The New New Fellowship Increasing inclusion and diversity in digital society

The New <I>New</I> Fellowships
The New New Fellowships | © Lena Ziyal

How do we want to shape digital society? That is the question being addressed by the trailblazers behind 12 projects selected as fellows for The New New, the recently launched Europe-wide fellowship program. Each of the fellows will receive a stipend of €1,000 per month for six months (March – August 2021), along with professional training, to drive their innovative ideas forward.

Their projects take highly diverse approaches to realizing visions of a digital society that does more to consider the attitudes and needs of groups, which are underrepresented. The goal is to use digital change to promote opportunities for participating and for advancing the common good. The program’s initiators are the Ethics of Algorithms project at the Bertelsmann Stiftung and the nonprofit Superrr Lab in cooperation with Goethe-Institut and the Allianz Kulturstiftung. The selected fellows come from nine European countries: Germany, the UK, Denmark, France, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Romania and Switzerland.
The New New fellowship wants to open up the discussion on shaping digital change to new perspectives, a discussion that has been dominated until now by economic considerations. In the selection of the civil society projects, therefore, the focus has been on diversity criteria and an inclusive character. As a result, many of the chosen projects engage with social groups – such as BIPoC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color), refugees and LGBTQ+ – whose concerns usually receive little attention in the digital discourse.  
The selected fellows thus address a wide variety of issues, technology and media – ranging from virtual assistants with synthetic voices, to a feminist online radio station that focuses on user participation, to a digital platform offering help to victims of domestic violence, to a card game that takes a critical look at the excesses of tech capitalism.
More about the program and the selected projects:
As part of the project "Generation A=Algorithm" the Goethe-Institut supports four projects that are dealing with artificial intelligence online and offline and that use this technology to promote inclusion:

Algorithms of Late Capitalism
The Netherlands
Team: Karla Zavala Barreda & Adriaan Odendaal
  Karla Zavala Barreda © Anna Niedhart Adriaan Odendaal © Anna Niedhart

Algorithms of Late Capitalism is a community co-designed critical card game that induces players to reflect on the absurdities of our technological present and imagine futures that are more fair.
Interview with Karla Zavala Barreda and Adriaan Odendaal: “Algorithmic systems and their similarities to game design processes

Team: Frederik Tollund Juutilainen, Mads Pelt, Stina Hasse, Alice Baird and Nina
Cecilie Højholdt
Frederik Tollund Juutilainen © Anna Niedhart Mads Pelt © Anna Niedhart Stina Hasse © Anna Niedhart Alice Baird © Anna Niedhart Nina Cecilie Højholdt © Anna Niedhart

[multi’vocal] works towards an alternative future for digital voice-assistants by creating performative synthetic voices that can present with more than one age, gender and geographic origin.
Syb: Queering voice AI
Team: Feminist Internet & Cami Rincòn
Feminist Internet © Anna Niedhart Cami Rincòn © Anna Niedhart

Syb is a voice interface designed by and for trans people which connects users to media created by the trans community. The project was developed through a participatory design process with a team of trans and non-binary people.

Networks of Trust
Team: Kyriaki Goni
Kyriaki Goni © Anna Niedhart  

Networks of Trust is an offline network running on IPFS, which hosts stories about
tech, population movements and the climate crisis. It proposes fiction as a method
for building community, understanding the present moment and envisioning possible