Mozilla’s latest Creative Media Awards will provide $250,000 to artists reimagining the way data is governed

Mozilla also announces twelve-judge panel of artists, engineers, and activists


(Monday, October 11, 2021 | San Francisco, CA) -- Mozilla is seeking artists and technologists who explore, interrogate, and reimagine the role of data in AI systems — and how that data can be better stewarded to empower people and communities.

Today, Mozilla is opening the call for proposals for its latest round of Creative Media Awards. Mozilla will provide awards up to $30,000 each, for a total of $250,000, to people and projects that illuminate how to reimagine data in a way that shifts power away from big tech platforms and toward individuals and communities.

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This year’s Creative Media Awards program will run in partnership with Mozilla’s Data Futures Lab, an incubator for new models and ideas of data stewardship and governance. Awardees are also welcome — but not required — to incorporate Mozilla’s open-source Common Voice data set into their projects.

Winning projects must be native to the web and accessible to broad audiences. The application deadline is November 23, 2021 at 12pm ET, and winners will be notified by January 28, 2022. Winners will be announced publicly in March 2022.

Says Champika Fernando, Mozilla Data Futures Lab Lead: “How data is gathered, stored, managed, and used greatly impacts AI systems, and also the millions of lives those AI systems intersect with. This is true of nearly all data sets and AI systems, from facial recognition used by law enforcement, to banking algorithms that approve loans, to newsfeeds that recommend content. In short, data stewardship has a tremendous impact on countless lives and communities — but rarely receives the attention it deserves.”

Fernando continues: “This year’s Creative Media Awards ask: What would these tools, mechanisms and data governance models look like in a society that valued care and wellbeing over cost efficiency? Participation over top-down control? Or curiosity over passive consumption?”

Mozilla encourages Creative Media Award submissions that draw from and intersect with movements like Afrofuturism, Indigenous Data Sovereignty, disability justice, and neurodiversity movements, to name a few. The 2021-22 Creative Media Awards particularly seeks applicants from communities most impacted by the current models of data extraction and stewardship, including artists and technologists from: the Global Majority or Global South; women and gender diverse applicants; Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color; migrant and diasporic communities; as well as climate displaced/impacted communities, etc. We do so to support the development of just, viable, and equitable futures.

The Creative Media awards are part of a comprehensive set of activities supported by the NetGain Partnership, a collaboration between Mozilla, Ford Foundation, Knight Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, and the Open Society Foundation. The goal of this philanthropic collaboration is to advance the public interest in the digital age.

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Meet the Judges

This year’s Creative Media Awards will be selected by a panel of twelve judges who are artists, engineers, activists, Mozilla staff, and past Mozilla Fellows and Creative Media Award winners:

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Zeina Abi Assy is the Partnerships & Dialogue Lead at MozFest. Previously, she was the Director of Interactive Programs at Tribeca Film Institute where she focused on the convergence of emerging media, storytelling, technology and social justice. With experience in the Middle East and North America, her work moves between cultural criticism and poetry to investigate the complexity of culture, technology, and politics and their effects on our lived experiences. Her work has appeared in the printed anthology “Arab Women Voice New Realities.”

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Gabriela Agustini is the founder and co-director of Olabi, a social organization that works with Technology; Creativity and Social Innovation in Brazil. The NGO work has been supported by relevant global philanthropy foundations like Ford Foundation, Open Society Foundations, Google.Org and is focused on bringing diversity and inclusion to the technology scene. She also teaches Culture and Technology in a cultural management MBA program at Candido Mendes University in Rio de Janeiro; curate events about the topic and serve as board member for civil society organizations like Institute of Technology and Society of Rio (ITS Rio), Coding Rights, Global Innovation Gathering (GIG). She co-organized “De Baixo para Cima" (Bottom-up) collection (Ed Aeroplano, 2014) and is the host of "Conexão Maker" (Maker Connection), a reality show about emerging technologies and social impact broadcasted by Canal Futura, an educational TV channel in Brazil.

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Johann Diedrick is an artist, engineer, and musician that makes installations, performances, and sculptures for encountering the world through our ears. He surfaces vibratory histories of past interactions inscribed in material and embedded in space, peeling back sonic layers to reveal hidden memories and untold stories. He shares his tools and techniques through listening tours, workshops, and open-source hardware/software. He is the founder of A Quiet Life, a sonic engineering and research studio that designs and builds audio-related software and hardware products for revealing possibilities off the grid through sonic encounter. He is a 2021 Mozilla Creative Media Award recipient, a member of NEW INC, and an adjunct professor at NYU's ITP program. His work has been featured in Wire Magazine, Musicworks Magazine, and presented internationally at MoMA PS1, Ars Electronica, and the Somerset House, among others.

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Stephanie Dinkins is a transmedia artist who creates platforms for dialog about race, gender, aging, and our future histories. Dinkins’ art practice employs emerging technologies, documentary practices, and social collaboration toward equity and community sovereignty. She is driven to work with communities of color to co-create more equitable, values grounded social and technological ecosystems. Dinkins exhibits and publicly advocates for equitable AI internationally. Her work has been generously supported by fellowships, grants, and residencies from United States Artist, The Knight Foundation, Berggruen Institute, Onassis Foundation, Stanford Institute for Human-Centered AI, Creative Capital, Sundance New Frontiers Story Lab, Eyebeam, Data & Society, Pioneer Works, NEW INC, and The Laundromat Project. Dinkins is a professor at Stony Brook University where she holds the Kusama Endowed Professorship in Art.

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Hang Do Thi Duc is a design technologist whose work explores the social web and the effects of data-driven technologies on privacy, identity, and society. She is the creator of the browser extension Data Selfie and the privacy research and data storytelling project about Venmo’s public feed Public By Default. Hang is also a Multimedia Designer at the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit behind Wikipedia and other free knowledge projects.

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Neema Iyer is an artist and a technologist. She is the founder and director of Pollicy, a civic technology organization based in Kampala, Uganda and is a co-host on the Terms and Conditions podcast. Pollicy uses data, design and technology to improve how citizens and government engage around public service delivery. She has a Masters in Public Health from Emory University and has worked on large-scale mobile and digital projects across Africa as part of TTC Mobile (previously Text to Change) and Viamo (previously VOTO Mobile). She currently leads the design of a number of projects focused on building data skills, on fostering conversations on data governance and digital security, and on innovating around policy. Social media handles: @pollicyorg @neemaiyer

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Koliwe Majama is a Zimbabwean Media, Information, Communications and Technologies consultant with over 15 years’ experience working in civil society lobby and advocacy. As a Master in Public Policy and Governance, Koliwe is invested in research, strategy and thought leadership on varying internet governance trends in Africa. Currently Koliwe works with the Association for Progressive Communications as the Coordinator of the African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms (AfDec) coalition and Organiser of the African School on Internet Governance (AfriSIG). Visit: https://koliwemajama.co.zw/

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Opeyemi Olukemi is the current executive director of the Center for Documentary Studies, based in Durham, North Carolina.
Throughout her career as an interactive producer, funder and public programmer, Opeyemi has created spaces and pipelines for interdisciplinary artists, communities, and creative teams to experiment and create meaningful innovative content. She is a fierce advocate of technological equity and eliminating bias from social innovation.

Opeyemi was the executive producer of POV Spark, leading the innovation arm of the nonfiction film program POV and launched the African Interactive Arts residency, the Instagram-based documentary series Otherly and oversaw business-centric convenings focused on strengthening partnerships and funding across the international public media landscape.  Opeyemi served as the Senior Director of Interactive Programs for Tribeca Film Institute overseeing the TFI New Media Fund, the Tribeca Hacks series, as well as producing interactive programs for the Tribeca Film Festival. She has produced for ScrollMotion, building out interactive products for Disney, O: The Oprah Magazine, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Genentech. She was also as an assistant professor of Integrated Media at Brooklyn College’s Barry R. Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema.
Opeyemi has served on numerous international festival juries and has mentored through IDFA’s Doc Academy, New Museum’s NEW INC, Oculus’ VR for Good, Sundance’s New Frontier Lab and the Venice Biennale College Cinema. She is a proud Rockwood (Ford Foundation) JustFilms Fellow

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Anouk Ruhaak creates new models of data governance for the public good, including data commons and data trusts. Before joining Mozilla, Anouk worked as a consultant for the Open Data Institute and a data journalist for Platform Investico, where she researched investigative stories around surveillance and privacy. She has a background in political economics and software development, and founded several communities in the tech space.

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Kathleen Siminyu is an AI Researcher who has focused on Natural Language Processing for African Languages. She will be joining Mozilla Foundation as a Machine Learning Fellow to support the development of a Kiswahili Common Voice dataset and to build speech transcription models for end use cases in the agricultural and financial domains. In her NLP research, Kathleen has previously worked on speech transcription for Luhya languages and contributed to machine translation for Kenyan languages as part of Masakhane. Before joining Mozilla, Kathleen was Regional Coordinator of AI4D Africa, where she worked with ML and AI communities in Africa to run various programs.

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Kostas Stathoulopoulos is a machine learning engineer, working at a startup that quantifies the social and environmental impact of economic activity. He focuses on knowledge discovery and develops tools to measure progress in science. In 2019, Kostas was a Mozilla Open Science Fellow and explored how machine learning and interactive data visualisations can facilitate the search of academic literature. Before Mozilla, Kostas was a Senior Data Scientist at Nesta, the UK’s Innovation Foundation, where he contributed to interactive data platforms that are used by the European Commission and national governments to monitor innovation activity.

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Ahnjili Zhuparris is a clinical data scientist and AI artist. Her PhD research focuses on building machine learning models that detect and predict one's physical and mental health status using their smartphone and wearable data. Given that we live in a data-hungry society where data-greedy tech companies thrive, Ahnjili's AI art explores how to design machine learning algorithms as a form of protest. Ahnjili was a recipient of the 2021 Mozilla Creative Media Award.