Call for pitches: Help us rethink the internet

We are excited to announce that we are creating a collection of radical new visions for a better future internet by leading voices and emerging thinkers from Europe and beyond.

This will be mixed-media compendium with provocative, ambitious visions for what the future internet could look like. This book will bring together essays by leading thinkers in the internet space as well as artistic contributions by short story writers, artists, illustrators, and others. We are now looking for original and creative contributions across different media to be included in this set of visions for the future internet.

The main goal of this collection is to explore the future of the internet through a variety of different lenses.

What kind of internet might we be heading towards (seeking both notes of caution, as well as constructive ideas for how we might mend some of the internet’s emerging ills), and what lessons can we learn from its past? What alternatives for the internet can we imagine?

As we try to articulate a new vision for the internet to champion, what can we learn from other existing paradigms - from the dominant Chinese and Silicon Valley models, to lesser known developments from Cuba to Africa to Bilbao. What do we choose to keep, and what different futures would we like to see?

We are very keen to include a variety of different kinds of outputs in this collection: essays, videos and animations, long form journalism and reporting, short stories, poems, illustrations, comics, animations… We are very open to suggestions, as long as pitches engage with the stated topic in a creative and compelling way. The total set of contributions will be turned into an interactive website, to be released in February 2019. Please note that we will also produce a hardcopy book version of the collection, though the main output will be digital.

This experimental piece of work is part of the Nesta-led Engineroom project, which is helping to articulate a vision for the Next Generation Internet initiative, the European Commission’s ambitious new flagship programme seeking to build a more inclusive, resilient and democratic internet by 2025.

If you are interested in being part of this project, send us a pitch, including a short description (maximum 200 words) of the kind of contribution you had in mind and a selection of your work by October 26th. All materials should be sent to [email protected]. We will review all entries in the weeks after, and will be in touch with shortlisted applicants by early November.

FAQs (Read more on the Open Call page):

What kind of contributions are you looking for?

We are looking for contributions that explore (an aspect of) the internet through a different lens, be that a less-covered geographical or historical perspective or a radical new future vision altogether. Though both dystopian and positive visions are welcome, this output aims to be a source of inspiration for how we can make the internet better (more inclusive, resilient and democratic), so we challenge contributors to also come up with some constructive solutions for what Europe/the internet community should do next.

We are medium-agnostic and very open to out-of-the-box suggestions, but do ask potential contributors to keep in mind that we are releasing this compendium both as an interactive website as well as a physical book.

The backbone of this collection will be a set of essays, written both by established names in the internet field, as well as emerging thinkers. Though this is subject to change, we envision the following breakdown in contributions:

  • 18 original visions, 9 of which through invitation, 9 selected through this open call.
  • 12 or so non-essay contributions, including at least 2 short stories, poetry, illustrations and videos, a reported piece (such as a photo essay or longform article) and data visualisations.

All outputs will be released under a Creative Commons license (Attribution Noncommercial ShareAlike licence (CC-BY-NC-SA), full details here), meaning results can be republished elsewhere.

What do I need to include in my pitch?

We are initially asking potential contributors to just submit the following:

  • some examples of past relevant work.
  • a short pitch of up to 200 words on how you will approach developing a creative output that explores the future of the internet.

All materials should be sent to [email protected] by October 26th 2018. By sending us your pitch, you are agreeing to our terms and conditions and confirm you have read and understood our privacy policy.

Who can apply?

Applications are open to everyone over the age of 18, with applications from outside of the European Union also very welcome.

Will all contributors be paid?

Yes! It is incredibly important to us that all contributors are rewarded fairly for their work. As we will be commissioning a variety of different outputs, we will discuss financial support on an individual basis.

When can I expect to hear back from you?

We will be evaluating all applications in the weeks following the submission deadline, and expect to be in touch with potential contributors late October to early November. We will then plan a more formal discussion with candidates to discuss the specifics of your contribution.

What are the timelines? When do contributions need to be finalised?

We plan to release the compendium early next year, which means all contributions need to be finalised by mid-to-late January.

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to get in touch. All queries should be sent to [email protected] Do have a look at our dedicated open call page and terms and conditions document for more information.


Katja Bego

Katja Bego

Katja Bego

Principal Researcher, Next Generation Internet

Katja Bego was Principal Researcher and data scientist in Nesta’s technology futures and explorations team.

View profile