I hope everyone is having a restful weekend. Whether you are an artist, educator, or passionate communicator, October is a month of opportunities for just about everyone on this list. There are three major grant competitions seeking innovative projects from around the world that use online media and tools in creative ways.
Deadline: October 15
This is the second year of the MacArthur Foundation's Digital Media and Learning Competition and this year they are accepting applications from Canada, People's Republic of China, India, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The projects themselves can be based elsewhere, but primary applicants must be from the above-mentioned countries. The awards between $30,000-$250,000 support large-scale digital learning projects. There are also the Young Innovator Awards of $5,000 – $30,000 targeting 18-25 year olds.
Deadline: November 1
This is the third year that the Knight Foundation is awarding $5 million dollars to fund innovative ideas using digital experiments to transform community news and information exchange. In fact, Rising Voices first got its start thanks to a News Challenge award. Several Rising Voices community members and allies like Freedom Fone, Video Volunteers, and Community Radio in India were winners in last year's competition. Let's make sure that there is also good global representation amongst this year's winners. You can submit your proposal on the Knight News Challenge Garage and get paired up with an experienced mentor who can help improve your chances of getting funded.
Deadline: October 31
Many of you are probably familiar with Jules Verne's novel Around the World in 80 Days in which the character Phileas Fogg sets out to explore the entire world in just 80 days. In the novel, however, Phileas Fogg does little to try to understand and interact with the countries and people he encounters on his journey. The 80+1 Project, which will culminate at next year's Ars Electronica Festival in Linz, Austria, wants to recreate Phileas Fogg's journey, but by using digital media to deeply understand issues affecting cities around the world. The initiative gives grants of 10,000 euros to artistic projects that use digital media to creatively express issues taking place in particular cities. Topics and cities include “Neighbourhood and Coexistence in Johannesburg”, “Water in Kisoro”, “Markets in Dhaka”, and “Recycling in Brazil.” A complete list of themes and cities is available on the website. However, the organizers of the event told me that since the deadline is just a few weeks away they are willing to consider project proposals that come from cities and discuss themes other than what is listed on the website.
So there you have it. No matter if you want to use the internet as a source of innovation in journalism, community building, education, or art, there is funding available for your projects. I wish you all the best of luck. And don't forget – the next Rising Voices grant competition will take place sometime in December or January. 🙂