UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry receives $2.9M Award to launch Minderoo Initiative on Technology and Power

News Release:

Contact: John McDonald – jmcdonald@gseis.ucla.edu

Vanessa Rhinesmith – vanessa.rhinesmith@gmail.com

The UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry has been selected by Minderoo Foundation as one of several recipients to participate in an international network of scholars committed to challenging the unjust impact of digital technologies on society through research, education, and the arts.

The selection includes an award of $2.9 million to launch the Minderoo Initiative on Technology and Power at the UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry. The new funding will nurture a hub of research at UCLA exploring the intersection of technology, power, and society and activating paradigm and culture-shifting work. The Initiative will be led by the Center’s co-directors and co-founders, Safiya Umoja Noble and Sarah T. Roberts.

Safiya Noble

“The new Minderoo Initiative situates us as part of a global network of scholars, journalists, makers, and artists who care deeply about the issues of technology and power,” said UCLA professor and initiative co-director Safiya Noble. ” We are at a critical juncture where abolitionist and restorative interventions must be considered in the face of mounting social harms from internet-based technologies. Now is the time to support scholars addressing the most pressing harms stemming from digital technologies.  We hope this gift is the first of many transformational investments that will help us make a long-term impact for change and repair.”

The UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry is an interdisciplinary research center committed to holding those who create unjust technologies and systems accountable for the erosion of equity, trust, and participation, and working to reimagine technology, champion racial justice, and strengthen democracy. As community of scholars, practitioners, activists, and artists, the Center will provide a space to encourage approaches to knowledge and action that challenges the status quo and encourages technologies that are equitable, just, and in service to the public interest.

Sarah T. Roberts

“This moment is critical in terms of the need to coalesce and consolidate the incredible work of academics and their partners in journalism and civil society and to shine a bright light on the risks we collectively run if the powers of big technology continue unabated,” said UCLA associate professor and initiative co-director Sarah T. Roberts. “At a time when there is a social reckoning toward justice and equity for all people and a deep concern for the health of democracy we believe this work is more relevant than ever. We must ask hard questions of status quo models while we simultaneously imagine a better tech future for us all.”

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Additional information and comment from Safiya Noble and Sarah T. Roberts is available in this video

Information on the tech impact network of which the Minderoo Initiative on Technology and Power is now a part is available here.