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Digital IDEAS

July 19-23, 2021, Online

Keynotes: André Brock, Stephanie Dinkins, Rayvon Fouché, Catherine Knight Steele, Lisa Nakamura, Remi Yergeau

The Digital Studies Institute at the University of Michigan is excited to announce its first annual Digital IDEAS: A Summer Institute for Anti-Racist Critical Digital Studies. In keynote lectures, panels, methodologies workshops, and group discussions, we will ask: What would an equitable digital future look like? 

This year’s Digital IDEAS seeks to explore the ways that the digital perpetuates existing inequalities and envision a new anti-racist, anti-ableist, intersectionally inclusive digital future through a nuanced speculative, experimental, and critical lens. This one-week online summer institute will provide critical digital studies training and support collaborative, intersectional projects that center anti-racist, feminist, LGBTQ-affirming, and anti-ableist practices. 

Our goal is to create a close cohort of participants committed to participating in a week of community-building, skill-sharing, and rigorous theoretical discussion. Alongside keynotes and panels, Digital IDEAS methods workshops will situate tools and technologies, linking critical theory about race, gender, and disability with critical practice related to digital environments.

This year, we will also announce the launch of DISCO: The Digital Inquiry, Speculation, Collaboration, & Optimism Network. Co-founded by Digital IDEAS 2021 Keynote speakers André Brock, Stephanie Dinkins, Rayvon Fouché, Catherine Knight Steele, Lisa Nakamura, and Remi Yergeau, DISCO is Mellon Foundation-funded research initiative and collaborative network. Please see the bios below for more information on the speakers' areas of interest, including Historical Afrofuturisms; Black Digital Feminism; Ethnic Studies and Social Media; Art Practice and Artificial Intelligence; Race and Technoculture; Accessibility and the Rhetoric of Disability; Speculative Futures; and Digital Pedagogy. 


Digital IDEAS is open to advanced graduate students, post-docs, alt-ac staff, and early-career faculty (NTT and TT) at academic institutions as well as artists, technologists, and community activists/advocates who feel their work is a good match.

Cost of attendance:

Digital IDEAS 2021 is FREE to all admitted attendees! While future in-person sessions will have an associated cost of attendance, we’re thrilled to announce that this year’s institute is co-sponsored by the Mellon Foundation, making participation free for the inaugural cohort.


Please let us know if you have any difficulty accessing the application, which does have a field inquiring about potential participants' access needs. CART (real-time captioning) will be provided for all sessions of this event.

Application process and timeline:

Please apply via the following link. We’ve tried to keep the application accessible, simple, and straightforward.

Applications are due FRIDAY, MAY 14, but we encourage you to apply ASAP. We will notify admitted applicants by the first week of June.

If you have any questions after reviewing the application, you may contact