We invest in people who have a strong vision and dare to be different!
Following a year of introspection and thinking about how we might tweak the parameters of our experiment in Open Philanthropy, 2019 began as an opportunity to put those ideas into practice.
As outlined in Fellowship Forward, it was time to seek fresh perspectives on familiar issues and concentrate our funding in areas ripe for significant change. With the help of our Honorary Steward Ronaldo Lemos, we successfully balanced those aims with two new additions to our fellowship community.
Chris Hartgerink is liberating science by simplifying, accelerating, and opening up scholarly research. Academic publishing is familiar territory for us, but Chris’s vision to change how research is planned, delivered and evaluated is not merely about putting openness at the heart of scientific practice. It is also about applying it to the scientific workplace. By establishing open practices in the novel setting of a cooperative organisational structure, Chris is progressing ideas of community and empowerment in the work environment.
Our second fellowship award went to Sean Jacobs, who is amplifying the voices of African writers across borders and languages with Africa is a Country. His aim is to help Africans gain control of their own global narrative, sharing their own perspectives and analysis of and from every nation on the continent. In a world seemingly addicted to referencing Africa with tired old stereotypes and untruths, this is essential work that expands on our previous funding of access to knowledge issues and fact-checking. The open model of Africa is a Country is also intriguing: in a media world dominated by private, opaque interests, could it be a viable alternative?
With the arrival of two new fellows, we also saw five move onto alumni status. Ugo Vallauri, Isha Datar, Achal Prabhala, Peter Cunliffe-Jones and Mad Price Ball have all contributed significantly to the community. We look forward to continuing our relationship with them as they take their ideas forward and help shape a new, more equitable world. Each of them was the right person at the right time for their fellowships, and all came with ideas that challenge convention.
As funders, we expect our fellows to challenge the status quo in their respective fields. But we must also demand the same for ourselves and seek to push boundaries in our own. In our case, these boundaries lie in philanthropy. Which leads us to our book.
In March, the Foundation team and several fellows gathered together for a week of thinking and writing about the fellowship, the community, openness, and the broader funding landscape. 50 Shades of Green is the result. In part, it’s the story of our community’s learning and progress since 2007. But more importantly, it outlines an open, viable alternative to the power structures and deeply unhelpful funding practices inherent in traditional philanthropy. Our hope is that it inspires others to think differently about how we fund innovation, seed new ideas, and enable people to maximise their potential and achieve the change they want to make in the world.
As 2020 quickly comes into view, some themes in the book will continue to influence the direction of our thinking. The concepts of power, money and systems will be at the forefront of our minds as we seek brave, dynamic leaders to welcome into our community. Whoever they might be, we are excited to offer our support and learn new things.
Our year in thinking reflects the pause we took for introspection and the re-commitment we made to articulating our approach to supporting social change.
Astra Taylor & The Debt Collective: Challenging Exploitative Finance
Her fellowship has had a huge impact and continues to push a new narrative. To date, Astra and The Debt Collective community have helped student debtors win relief worth over a billion dollars, forced policy change at government level, and been highly influential in the thinking behind the American College...... >>
Luka Mustafa: From Telecoms to 3D Bioprinting
While age is no barrier for the Shuttleworth Foundation, Luka was fresh out of college when he applied and his youth made us think twice. But his journey throughout his Fellowship and beyond has far exceeded our expectations, and his work has completely shifted thinking in many different fields -...... >>
Peter Cunliffe-Jones: Fact, Fiction & Africa Check
Firstly, he has grown Africa Check from a skeleton team in Johannesburg to becoming a leader in the field, operating directly in four different countries, supporting new fact-checking organizations in 14 other countries and training thousands of journalists in the practice all over Africa. He has also been a key...... >>
David Wiley & Lumen Learning: Making OER Mainstream
Tuition and the prospect of overwhelming student debt are a significant part of the problem. But the spiralling cost of textbooks - outstripping inflation four times over the past ten years - affects every learner, from the Ivy League undergrads to those studying in community colleges. Students spend exorbitant amounts...... >>
Paul Gardner-Stephen & the Serval Project: Communications For All
The development of the Serval software progressed well, but soon met an overwhelming technological barrier. In 2012, wifi capacity on mobile phones was minimal and in order to make use of Serval, users would have to root their phones, thereby risk the loss of their warranties. Despite Paul making good...... >>
Steve Vosloo: Mobiles & Literacy & 21st Century Learning
A decade ago, only seven percent of schools in South Africa had adequate libraries and it was estimated that over half the households in the country did not have a single book for leisure reading in their homes. The affordability of books was an obvious contributing factor, and the nation’s...... >>
Mad Price Ball & Open Humans: Empowering Citizens With Personal Data
“There’s a sense this has grown beyond myself; this could actually survive on its own. And that’s wonderful.” Open Humans: The concept The opaque issues around privacy and security dominate the conversations we have around personal data today. In a world where faceless private interests and organisations collect vast swathes...... >>
Jesse Von Doom: Artists Need CASH
His work helped artists improve their reach by making better use of the web and overcome the technical challenges and expense of sharing files, connecting with their audience and posting events online. Most importantly, it allowed them to be free to evolve on their terms; independently, without the restrictions imposed...... >>
Ronaldo Lemos: Honorary steward September 2019
The Shuttleworth Foundation would like to express our sincerest thanks and gratitude to the Brazilian academic Ronaldo Lemos, our Honorary Steward for this September’s fellowship round. Ronaldo is a Professor at the Rio de Janeiro State University, a lawyer and commentator in several fields we know well: intellectual property, technology...... >>
Welcome Chris and Sean
The Shuttleworth Foundation is delighted to welcome Chris Hartgerink and Sean Jacobs to the fellowship community. Many thanks to our Honorary Steward Ronaldo Lemos, a Brazilian academic and lawyer with expertise in intellectual property, open culture and technology. He has chosen two outstanding individuals for our September 2019 intake. Both...... >>
Ugo Vallauri: Electronic Waste & The Restart Project
“All the fellows struggle to bring about change in a range of different fields. The fellowship is a reminder that we’re not alone.” Background: The product problem Our insatiable hunger for electronic devices is quickly turning into a significant and pressing issue. Over 50 million tonnes of e-waste ends up...... >>
Isha Datar: New Harvest and the Post-Animal Bioeconomy
“Without Shuttleworth support, I don’t think we could have been so bold about this thing we cared so much about; previous funders have requested all kinds of highly specific things that compromised our work and our mission.” The Fellow: Isha Datar Isha is from Edmonton in Alberta, Canada. Her educational...... >>
Achal Prabhala & AccessIBSA: Fixing the Pharma Patent System
“I’ve received numerous instances of absolutely crucial support and help from other fellows, and I am incredibly grateful. The fellowship has been wonderful - really wonderful.” The problem: The right to profit vs. the right to life For the past few decades, the pharmaceutical industry has been taking advantage of...... >>
Simone Noveck: Honorary Steward, March 2020
Beth is director of The GovLab, where she advises public institutions and public entrepreneurs on improving people’s lives through better governance with technology. She is also a professor at the Technology, Culture and Society department of New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering, and a Senior Fellow at Rutgers University...... >>
Achal, Isha and Ugo - New Alumni
Each of our former fellows enjoyed the maximum duration of three years funding, and made impressive strides forward with their progressive work, pushing for positive change in the respective fields of access to medicines, cellular agriculture and the repair economy. Despite their disparate professional interests, there is a common thread...... >>
Tiffiniy Cheng: Enabling Online Activism
“The Shuttleworth Foundation feels like a lifelong thing. It’s nurturing, helpful and a fantastic vote of confidence that really matters…” The Fellow: Tiffiniy Cheng & Fight for the Future Tiffiniy has been involved in online activism since the early 2000s, organising protests, taking on Internet monopolists and positioning herself against...... >>
Peter Murray-Rust & ContentMine: Liberating Knowledge
“The fellowship has totally changed my life and is one of the biggest things in my life. It’s my guiding light and gives me an environment that fuels me and I can pay back into.” The Fellow: Peter Murray-Rust Peter is a Doctor of Philosophy, Reader Emeritus in Molecular Informatics...... >>
Peter and Mad - New Alumni
Peter worked on public information, checking claims made by public figures and institutions in the media and online. Mad worked with information of the individual on their Open Humans project, querying our relationship with personal data. Both fellows have contributed a significant amount to our learning in their respective fields....... >>
Seamus Kraft: New Means For Old Government
His Fellowship between 2014 and 2017 aimed to bring in key changes from the ground up to transform the relationship between citizens and government at local level. While his Madison project eventually ran aground after much election turmoil in 2016, The OpenGov Foundation have since established new ideas and continue...... >>
Peter Bloom & Rhizomatica: Connections for Remote Communities
His work is a perfect example of what can be achieved by working openly and he has moved the dial forward, not just in helping people connect with the modern word sustainably, but also in loosening the grip of large, incredibly powerful telecoms companies. Peter’s Fellowship ended in 2017, and...... >>
Marcin Jakubowski & the Global Village Construction Set
These machines - a real world LEGO set, if you like - promise to deliver a small civilisation everything it needs to live comfortably, independently and sustainably in the modern world. Marcin spent two years on the Shuttleworth Foundation programme from 2012, and we caught up with him to reflect...... >>
Jaisen Mathai: Memories of Trovebox
However, thinking about the web from the top down misses out a lot of the story. If you want to put any kind of file online - a photo, say - you either hand over ownership and control of it to a ‘free’ platform or pay for a hosting service....... >>
Gavin Weale: Enabling South African Youth
Not only did Gavin succeed in creating a youth-led magazine, but he has pivoted LiveMag into the online LiveSA and established the Digify Africa platform to provide digital skills and training for those who would normally miss out. Tens of thousands of youngsters from all over the continent have benefitted....... >>
Arthur Attwell & Paperight: Lessons From the Publishing Industry
Sadly, as is often the case when you try to influence change in established systems like the publishing industry, the Paperight project didn’t work out. There is always an element of risk you have a big vision for change, and Arthur’s story is a good example of what you are...... >>
Aaron Makaruk: Analysing AKER Kits
The demands on producers to provide food and sustenance to millions of city dwellers results in harm large-scale factory farming that ultimately causes damage to the ecosystem and human health. And while vast swathes of natural resources are used within this system, in many ways it is inefficient, leading to...... >>
Dan Whaley & Hypothes.is: Annotating the Web
Quality of conversation should be central to human interaction, but what we read through the lens of the web is often blurred by untruths and agendas, a distinct lack of critique and, as we have seen over the past few years, perhaps even foreign interference. Dan Whaley is attempting to...... >>
Together with our Fellows we focus our support on ecosystems where openness can make a substantial difference in creating a more equitable world. Move your mouse cursor over a Fellow or an area of focus for a breakdown.
We prioritise Fellows and their projects in our spending. The vast majority of our funding is allocated to them and their work, while we keep a small core team to provide the strategic support Fellows need and to continue guiding the evolution of the programme.
The figures you see here do not reflect each Fellow’s total available fellowship year funding, but rather the funds paid out against their budget within our financial year.
Fellowship years start either March or September and Fellows are not required to spend the available funds proportionately throughout the year. As driving social change does not adhere to financial or fellowship years, Fellows are also allowed to spend unlocked project funds beyond the end of a fellowship year. In addition to Alumni continuing to participate in our bi-annual fellows’ gatherings, mentoring new Fellows and engaging in the Fellowship group as support network, we remain invested in their entities and continue to work with them on project implementation.