Mozilla - Creative media awards

Deadline: December 20, 2021

Program Starts: March 08, 2022




  • Netherlands
  • Online
  • United States of America
  • Worldwide


Mozilla is seeking artists and technologists who explore, interrogate, and reimagine the role of data in AI systems — and how that data can be better stewarded to empower people and communities. Mozilla is opening the call for proposals for its latest round of Creative Media Awards. Mozilla will provide awards up to $30,000 each, for a total of $250,000, to people and projects that illuminate how to reimagine data in a way that shifts power away from big tech platforms and toward individuals and communities.


Mozilla exists to protect and promote the Internet as a global public resource, open and accessible to all. As a critical part of this mission, Mozilla invests in the innovators at the frontlines of working to make the Internet more open, inclusive, decentralized, and secure. Through fellowships and awards, we support these leaders and amplify their important work on issues impacting the health of the internet. Awards at Mozilla celebrate a variety of targeted solutions, not a one-size-fits-all silver bullet. They spotlight the technologies, art, and other work being done by leaders across the globe in order to amplify these promising approaches and to help make the Internet healthier for everyone.

About Mozilla Creative Media Awards

It is clear that the tools, algorithms and machine learning techniques collectively referred to as Artificial Intelligence have the potential to disrupt democracy, interfere with human rights, and erode the public's trust in online information. However, some of these technologies might also be part of the solution to many of these emerging threats. Further, current debates about algorithms tend to ignore the fact that our intelligent systems are ultimately designed and shaped by humans.

The benefits and risks associated with, for instance, automated decision making flow from the tasks we choose to give to algorithms and the data that we feed them. Algorithms can help us stumble across the perfect song, or it can manipulate and polarize us. Creatively and ethically, there is an urgent need for artists and media makers to explore how these technologies will shape our experience online and off. For the past four years, Mozilla’s Creative Media Award (CMA) recipients have created interactive experiences, games, videos, and other media that explore machine learning and its impacts - both good and bad. These projects have used art to help people understand, imagine, and critique what trustworthy AI could and should look like. Supported CMA projects have served to:

  • increase public awareness of the threats and opportunities of AI,
  • equip audiences with tangible ways to advocate for more responsible design, and
  • explore current realities or imagined futures through the lens of Black experience.

The Creative Media awards are part of a comprehensive set of activities supported by the NetGain Partnership, a collaboration between Mozilla, Ford Foundation, Knight Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, and the Open Society Foundation. The goal of this philanthropic collaboration is to advance the public interest in the digital age.

2021-22 Creative Media Awards

Data and AI are inextricably linked. The algorithms that govern how automated decision making functions in our lives are fed by data. How this data is gathered, stored, managed, and used has a direct impact on how trustworthy - or not - algorithms can become. The tools for data’s extraction, mechanisms for use, governance, and enduring value are neither agnostic nor devoid of harm. Indeed, they often reflect the priorities and biases of those with the means to create them. But what would these tools, mechanisms and data governance models look like in a society that valued care and wellbeing over cost efficiency? Participation over top-down control? Or curiosity over passive consumption?

Therefore, this year’s Creative Media Awards launch in partnership with Mozilla’s Data Futures Lab. Mozilla’s Data Futures Lab is an incubator for projects that aim to provide individuals and communities with greater agency over and value from their data through new models of data governance and stewardship.

The 2021-22 Creative Media Awards seeks projects that explore, interrogate, and reimagine the role of data and how it may be better stewarded to empower people and communities. Proposed work should be native to the web, discoverable by broad audiences, and wrestle with/illuminate how data can function to shift power towards individuals and communities, instead of being consolidated by platforms and big tech. 

Mozilla can provide artists access to the Common Voice open-source data set -- but applicants needn’t use it. 

We encourage artistic exploration that draws from and intersects with supporting movements like Afrofuturism, Indigenous Data Sovereignty, disability justice, and neurodiversity movements, to name a few. The 2021-22 Creative Media Awards particularly seeks applicants from communities most impacted by the current models of data extraction and stewardship including artists and technologists from: the Global Majority or Global South; women and gender diverse applicants; Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color; migrant and diasporic communities; as well as climate displaced/impacted communities, etc. We do so to support the development of just, viable and equitable futures.

Key dates and deadlines

  • October 12, 2021: Application opens
  • November 23, 2021: Letter of Intent (LOI) Due at 12pm ET/4pm GMT (LOIs are reviewed on a rolling basis and moved into “Full Application” stage if eligible)
  • December 20, 2021: Full Application Deadline at 12pm ET/4pm GMT
  • January 28, 2022: Awardee notification of decisions
  • Week of March 8, 2022: Public awards announcement at MozFest (virtual) + Grantees Begin Project Work
  • November 2022: Public Project Launches
  • December 2022: Final report deadline

Opportunity is About


Candidates should be from:

Description of Ideal Candidate


  • Awards support in-progress works at either the conceptual or prototype stage
  • Works must be screen-based media of an artistic or journalistic nature
  • Works must be freely available on the web
  • Works should be suitable for a non-expert audience and demonstrate the potential to be broadly shared
  • Creators must demonstrate an understanding of who their audience is and how they want their project to impact this audience
  • Creators must articulate how the work will help to illuminate an essential shift of power regarding data’s use
  • Applicants must demonstrate an ability to be able to execute their plan via past experience or a prototype
  • Applicants should self-identify as any/all of the following:
    • being from the Global Majority or Global South;
    • Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color;
    • women, transgender and/or gender diverse applicants;
    • migrant and diasporic communities; and/or
    • coming from climate displaced/impacted communities, etc.
  • These awards are open to all applicants regardless of geographic location or institutional affiliation, except where legally prohibited
  • Grantees must begin working on their projects on or before the week of March 8

We do not support:

  • Apps for proprietary ecosystems (eg iOS, Android)
  • Productivity tools
  • Software libraries
  • Works that can only be experienced in person such as gallery works


Deadline: December 20, 2021

Program starts:

March 08, 2022

Program Starts: March 08, 2022

Cost/funding for participants

Award Amounts

  • $250,000 in funding is available. To encourage a variety of approaches, awards will range from $10,000 up to $30,000 each. A budget is required as part of the full application. Final award amounts are at the discretion of award reviewers and Mozilla staff.

Other benefits received

  • Impact Design: Working in partnership with Mozilla and our consulting media firm, each Awardee will create an impact plan - outlining a theory of change for each piece of media, as well as accompanying performance indicators.
  • Cohort and Individual Support: All Awardees will convene virtually for group feedback sessions, learn from guest speakers about relevant topics, and meet 1:1 with Mozilla and Harmony Labs for additional feedback and support.
  • Project Promotion: Mozilla’s Communications and PR Team will evaluate and offer a spectrum of support to Awardees including pitching to media outlets, crafting social media campaigns, and sharing with Mozilla’s website audience and email list.
  • Showcasing Work: Many past Creative Media Awardees have shown their work in a variety of international film festivals (IDFA, Tribeca, TIFF, Cannes) and museums (Tate Modern, MoMA, HKW). While we can’t guarantee placement, we can support your submission efforts. In addition, Mozilla holds an annual festival in Amsterdam (2021-2024) called MozFest which will provide a chance to showcase your work, meet others in your cohort, along with other artists, activists, thinkers, and makers working in the space from around the world.
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