Call for 2020-2021 Faculty Fellows: Race & Technology

 

Deadline for applications: December 16, 2020

For questions, email fellowsapp@datasociety.net

 

About the Fellows Program 

Data & Society is assembling its eighth class of fellows to join us for 10 months, starting September 1, 2021. Our fellows program helps ensure that new connections and perspectives deepen and expand our community’s understanding of the challenges and opportunities society faces in a data-centric world. (Please meet our current and past fellows classes here.)

Data & Society fellows have pursued academic research, written code, created art, brought together communities of activists and practice, run workshops and hosted convenings, worked closely with Data & Society’s in-house research team across research initiatives and each other, and much more.

Fellows are researchers concerned with the implications of data-centric technology’s role in reconfiguring society. We are engaged, individually and together, in interrogating and articulating those implications and developing frames that can help society address emergent tensions. As we build the 2021-2022 class, we’re continuing to embrace breadth and diversity in our selection process.

 

2021-2022 Faculty Fellows Call

The current moment demands new thinking on the role of race in the theory, practice, and study of data-centric technologies. For the 2021-2022 program, Data & Society is seeking two Faculty Fellows whose research projects specifically focus on issues of race and technology. Continuing Data & Society’s history of work on fairness, equity, and civil rights, these faculty fellows will bring a justice-oriented perspective and intersectional approach to their interrogations of race and data. 

Broadly, their research projects will advance our mission and complement our work by:

We invite applications from faculty of any rank and discipline who are at least two years beyond receipt of their Ph.D. by the start of the fellowship. Fields can include, but are not limited to: the humanistic social sciences, African American studies, ethnic studies, Indigenous studies, Asian American studies, gender studies, Latinx studies, computer science, information and library sciences, data science, law, journalism, and media studies. 

Successful applicants should have a track record of engaging in research at the intersection of technology and race, and should be committed to working in highly interdisciplinary environments. Appreciation for different methodological approaches and ways of knowing are valued at Data & Society.

While at Data & Society, Faculty Fellows will conduct original research, publish findings in both scholarly and public-facing venues, and engage with broader constituencies across numerous disciplines and perspectives. Faculty Fellows are expected to be active members of the Data & Society community – participating in seminars, research exchange, and events; supporting and mentoring peers in research development; and helping translate scholarly knowledge for a wide range of stakeholders.

 

Projects & Themes

Data & Society prioritizes ambitious empirical and creative research projects that address complex socio-technical questions. We are looking for Faculty Fellows who have strong analytic, methodological, and theoretical foundations who are passionate about working alongside and with empirical researchers. Faculty Fellows may be looking to advance technical work, design policy interventions, bring historical insights into current conversations, or do new fieldwork.

Potential Faculty Fellows are invited to imagine a specific project or set of activities that they will execute to help society’s understanding of a world increasingly made of and by data. Successful fellowship projects inform, convene, intervene, or provoke – with an eye to broader impact.

We are open to a wide range of potential outputs, from scholarly articles to op-eds, events to code. We are also particularly interested in creating connections and exchange between our in-house research and Faculty Fellows’ projects. Furthermore, we love it when our fellows experiment with new ideas or stretch our work and network in unexpected directions. 

Potential questions that the Race & Technology Fellows might address are:

    • What would a safe internet look like for vulnerable populations? What would it mean for marginalized communities to feel and experience real trust and safety on social media platforms?  
    • How does algorithmic discrimination emerge within sociotechnnical l systems? 
    • How does race become a salient category in data-driven systems? How is power reinforced through data infrastructures? And how do racism and discrimination become outcomes?
    • How do health surveillance technologies impact Black, Latinx, and Indigenous populations in the United States and transnationally?
    • How might approaches to restorative justice in other discourses and contexts inform how platforms develop mechanisms for the redress of harms?
    • How do the assumptions, intentions, and ideologies of designers of online platforms contribute to the emergence of platform vulnerabilities and inequalities of access? 
    • What can we learn from successful, alternative approaches to the use, storage, and circulation of data-- specifically those led by vulnerable populations -- to cultivating trust and safety online for Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities?
    • How can we build equity around collection, sharing, use, and privacy of health and worker data through policy and product design?
    • What might Black, Latinx, and Indigenous digital practices teach us about how systems are repurposed for pleasure, community, and activism? 

We invite applications for projects that intersect, develop, or complement these topics.

 

Participation & Cohort

This is not a fellowship for those who want to spend a year head-down on an independent project. Rather, this is a program for people who are looking for ways to create impact both within and beyond their field as well as collaborate with researchers and practitioners. Successful candidates will see the value of their work within an interdisciplinary community and recognize the opportunities for growth from working in a dynamic environment. Faculty Fellow candidates should enjoy working on collaborative teams, mentoring junior researchers, and engaging broad audiences with research.

Fellows commit to being an active participant with Data & Society for at least two days each week, although many Faculty Fellows benefit from deeper engagement. Each fellow, over the course of their fellowship, will pursue a project or set of activities of their own design.

Fellows are also asked to engage with Data & Society – both at the organizational level and with the broader community. This engagement can take a number of different forms, from organizing seminars with visitors, to developing workshops, to working on in-house publications, and much, much more. We ask that all fellows either participate in or lead a monthly reading group, as well as produce a scholarly, artistic, or performance-based intervention for Data & Society, which can take the form of a report, primer, video series, or event with an accompanying blog post. Beyond that, the choice of where and how to participate is part of the fellowship design process between the fellow and Data & Society staff.

Beyond the in-house cohort, Data & Society fellows are also connected to past fellows, our affiliates, and a broad field of actors both in New York City and beyond engage with Data & Society for workshops, seminars, social gatherings, and talks.

 

Term

Residency typically runs from September 1 through June 30 of the following year. If you would like to apply for a fellowship but cannot commit to a full term, please flag that in your application, as we are open to considering and accommodating some variations on terms.

 

Funding

Fellows are offered a stipend of $25,000 with additional, approved project costs up to $5,000 available to them. If we are able to accommodate a fellowship period shorter than ten months, the stipend will be prorated on a monthly basis.

All fellows will have access to email addresses and other virtual communication tools and programmatic and organizational support to advance their work.

As a 501(c)(3) organization, we support fellows in applying for both federal and philanthropic grants and we work with fellows currently holding grants to craft an appropriate fellowship that allows them to honor commitments to grantors.

While we welcome applications from outside the United States, we are currently unable to support the acquisition of visas. If you are applying from outside the United States and are accepted, you will need to secure your own visa and, depending on your situation, work permit, should you decide to reside in New York City for the term of your fellowship.

 

Application Process

To apply for a Data & Society fellowship, we’ll ask you to complete an application on Greenhouse. You’ll be submitting information about yourself and your work to date, including:

  • Cover letter;
  • Resume or CV;
  • Two sample scholarly publications;
  • Project summary and brief (1000 word) proposal;
  • Names and contact information for three recommenders

Applications are due December 16, 2020. Selected applicants will be contacted for an interview with Data & Society staff, fellows, and/or advisors, and may be asked for additional information such as project budgets as they move through the review process.

Successful applicants will be notified in the spring, with a public announcement to follow.

 

FAQs

What is the stipend?
Assuming a 10-month commitment, the stipend is $25,000. Data & Society supplies up to $5,000 in project costs and provides organizational support around logistics, communications, and other areas.

What kinds of interactions or collaborations can I expect?
The Data & Society annual cohort (fellows, postdoctoral scholars, and Data & Society researchers) is a rich and diverse group. You will be asked to participate or lead regular programming that brings the cohort together along different thematic and topical lines, facilitating both meaningful discussion and project collaborations. Beyond the cohort, you will be a part of Data & Society’s wider community of affiliates, friends, collaborators, and supporters. While Data & Society programming is set up to put you in contact with many different people from many different disciplines and professional backgrounds, it will be up to you to turn those interactions into meaningful collaborations. Over the course of our past three fellowship years, we’ve seen this happen more and more and are happy to support those collaborations as much as we can from an organizational perspective.

Can I work on my thesis/dissertation/book?
The goal of the fellowship program is to support research that is public-facing and focused on making an impact in a broad sense. We are not looking to support academics whose projects are intended solely to speak to academic audiences. Should your thesis/dissertation/book project lend itself to spending a year collaborating with others and working on public-facing outputs, embrace the synergies! But if you’re looking to hunker down and work in isolation to produce academic content, this is probably not the fellowship for you.

I applied last year. May I apply again?
Yes. But please do not submit the same project proposal without meaningful rethinking and revision.

When do I hear from you? What is the timeframe for decisions?
The deadline to apply is December 16, 2020. We will begin looking at applications in mid-December. We will begin setting up interviews with candidates in January 2021 and aim to make fellowship decisions by the end of March 2021.

MORE QUESTIONS?
Inquiries about the fellowship should be directed to fellowsapp@datasociety.net. Questions about the opportunity or process will not reflect negatively on an application.

 

About Data & Society

Founded in 2013, Data & Society is a NYC-based independent research institute. We operate as a dynamic intellectual nonprofit with strong recognition in the technology, academic, and policy sectors. Our work advances public understanding of the social and cultural implications of data-centric technologies and automation. Through interdisciplinary research and engagement, we work to ensure that knowledge guides development and governance of technology.

The issues that Data & Society seeks to address are complex. The same innovative technologies and socio-technical practices that are reconfiguring society—enabling novel modes of interaction, new opportunities for knowledge, and disruptive business paradigms—can be abused to invade people’s privacy, provide new tools of discrimination, and harm individuals and communities.

To provide frameworks that can help society address emergent tensions, Data & Society is committed to identifying thorny issues at the intersection of technology and society, providing and encouraging research that can ground informed, evidence-based public debates, and building a network of researchers and practitioners who can anticipate issues and offer insight and direction.

Data & Society’s programs bring together different perspectives, research methods, and practices. We weave together researchers, entrepreneurs, activists, policy creators, journalists, geeks, and public intellectuals. We see tremendous reciprocal benefits for network building and research when they are combined.

The work and well-being of Data & Society is strengthened by the diversity of our network and our differences in background, culture, experience, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, and much more. We welcome applications from people of color, women, the LGBTQIA community, and persons with disabilities.



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