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Rewarding Disobedience

The Noun Project / MIT Media Lab

by Jessica Sousa

March 7, 2017

On July 21, 2016 we announced the creation of a $250K cash prize award for responsible disobedience. This idea came after a realization that there’s a widespread frustration from people trying to figure out how can we effectively harness responsible, ethical disobedience aimed at challenging our norms, rules, or laws to benefit society.

The Media Lab Disobedience Award seeks to highlight effective, responsible, ethical disobedience across disciplines (scientific research, civil rights, freedom of speech, human rights, and the freedom to innovate, for example). Disobedience Award objectives are to build awareness and support of disobedience-robust work being done around the world, and to promote role models for younger people. With this award, we will honor work that impacts society in positive ways, and is consistent with a set of key principles, including non-violence, creativity, courage, and responsibility for one’s actions. The award will go to a living person or group engaged in what we believe is extraordinary disobedience for the benefit of society. We’re seeking both expected and unexpected nominees. 

Nomination and Selection Process

A screening committee composed of a small and diverse group of individuals in the MIT Media Lab network of activists, scientists, designers, and engineers will review the nominations and select the award recipient.

There are two ways you can participate in this process: by nominating a person or group, or by enlisting your social circle in the nomination process. You’ll have the chance to be rewarded for both actions, since both are crucial:

1. If you are the first person to nominate the Disobedience Award winner, we will fly you to Boston to attend the award ceremony on Monday, July 21 at the MIT Media Lab.

2. If you recruit others to make nominations, and one of them is the first person to nominate the Disobedience Award winner, we will also fly you to attend the award ceremony in July.

Deadline for submissions is May 1, 2017. Award recipient will be announced live on July 21, 2017. We will announce a shortlist of nominees prior to the event

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