Across social movements and sectors, civil society actors have begun to recognize the contours of the challenges the digital presents. Nurturing this groundswell into an enduring local-to-global movement for change requires perspective building and deepening next-generation leadership in civic spaces, South-South cooperation, and cross-movement dialogue and coalition building — all firmly rooted in a Southern standpoint for equity and justice.
IT for Change’s five-day residential institute on Frontiers and Frames for a New Digitality (October 28 – November 1, 2022) is a significant step in this direction. If you’re an activist-scholar, development professional, or a researcher from the Global South, we encourage you to apply for this intense and immersive learning opportunity that will introduce you to the political economy of the digital and enable you to track the critical trends, developments and debates in the space. You will have the chance to learn from and engage with leading activists, thinkers, and experts in the field, make meaningful connections and be part of an enduring community of action.
Attendance at the institute from 28.10.2022 – 01.11.2022 in Thailand is mandatory.
IT for Change will cover lodging and meals for all participants.
Organizations nominating team members are encouraged to fund the travel cost of their applicants. A limited number of travel fellowships are available for participants/organizations unable to cover travel costs. (If a travel fellowship is required, please indicate that in the application form.)
Applications are open till August 21, 2022, 11.59 PM IST.
To apply, please complete this online form by August 21, 2022.
Please consult the FAQs to see if your query/clarification has been addressed here. If not, please write to us @ schoolofdigitaljustice[@]itforchange[.]net and we will respond to your query within 48 hours.
Note: Only selected candidates will be notified about the status of their application
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- Can I apply for this institute?
- I have a question about the application process
- I have a question about funding
- I have a question about travel/Covid-19
1. I don’t have any immersion or orientation in digital issues, but I am looking to explore this area in general. Can I apply for this institute?
A: This is not a crash course on digital issues for individuals with a general interest in the field. Its core vision is to support and catalyze Southern leadership in the digital justice domain, contributing to field-building and agenda-setting. Please consider this before applying.
The institute targets people at leadership levels in an organization/network/social movement or independent activists/scholars able to contribute to future agendas in the digital justice domain. While the cohort of participants may be drawn from diverse locations with immersion in either sectoral or crosscutting digital issues, the selection will prioritize those in the thick of/able to shape digital rights debates and politics from a Southern standpoint.
Before applying, please judge your fitment for the institute and the value proposition you can get from, and bring to, it based on these considerations. Please also see Qs 2-6 for more on this.
2. I live and work in the Global South. However, during the institute, I will be working/studying at an organization/university in the Global North. Am I still eligible to apply for the institute and for the travel fellowship?
A: Yes. Anyone working on digital rights and development issues in the Global South, but residing elsewhere, is eligible to apply for the institute and the travel fellowship. If there is any ambiguity about whether your work/residence is regarded to be in the Global South, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will get back to you.
3. I am an activist working on land and forest rights. Do I stand a chance if I apply?
A: Yes, you do! What is important is that you are able to show your ability to deeply explore the issues of digitality, and your commitment to engage/stay engaged in work at the intersection of climate or natural resources and emerging digitalization questions. It will also be important to illustrate the manner in which you will be able to apply the technical knowledge you gain at the institute to further your work in your field.
4. I am a mid-career professional/academic working mainly on data privacy issues on social welfare. I am not so familiar with other debates. Can I still apply?
A: Yes. You may have worked on a particular or narrow digital issue, but your selection depends on demonstrated expertise and experience in this, and whether you are able to demonstrate how you will explore the changing terrain of digital justice politics in shaping your future work.
5. I am a program officer in a foundation that is planning to start a new line of work on digital rights. Will the institute be open to having me although my work in this domain in the past has only been sporadic?
A: Yes. We are open to considering candidates who can demonstrate that the knowledge tools gained from the institute will be applied for sustained engagement in shaping the digital rights field from a Southern standpoint.
6. I am very keen to benefit from the institute, but have a very busy schedule in the coming months. If selected I would be happy to travel, but may be unable to join all sessions. Can I still apply?
We expect that selected participants are able to be present at all sessions of the institute and take part in the structured activities. If selected, you will also need to invest about 6 hours in the lead-up to the institute to familiarize yourself with the course outline and suggested readings. If you are likely to be pulled into unpredictable and urgent work before/during the institute preventing you from 100% involvement, you may wish to make way for other candidates and avoid applying this time.
7. I am affiliated with an organization/academic institution. What should the letter of recommendation from my organization include?
A: The letter should include a show of support for your attendance at the institute, outline pertinent details of your work and experience in brief, and indicate whether your organization will be able to fund your travel. In case your organization is unable to fund your travel, please indicate your requirement for a travel fellowship in the relevant part of the application. Not being able to secure organizational travel funding will not count against you.
8. Is it mandatory that the recommendation letter provider be the head of my organization? Can someone else provide the recommendation letter?
A: Ideally, this is preferred. But if you think your application is better served by a different reference, you can choose to obtain a letter of recommendation from anyone who has worked with you or is well-versed with your work.
However, since this is a residential institute, we want to be sure that if selected, the participant will be exempted from professional responsibilities for the week of the institute. Please ensure you have considered this and consulted with your employer about obtaining the necessary time off before agreeing to the declaration at the end of the application form.
9. I am an unaffiliated, independent researcher. Who can provide my professional letter of recommendation and what should it include?
A: The letter can be from someone who has worked with you and is well-versed with your work in your area of expertise. It can include any experience you may have with digital justice issues in the Global South, demonstrating your commitment to take the learnings from the institute forward.
10. Multiple team members within my organization are interested in applying for the institute. Can I nominate more than one person?
A: Yes, as a head or organization/senior team member you can nominate more than one person to apply for the institute. Final selection will depend on multiple criteria including strength of application, overall geographic, gender, sectoral representation, and other aspects. Please note however that it is highly unlikely we will be able to offer travel funding for more than one person from a given organization.
11. What does the travel fellowship include?
A: The travel fellowship includes round-trip economy airfare, travel to and from the venue in Thailand, and meals and boarding (based on shared occupancy) for the duration of the institute. It does not include visa processing costs, vaccination costs, travel insurance, local commute to the airport, international data/phone plans, excess baggage, or any additional room service requests. If your organization is able to cover your air travel, your travel to and from the venue in Thailand and meals and boarding (based on shared occupancy) for the duration of the institute will be covered by IT for Change.
12. Will there be any expenses I need to be prepared to bear?
A: You /your organization will need to pay for visa processing costs and any Covid-19-related vaccination requirements stipulated by the Government of Thailand. We encourage you to visit the official tourism website of Thailand to keep abreast of the latest information about entering the country. We strongly encourage you to purchase a travel insurance package. IT for Change is not liable for any medical or hospitalization expenses for participants. Expenses for the commute to/from the airport in your country, international data/phone plans, excess baggage, and any additional room service requests for food/drinks will not be covered.
13. Will my chances of getting selected be affected if I require a travel fellowship?
A: No, selection for the institute will not be adversely affected if you seek a travel fellowship.
14. My organization is able to support my travel/I am able to fund my own travel? Will this increase my chances of being selected?
A: A positive or negative decision about selection for the institute will be solely based on the strength of the application and the fitment of the applicant. Funding (either availability or lack of) is not a factor in the evaluation process.
15. I need a visa prior to arrival to travel to Thailand. If I am selected, will IT for Change assist with my visa application?
A: IT for Change will provide you with an invitation letter and any other supporting documents that you may need for the purposes of travel. We will not be able to prepare, file, or facilitate your visa application for you.
Nationals of several countries have either visa exemption or can avail of a visa on arrival when traveling to Thailand. Please consult the most recent information on the website of the Thai embassy located in your country to ascertain if you qualify for either of these.
If selected, should you need a visa prior to traveling, please contact us for an invitation letter at the earliest and file your application with the embassy immediately. Considerable backlogs because of Covid-19 are common with visa processing across embassies and extended waiting periods may apply.
16. I am a parent of an infant/small child who requires care. Can I have a spouse/care-giver accompany me to the institute if I pay for their travel and stay?
A: We will be happy to consider such requests. Please write to us at email@example.com explaining your context, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
17. Do I have to be vaccinated for Covid-19 to be able to participate in the institute?
A: Participants have to be fully vaccinated and carry proof of vaccination to be able to attend the institute. They are also responsible for fully complying with any additional requirements levied by the location of the institute or their home countries upon return.
18. I live in a country where Covid-19 vaccine access is limited and have not been able to be vaccinated yet. Can I seek an exemption on these grounds?
A: In the interest of minimizing public health risks and ensuring safe participation for all attendees, we are not able to provide any exemptions to vaccination requirements. Please ensure you are either vaccinated/or able to be vaccinated in time for the institute in October 2022.
19. I have concerns about the spread of infection. What Covid-19 precautions will be taken at the institute?
A: All participants will be required to have proof of vaccination to attend the institute. We will follow the applicable guidelines and advisory issued by WHO and local health authorities. Masking and social distancing protocols will be followed if mandated at the time. You are welcome to take any extra precautions to assure your safety and well-being during your time at the institute. But please be aware this is an in-person event with an emphasis on community building and there will be extended periods of social interaction. As such, we recommend you fully assess and judge your comfort and ability about undertaking travel and attendance, before applying.