2022-23 Assembly Fellowship Summary

In its inaugural year, the 2022-2023 RSM Assembly Fellowship program brought together 13 interdisciplinary researchers, entrepreneurs, and professionals to design new interfaces, build needed tools, and grow communities of practice that reimagine and rework digital social space in service of the public interest.

Inspired by the Berkman Klein Center’s successful Assembly Program, which ran from 2017-2022, the Assembly Fellowship asked participants to revise, refine, and execute individual projects over the course of the six-month, hybrid fellowship.  In addition to weekly virtual sessions, the cohort met for three in-person weeks at BKC’s offices: a kick-off design sprint, a midpoint week of workshopping, and a final convening where participants presented their projects to the BKC community.   Fellows learned from invited guests such as Biella Coleman, Kate Klonick, Mason Kortz, David Rand, Zeve Sanderson, Nathan Schneider, Ben Wittes, and Ethan Zuckerman; received iterative feedback from an advisory board which included RSM Faculty Directors James Mickens and Jonathan Zittrain, as well as Nathan Freitas, Rachel Kalmar, Sarah Newman, Nathan Persily, Deb Roy, Claire Stapleton, and Jordi Weinstock; and developed plans to sustain and publicize their projects beyond the bounds of the fellowship through workshops centered on funding opportunities, project pitching, and op-ed writing.   

The diversity of backgrounds and skill sets that fellows brought to the cohort shaped the range of projects: a game pilot informed by principles of constructive communication for social media conversations, a platform with posting constraints that produced new kinds of user behaviors, a dashboard to understand how federal legislative proposals variously define key social media terms, and an organization of like-minded integrity professionals, among many impressive others.  

This year’s RSM Assembly Fellowship was generously funded by the Archewell Foundation, Craig Newmark, the Knight Foundation, and Reid Hoffman.