UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry Announces Inaugural Impact Fund Award Recipients

UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry (C2i2) awards five Impact Fund awards to cohort of researchers, educators, and change-makers.

The Impact Fund is designed to help activists, artists and academics pursue research, scholarship, community-oriented programming and creative expression projects. This program is designed to support smaller-scale projects on a rolling basis.

The UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry is thrilled to announce our inaugural grantees:

The Future is Intersectional: Black Women Interrogating Technology

Tamara Pearson | @tampear

The Future is Intersectional: Black Women Interrogating Technology is a series, hosted by The Spelman College Center of Excellence for Minority Women in STEM, that highlights the unique intersectional lens Black women bring to the development and utilization of technology in our society. Talks will cover both the vast contributions of Black women to this field as well as the challenging and demoralizing experiences Black women have in a field where they are highly underrepresented and often undervalued. /Learn more about the series.

Oracle for Transfeminist Technologies

Joana Varon | @joana_varon

Sasha Costanza-Chock | @schock

Clara Juliano

The Oracle for Transfeminist Technologies is a participatory speculative design project that helps us collectively envision and share ideas for transfeminist technologies from the future. It exists in multiple media formats, including a card deck, performance, workshops, website, online art exhibitions, & social media campaigns. This project has been developed through a partnership between ​Coding Rights​ and the Design Justice Network​, and in collaborations with activists/scholars/artists/designers/and more. It has organically grown over the past several years, and reflects a creative, participatory, community-based approach to critically engaging with transfeminist technoscience in both theory and practice. Now, with support from C2i2, we will develop, print, and distribute new iterations of the Oracle card deck, while expanding our methodologies, media content, community building, and outreach efforts. /Learn more about the deck.

I, Obscura: Illuminating dark pattern design in the wild

Jasmine McNealy | @JasmineMcNealy

Stephanie Nguyen | @stephtngu

A [zine] of deceptive patterns in technology: In partnership with the UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry and the Stanford CB Bridge program’s policy and tech through design class, we are creating a zine that explores the dark patterns in connected products and services that impact overburdened, underserved populations. We will compile these examples by engaging with a community of researchers and practitioners to outline, illustrate and explain the dark patterns through case studies. Our goal with this work is to better highlight, educate, and engage practitioners and researchers on these patterns in industries ranging from financial services to smart home devices to children’s related technology. The zine will be hosted online and available for download to the public. We will also strategically share with both legislative and organizational policymakers.

AEMP Surveillance and Evictions project

Terra Graziani | @_holleration

Phoebe Unter

Isa Knafo

Surveillance is defined by its capacity to criminalize—one of the earliest tools European settlers used to racialize and displace Indigenous peoples from their land. This pilot episode of a forthcoming series traces these origins to Los Angeles today, telling the story of tenants targeted and evicted by an intersecting web of property, policing and technology. 

The podcast presents the police as an arm of the state used to protect property, not people. This podcast series focuses on the original settler surveillance technology of racialization and property ownership and present-day iterations of policing, incarcerated labor, evictions, and real estate development in Los Angeles. Bringing the city’s past into the present, this series moves through the landscape of city-making in Los Angeles to examine the specific technologies and programs of criminalization that have enabled and produced waves dispossession and subsequent real estate development.

This project will bring together the work of several Los Angeles based anti-surveillance and tenants rights organizations and will prioritize the first-person narratives and voices of people who are actively involved in the issues and struggles being shared. The support of C2i2 will enable us to create Episode 1 about a nuisance abatement program in Los Angeles.

Alternative Beacon

J. Khadijah Abdurahman | @UpFromTheCracks

We Be Imagining is partnering with Logic Magazine to curate a special edition: A Body of Work That Cannot Be Ignored*: Building Alternate Beacons. This special issue of the magazine will present a collection of interdisciplinary essays, interviews, poetry and visual art that offer a material strategy and vision for abolitionist technologies. At a time when despair about our technological future has reached a high, the issue aims to go beyond mere critique to serve as a beacon of new possibilities.

 (*This phrasing comes from  Seeta Peña Gangadhara, co-organizer of Our Data Bodies.)