The 2021 MIT & Black Public Media Fellowship is designed to support a Black filmmaker, artist, journalist, or creative technologist, who uses emerging technology to make nonfiction experiences. The mission of the Fellowship is to encourage and develop the emerging-tech storytelling skills of a Black maker and connect the Fellow to MIT Open Documentary Lab’s network of storytellers, scholars, and technologists.
In 2020, Black Public Media (BPM), MIT Open Documentary Lab (ODL), and MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology (MIT CAST) created this fellowship to support Black creatives who use emerging technologies as their nonfiction, storytelling mediums. New this year, Fellows will have the option to do the fellowship either remotely or in person. ODL meetings begin on September 14th. If a Fellow wants to audit an MIT class, they should choose the course as soon as they are selected, because classes begin on the September 8th.
Fellows who decide to relocate to the Boston area would cover their own travel and living expenses. Neither part-time nor full-time students qualify for this fellowship, per MIT requirements.
The Fellowship provides one academic year (9 months) of independent study within the OpenDocLab community, which is deeply engaged with creating, testing, and exploring new storytelling technologies and co-creation methodologies. Each Fellow also meets regularly with a Black Public Media producer or adviser to clarify their project goals and develop their pitch and prototype materials. The purpose of the Fellowship is to research and develop an emerging-tech documentary or nonfiction project and move the conceptualization or execution of the project forward in some significant way. Fellows also may apply with a nonfiction project that is already in pre-production or production, again with the goal of making major progress during the Fellowship.
We are looking for someone who is interested in engaging creatively and critically with emerging technologies, such as virtual reality, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and/or using older technologies, such as 3D animation, projections, or motion capture, in novel or new ways. The Fellow will join an interdisciplinary, international, and collaborative community composed of other fellows, faculty, researchers, and students and will engage in a rich exchange with them.
- A $7,500 honorarium after the first 30 days of the fellowship. This payment is dependent on completion of all MIT and Black Public Media contracts and agreements. Payments may be made to individuals only, not to their companies.
- Access to MIT’s community of artists, scholars, and technologists
- Access to Black Public Media’s community of Black filmmakers and creative technologists
- Ability to audit one (1) MIT course [requires permission of the instructor]. If a Fellow wants to audit an MIT class, they should choose the course as soon as they are selected, because classes begin on the September 8th.
- Access to MIT’s library system and other online resources
- Receive a potential showcase of the maker and/or the maker’s project at a Black Public Media event. If the prototype or finished production were an augmented reality app, a VR experience, or an AI app, for example, BPM could help drive traffic to the maker’s project or help recommend exhibition opportunities. Black Public Media has screened AR/VR experiences for more than 650 people since 2018. Introducing the world of spatial computing and other emerging storytelling technologies to Black creatives is a major focus of the BPMplus Program.