Applications open: second open call for startups and artists to tackle misinformation

Thu Nov 25, 2021
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Artists and startups have until 27 January 2022 to apply for funding to create work around misinformation, technology and data

Applications are now open for MediaFutures’ second open call. Artists and startups have until 27 January 2022 to apply for funding to create work around misinformation, technology and data. 

Artists (or groups of artists) are able to apply for up to €40,000 for collaborative work with startup businesses, or up to €30,000 for pure arts projects. Startup businesses can apply for €65,000 to create new products, or €80,000 to work with artists on innovation, under the European Commission-funded European Union’s Horizon 2020 framework. The Open Data Institute is a partner in the programme.

MediaFutures is looking for ideas relating to quality journalism, transparency, democracy and science communications, all of which should look to counteract the negative impact of misinformation and disinformation within society. Participants can work from available datasets or work with their own, as well as reacting to current affairs, media stories or issues around media freedom and accuracy. Despite now being outside the EU, applications are encouraged from UK participants and selected non-EU territories.

There are three tracks of funding within the MediaFutures programme:

  • Artists for Media (AfM): Standalone artists, creative groups or collectives can receive up to €30,000 for innovative work in visual and performance art that explores data and technology to question and comment on its impact on individuals and society. 
  • Startup meets Artist (SmA): Teams consisting of a startup and an individual artist or artistic company can apply for up to €80,000 per startup and €40,000 per artist when working closely together to make data exploration both entertaining and informative, building upon products, services, and tech used or developed by the startup. 
  • Startups for Citizens (SfC): Standalone startups/SMEs can receive up to €65,000 for building a product or service that helps individuals and organisations to engage with data in meaningful ways. 

In addition to funding for their projects, participants can receive technological support and resources, including credits for Amazon Web Services. Mentorship, legal support and ethical support are also available, alongside networking and peer-learning opportunities. 

The first phase of the MediaFutures programme saw 19 projects selected for funding. Artists Dejha Ti and Ania Catherine’s Soft Evidence work around deepfakes and AV manipulation was selected as the best Artists for Media project. The work uses AI and machine learning to create video of events that never happened. The winning team from the Startup meets Artist track saw Biblio-Graph team (artist Mariana Lanari and designers Studio Remco van Bladel) create a new way to map, browse and visualise museum and gallery data. Gokind was judged as the best Startups for Citizens project, with their project that utilises the Open Banking framework to show customers how businesses they buy from perform when it comes to sustainability and equality. 

How to apply

Applications are being encouraged from those groups who are not as well-represented in the art and start-up worlds, or face additional barriers to entry, including those from ethnic minorities, women and non-binary individuals, the LGBTQ+ community, those with disabilities and those in lower-middle income countries. Applicants should be based in or be willing to relocate to Europe, the UK or selected non-EU territories for the six-month period that the funding covers, subject to travel restrictions due to Covid-19. The €2.5m fund covers funding of a total of 51 startups and SMEs, as well as 43 artists, across three open calls, of which this is the second.

The application process opens on 25 November 2021 and closes on 27 January 2022. The third call is likely to open in the second half of 2022. See ​​mediafutures.eu for full details.

Watch the MediaFutures video from ODI Summit 2021

MediaFutures is an exciting and innovative programme that allows artists and startups the space to consider how data shapes our rapidly-changing world, as well as how we might act to counter problems such as disinformation that can be created as a result of its use and mis-use. At the Open Data Institute we are constantly looking for ways to create engagement and innovation around the topic of data and MediaFutures provides a great environment for new thinking and creativity to happen.’ – Tara Lee, Senior Consultant at the Open Data Institute

The MediaFutures programme deepened our existing interest in technology and society, and pushed us to a new standard in terms of considering the ethical use of data in our art practice. The framework allowed us to zoom in on the vast implications of new technologies for our information ecosystems and democracy, and translate that research and thinking into an experiential artwork. Being supported in creating a new piece that reflects and speaks to those issues was a rich experience, and we’re looking forward to Soft Evidence having a continued presence in this important global conversation.Ania Catherine, artist

The MediaFutures project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 951962.

The information reflects the author’s views. The European Commission is not liable for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.