The Social Science Research Council is proud to announce that we are seeking applicants for the third cohort of the Just Tech Fellowship. This fellowship supports and mobilizes diverse and cross-sector cohorts of practitioners to imagine and create more just, equitable, and representative technological futures. Fellows have committed to identifying and challenging injustices emerging from new technologies and pursuing solutions that advance social, political, and economic rights.
Fellows receive two-year awards of $100,000 annually, robust supplementary funding to subsidize additional expenses, and separate seed funding to collaborate with other Just Tech Fellows. The fellowship believes that this model of Whole Person support provides the space and time necessary for deep reflection, an engaged community, and opportunities for ambitious cocreation.
The application portal will open on November 17, 2023. Completed applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. The last day to submit Application Materials is January 31, 2024, at 11:59 p.m. EST.
We find ourselves at a critical juncture where technology rapidly alters the fabric of what we once knew. History has shown us that policymakers and Big Tech titans should not be the only forces guiding our trajectory in these times of change. Investigations into technology’s uneven political and social impacts must be better understood by the general public and included in policy decisions.
The Just Tech Fellowship recognizes that our communities are home to brilliant artists, activists, technologists, and thinkers who have laid fertile soil for equitable change. They need an ecosystem of care to continue their work. As the world reckons with a global legacy of systemic discrimination, we can reimagine the limits and potential of new technology and ensure that expertise and experiential knowledge inform efforts to produce structural change. The Just Tech Fellowship and its fellows seek to build technological futures that celebrate and manifest justice, equity, agency, knowledge, and joy.
“The Just Tech Fellowship creates a community of leaders moving from ‘we know this isn’t working for us’ to ‘let’s build something that actually does work for us’ […] That is amazing at a time when optimism feels a little scarce.”
-Nabiha Syed, Just Tech Advisory Board Member and President, The Markup.
Meet the Just Tech Fellows
Tawana Petty, an artist, social justice organizer, and author, will create a theatrical performance, popular education tools, and workshops engaging the conflation of surveillance and safety. Her project will leverage poetry and community stories to educate the public to think critically about policing technologies so they can advocate for themselves and create a just future.
Jess Moore Matthews, founder of Backbone Digital Leaders, endeavors to center disabled communities during the election campaign season. By privileging the voices of disabled volunteers and voters, Jess believes that we can identify and expand the digital organizing technologies that make campaigns, elected offices, and our communities more equitable and accessible for all.
Johann Diedrick, an artist and engineer, will examine the origins of racial bias in emerging speech AI. He plans to bring together a consortium of scholars, researchers, artists, and engineers to think holistically about AI bias and implement a new vision for AI-powered speech technologies that allows all voices to be heard.
Jay Cunningham is a computer scientist and AI and machine learning researcher. He will codesign a Black community-led research organization that equips communities with the knowledge, tools, and support to challenge racist assumptions in AI systems and the flawed data sets behind them.
Fernanda Rosa is a participatory design researcher and expert on internet governance and social justice in Latin America. Her work will focus on internet infrastructure and data sovereignty among Indigenous Tseltal and Zapoteco communities in Chiapas and Oaxaca (Mexico).
Adrienne Williams is a labor organizer and researcher with Distributed AI Research Institute. She will develop a calculator to quantify the wage theft inflicted on Amazon delivery drivers based on worker surveillance technology.
Danielle Blunt, a sex worker and cofounder/researcher at Hacking//Hustling, will investigate how criminalization is mediated by surveillance technology and how criminalized communities have adapted to shifting legal landscapes online.
Kim Gallon, founder of COVID Black, an organization that has taken on racial health disparities throughout the pandemic by telling empowering stories about Black life, will create a justice-centered framework for the design and development of health information technology.
Chris Gilliard, a community college professor and widely published critic and advocate for civil rights in tech, will map novel surveillance practices and technologies to create a taxonomy for identifying and assessing their social impact and risk for marginalized communities.
Christine Miranda, a community organizer and digital director with Movimiento Cosecha, a national movement fighting for immigrants’ rights, will research and develop shared resources for decentralized digital organizing strategies.
Clarence Okoh, a civil rights attorney, will analyze the impact of carceral technologies on the civil and human rights of Black students in public school systems with longstanding histories of systemic racial discrimination.
Meme Styles, founder of MEASURE, a social enterprise creating antiracist evaluation tools and providing free data support for Black, Brown, and Indigenous-led organizations, will develop a data-sharing tool to enable strategic collaboration.
Rua Williams, a computer graphics designer and disability justice advocate, will partner with adaptive technology users, developers, and user-experience designers to develop a collective “Cyborg Maintenance” approach to advancing collective self-determination by eliminating barriers to equipment access, maintenance, and customization.