Resident Fellows are individuals who seek to advance our understanding of surveillance capitalism and change the way Reset works and thinks from the inside.
Our Resident Fellowship is a way to support a diverse and global group of individuals doing multidisciplinary and intersectional work that advances our understanding of the harms of surveillance capitalisms and opportunities. Successful fellows are able to leverage Reset and our network -- the partners, communities, and fields of practice Reset support -- to strengthen society's ability as individuals, citizens, consumers, and users to understand, mitigate, and defend against those harms. Our fellows’ programme strives to ensure that new connections and perspectives deepen and expand our network’s understanding of the challenges and opportunities towards accomplishing our collective goals.
The Reset resident fellows program supports individuals to join our team for a fixed amount of time to work on a specific project towards outcomes that immediately change Reset’s way of working and thinking or have a high likelihood of doing so shortly after completion. We hope this fellowship can provide new and emerging individuals from both aligned and under-represented communities and fields an opportunity to address surveillance capitalism through Reset, by connecting and exposing them to our network, supporting them with resources we have available, and in turn, allow us to gain valuable insights from their perspectives and expertise.
More than just advancing Reset’s capabilities is a priority, this fellowship is intended to produce public-facing outputs, to support fellows in engaging external actors -- be they communities of practice, professional communities, a particular academic discipline, or the general public -- and to foster collaborative activities within the Reset network itself, among the other fellows, current and past Reset supported efforts, the communities we consider most important, and to strengthen the fields in which we work.
This is a cross-disciplinary fellowship for many different backgrounds. To name just a few, software developers, designers, lawyers, researchers, community organisers, artists, journalists, and others are all welcome to apply. What must be true is that you have an understanding of surveillance capitalism challenges within affected societies, a passion to see harms end, an idea of Reset’s role towards ending it, and excitement to be a part of the effort. You can apply to participate in one of the listed projects we’ve created below or propose your own effort.
We are prioritizing applicants who are excited about connecting with and contributing to these the growing network of those concerned with the effects of surveillance capitalism with a belief that through Reset, they can create change. We are particularly keen to receive applications from people who consider themselves under-represented in the communities and field they hope to affect. This is not a fellowship program for those who want to spend time on focused, independent research; rather, this is a program for people who want to directly engage with our team, advance our thinking and approach to addressing surveillance capitalism, who can see the value of their work on a bigger stage, and are looking for ways to create impact outside their own field.
Before applying, each fellow applicant must self-determine and define a project to pursue, either one designed with Reset from a list we maintain or a project of their own design to be introduced within the application. Each selected fellow will finalise the project plan with Reset, give an introductory presentation on their proposed work, and then a closing presentation on conclusions made available to the broader Reset network. Each fellow will have a Reset team member available to them to serve as a mentor and will be ultimately accountable to Reset’s Executive Director.
While part-time contractors, active fellows will be regarded as a part of the Reset team, with the title of Resident Fellow. They will be welcome to participate in regular day-to-day Reset work, but with no expectation to beyond what may be required for their project. Fellows will be encouraged and given the ability to engage with all Reset team members, other fellows, and partners in our network both at the organisational level and with the broader community. As such, they will also receive support to attend our annual event and any team retreats that overlap with their fellowship.
Where do fellows work?
Fellows embed (virtually or physically) within Reset for the duration of their fellowship. They can do this work from anywhere that Reset can provide support, as long as they are capable of maintaining an online presence during selected work times and participating in regular checks as needed by Reset.
Project themes & ideas
Potential fellows are invited to imagine a specific project or set of activities, in one of the themes below, that they will execute to advance digital rights and help society’s understanding of a world affected by surveillance capitalism gains or losses. Successful fellowship projects inform, convene, intervene, or provoke - with an eye to broader impact and also immediate effect in or through Reset.
We are open to a wide range of potential outputs, from code, white papers, social media engagements, and op-eds to events, and/or other awareness-raising engagements. We are interested in interdisciplinary and intersectional, cross-sector, and/or crazy ideas that tackle challenges affecting society due to harms of surveillance capitalism and that may not easily fit into a predefined category. We are also interested in creating connections and building synergies between our team and the projects and other fellows we support. We also love it when our fellows experiment with new ideas or stretch our work and network in unexpected directions.
Computer and data science: Fellows who bring a core research question and the ability to demonstrate findings with technology prototypes and/or data visualization. They may be looking to expose critical shifts in technology and the environments supporting them or looking to explore the undiscovered or under-reported social, cultural and political implications of existing or expected technologies. Technical fellows may come from academia, industry, civil society, or the public sector. We expect technical fellows to have an appropriate degree in computer or data science or equivalent, relevant experience to the proposed project.
Human-centred design and evaluation: Fellows who have deep empathy for those most affected by surveillance capitalism and the solutions to mitigate harm, who view our work as building relationships over conducting transactions. They may be looking to advance our communities ability and capacity to better: learn directly from the people we’re trying to help; make sense of what we’ve learned to identify the most likely opportunities to help them; how to most appropriately create and introduce those solutions to those who need them; and then, how to measure the actual impact of what we do by evaluating the experience of those who are at the receiving end of the engagement. Likely applicants are able to advance our thinking on one or more of these areas with research or case studies into specific or broader contexts, with experience utilizing existing methodologies or the capabilities to create new ones as needed.
Capacity building: Fellows who understand that impactful technologies advancing digital rights rely upon more expertise than software development. These fellows may be looking to advance our network’s ability in those areas we already know are important -- such as those Reset already provides for -- or may recognize a missing or under-resourced capacity that is limiting our partner’s ability to better advance digital rights who have the expertise to research and demonstrate how we could improve.
Organizational bridging: Fellows from other organizations, companies, civil society, or public sector entities who are grappling directly with questions around challenges and threats towards advancing digital rights in a world controlled by surveillance capitalists and associated exploiting technologies, who bring a crucial, practical frame to our work. These fellows come with a mandate from their organization to explore a particular question or issue during their time at Reset and to bring that knowledge back to their home institution. With the fellow, we will actively seek to build a strong relationship over the course of the fellowship between Reset and the fellow’s home institution. We’re especially interested in applicants who play a technical, community, legal, or policy role in their home institution.
Arts and culture: Fellows who see how artistic and cultural production can advance public understanding of the complexities of surveillance capitalism and are able to drive individual and collective imagining of multiple futures. We are looking for those already leveraging arts and culture who feel they have a connection to global challenges surveillance capitalism has created, Reset’s focus areas, and/or the specific work of present and past projects we’ve supported, and related research topics whose work challenges commonplace narratives running through debates, public discourse, and social norms surrounding surveillance capitalism.
Again, we welcome applications that pose entirely new questions from different topics or themes that push Reset in new directions, as well as applications that complement and expand our current focus.
- What insights exist within the thousands of applications Reset has received to-date? How could those insights advance the Reset application process, the network of people responding, and how do we identify and distribute those insights safely?
- How are advancements in machine learning, big data, and other components of artificial intelligence advancing or harming our ability to respond? What gaps in capacity or skills are the network of communities responding lacking that inhibits their ability to leverage these opportunities or to defend against these threats?
- How are advancements with decentralized web technologies advancing or harming our ability to respond? What gaps in capacity or skills do we collectively possess that allow our network to take advantage of these opportunities or to defend against these threats?
- What are the legal needs to respond adequately? What have been the experiences of projects with or without sufficient legal support? What has been the effects on the projects they were working on when legal issues have arisen? How did this affect the advancement of digital rights and what could we do to mitigate any stalling effects?
- What has been Reset effect on surveillance capitalism so far? How do we determine our impact quantitatively and qualitatively in a way that prioritizes evaluating those most affected and those we support?
- What are the known limitations and opportunities available to sustain virtuous open-source technology alternatives? How are successful widely used open-source technologies or their core dependencies sustaining themselves? What could Reset and other donors do to allow alternate models beyond the ‘virtuous volunteer’ for supporting critical code?
- Why is Reset not connecting with a specific community of people affected by surveillance capitalism? What aspects of how we work and present ourselves need to change for a shared connection and ultimately more support from us to them? How do we measure the success of that change?
Things to avoid
- Testing and/or collection of end-user data that violate established ethical principles.
- Projects should exhibit originality, substance, precision and relevance to our aims. Objectives should be ambitious, yet measurable and achievable with activities and milestones listed monthly. The overall project goals should extend beyond traditional audiences.
- For the duration of fellowships, the fellow will be expected to work with Reset.
- Any individual will need to acquire the appropriate work authorisation. For instance, if a student with an I-20 visa intends to carry out their project in the United States, they will need to apply to use Curricular Practical Training for their fellowship.
- Please be sure to review all of the general open call information, Our Guide to Open Calls, and the data policy for applicants.