Note: The call for applications for the 2023 Just Tech Fellowship will be released in Fall 2022.
The Just Tech Fellowship supports and mobilizes diverse and cross-sector cohorts of researchers and practitioners to imagine and create more just, equitable, and representative technological futures. Fellows will identify and challenge injustices emerging from new technologies, and identify solutions that advance social, political, and economic rights.
Fellows receive two-year awards of $100,000 per year, robust supplementary funding packages to subsidize additional expenses, and seed funding to work on collaborative projects with other Just Tech Fellows. The fellowship will provide the space and time necessary for deep reflection, as well as an engaged community and opportunities to facilitate ambitious co-creation.
New technologies have opened doors to connection, creativity, learning, and justice, but emergent benefits and harms have not been distributed equally. From artificial intelligence to data harvesting to the gig economy, new technology has also ushered in more expansive surveillance and given platforms to hate speech and automated discrimination.
Investigations into the uneven political and social impacts of technology are not well understood by the general public and are too often left out of policy decisions. And the same communities that have pioneered work to uncover the harms of ill-conceived technological designs are subject to historical and ongoing forms of discrimination and are underrepresented in positions of power.
It doesn’t have to be this way. As the world reckons with a global legacy of systemic discrimination and racial injustice, we have an opportunity to reimagine the limits and potential of new technology and to ensure that both expertise and experiential knowledge inform efforts to produce structural change.
The Just Tech Fellowship and its fellows seek to build toward technological futures that celebrate and manifest justice, equity, agency, knowledge, and joy.
Just Tech takes a capacious view of “researchers and practitioners.” By supporting a vibrant network that reflects diverse communities and life experiences, Just Tech will identify solutions that protect and expand social, political, and economic justice and challenge persistent inequities.
The Just Tech Fellowship experience will be collaborative, seeking active points of participation as it evolves. Through regular convenings and workshops, as well as through purposeful engagement with external stakeholders and peer organizations, the fellowship will establish lasting personal and professional connections and will offer practical support and learning opportunities matched to the needs and suggestions of the fellows community.
The Just Tech program will administer two-year awards of $100,000 per year, augmented by robust supplementary funding packages to subsidize expenses related to dependent care, health care, workspace, technical equipment, project materials, communications, or other needs. These innovative awards are designed not only to support a researcher’s work but to invest in their entire person and to build a supportive and collaborative community. Fellows may apply for additional funding to seed collaborative projects within or across Just Tech cohorts.
2021 Fellowship Theme: Crisis and Reparation
From Katrina to the Covid-19 pandemic, crises exacerbate social inequalities and have disproportionate effects on historically marginalized populations. Differences in available infrastructure, long-term support, and economic security are made starker amid crises such as disasters, pandemics, violence, and social unrest. And while disasters and other crises are often imagined as singular events, their effects can endure for generations.
Technology can be seen as both the cause of and a solution to crises. Over the last two years, the Covid-19 pandemic and accompanying crises have laid bare biases and inequities that structure technological experience in social context, from contact tracing apps to facial recognition algorithms to remote surveillance. At a world-historic moment of crisis and social upheaval, Just Tech invites applicants to reflect on how technology is implicated in the ways societies meet—or fail to meet—crises, and how technology may be leveraged in service of empathic and community-centered repair and reparation.