster engagement and build sustainable impact.

Theories of Change
We are experts in the field of participatory media and learning.

We aim to produce long-lasting change. We do this by helping to build vibrant civic media and learning ecosystems that support educational equity and participatory democracy.

Our research and design practices are shaped by social impact theories like Connected Learning and Participatory Media. Connected Learning posits that youth learn best when pursuing interests and passions among a community of peers. Participatory Media flips consumers into active producers who create, remix and share media.

These theories influence our work in learning experience design, audience engagement, research and community building. In turn, the projects we carry out generate shareable data, frameworks and tools that help grow the collective knowledge and capacity of our field.

Our Partners
We build long-term, sustainable partnerships.

Locally, we form partnerships that support our strategic vision for Chicago as a connected city with leading innovators such as Chicago Learning Exchange/Hive, The Real Chi and Chicago Cultural Alliance.

Nationally, we work to grow the field by collaborating with education, media, news and civic networks such as Participate, Media Education Lab, 22x20 and many academic research institutions.

Placeholder
The Team
We are a team of learning designers, researchers and creative technologists.
Eric Freedman, Ph.D.
Eric Freedman, Ph.D.
Dean of the School of Media Arts
Mindy Faber
Mindy Faber
Program Director
Margaret Conway
Margaret Conway
Program Manager
Michael Hadley
Michael Hadley
Learning Product Developer
Yonty Friesem
Yonty Friesem
Associated Faculty
Jabari Evans
Jabari Evans
Research Associate
Arlana Shikongo
Arlana Shikongo
Research Assistant
Virginia Killian Lund
Virginia Killian Lund
Research Associate
Natalia Smirnov
Natalia Smirnov
Research Associate

Want to partner with us?
Let's have a conversation.