metaLAB is a porous community of experimentally-minded scholars, artists, designers, technologists, and thinkers, with affiliations and practices distributed worldwide. Together we instigate and manage a portfolio of projects: some we spin up ourselves intramurally or extramurally; others involve partnerships with public institutions such as libraries, archives, and museums; others still involve commissions or competitions. Projects vary in scope and scale from provocations to platforms and weeks to years. Amidst the ebb and flow of projects, we come together for conversation and shared critique, inspiration, and collaboration. That conversation is ongoing and open, and represents the heart of metaLAB as a community.
There are various forms of involvement with metaLAB. Principals are staff, faculty, and affiliates with longstanding, formal commitments to a number of metaLAB projects. Akin to the principals in a design studio or architectural practice, they advise on strategic matters. Graduate and undergraduate student researchers are typically Harvard-affiliated and enrolled in degree programs within the university; they often serve as team members on metaLAB projects as they pursue their degrees. Visiting researchers are individuals who either come to metaLAB as postdocs (bringing their own external funding) or have a visiting appointment at one of Harvard’s schools; they join metaLAB for purposes of participation in projects and advancing their own research in creative dialogue with the metaLAB community. Affiliates join metaLAB's yearly cycle of conversation and discovery on a less formal basis, participating in weekly meetings, joining projects, and individually or collaboratively advancing their own research and design work.