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International Research and Collaboration Awards

Four awards of up to £2000 to support research and engagement with Seminar themes, open to international participants across the diverse communities engaged with AI.

The University of Cambridge is hosting a Mellon Sawyer Seminar entitled Histories of AI: A Genealogy of Power from May 2020 to April 2021. The Seminar will be co-hosted by the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, and the Faculty of English. Sawyer Seminars support comparative research on the historical and cultural sources of contemporary developments. This Seminar aims to develop an international interpretive community capable of offering a structural, historical perspective on the promises and problematics of AI and machine learning.

This new community will include participants from a variety of fields and backgrounds including activists, AI practitioners, artists, citizens, critical theorists, decolonial scholars, historians of science and technology, and scholars from race, gender, and disability studies. We will engage in critical and comparative research, from antiquity to the present, on the historical and cultural sources of contemporary developments in AI technologies to investigate their entanglement in systems of politics, power and control. Four themes will guide our considerations: hidden labour, encoded behaviour, cognitive injustice and disingenuous rhetoric.

The Seminar's activities include:

  • A week long Summer School, hosted at the University of Cambridge from 12 to 18 July 2020
  • A monthly Reading Group, hosted at the University of Cambridge but accessible online for international participants
  • A one day Graduate Winter School, hosted at the University of Pennsylvania
  • Four Public Events in Spring 2021 on the Seminar themes, held in Cambridge, London, and at Columbia University
  • A concluding Symposium for core Seminar members, held at the University of Cambridge in April 2021

We are inviting applications to the Seminar's Research and Collaboration Awards, of up to £2000 per applicant. These are intended to support research and other forms of engagement with the Seminar's themes and aims. We are particularly interested in supporting research activities located in Asia and the Global South. It is intended that these Awards extend the Seminar's community beyond its Anglo-American-situated core participants and support work and reflection across the diverse communities engaging with AI.

Successful Research and Collaboration Award recipients will be:

  • expected to participate in Seminar activities, in particular the Summer and/or Winter Schools, including presenting their work;
  • invited to contribute to Seminar outputs;
  • supported in their research and other activities through engagement with the Seminar.

To apply for a Research and Collaboration Award on the Histories of AI: A Genealogy of Power Sawyer Seminar, please complete this application form.

Deadline for applications: Friday 14 February 2020