CyFer-Expression of Interest Call

Call for artists, designers and creative technologists to respond to the science of FemTech cybersecurity, privacy, ethics and trust.

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Description: Researchers from the CyFer project, funded by PETRAS, UK, are examining cybersecurity, privacy, ethics and trust in FemTech. Female-oriented technologies (FemTech) promise to enable people to take control of their bodies and lives, helping them overcome the many existing challenges in medical care and research. There is a lack of data about women and other minority and minoritised groups in medical sciences. There is also bias and discrimination in health studies, data sets, and algorithms. FemTech solutions promise to centre these groups in the design and development of their systems. However, the FemTech industry remains largely unregulated. There is a lack of clarity in the law (e.g. GDPR and HIPAA), and in industry and user practice in relation to this extremely sensitive data on different levels i.e. user consent, third-party sharing, and algorithmic bias which may lead to malicious purposes.

Call: We are looking for artists, designers and creative technologists who are interested in exploring FemTech cybersecurity, privacy, ethics and trust. We invite you to create critical artefacts and interventions that include digital and material speculations. You will have the opportunity to explore the technical and social aspects of this complex issue with the project team throughout your engagement, including workshops and informal interaction.

We want to commission a diverse selection of work, creating various new entry points to this research for new audiences. We are open to all types of creative response to this call, but will require there to be a digital aspect to the work, whether this is the work itself or an accompanying artefact.

Expression of interest: Please complete this form to express your interest. Ideas do not need to be fully formed at the point of EoI as we hope you will embark on this project with an open mind. We will be looking for:

  • Your initial thoughts on FemTech cybersecurity, privacy, ethics and trust; why you are interested; any initial broad ideas concerning your response,
  • An overview of your practice and the medium you anticipate responding in,
  • Examples of previous work that are relevant to this call in any capacity,
  • Explanation of how you might include a digital aspect to your work

Selected artists, designers, and creative technologists will receive £1500. You will retain ownership of the work in the long term but will agree to it being exhibited by PETRAS at the end of the project. You will also provide digital artefact(s) which PETRAS will retain use of for future research and public engagement activities.

EoIs are welcome from all over the world. We will cover the costs of transporting works in addition to the £1500 per artist/designer. There is no expectation that all artists/designers must attend anything in person in the UK and we will take a flexible approach to working in person/online/hybrid depending on the composition of the group of successful artists and designers.

If a text based EoI format is a barrier to your involvement please get in touch with Joe Bourne (joe.bourne@ucl.ac.uk; 07535266605) who will discuss alternative audio/video formats depending on your needs.

Commitment: Successful applicants will be expected to participate in activities designed to deepen your knowledge of the subject matter, provide occasional updates to the project team, create an artefact, contribute to a short video, and partake in an interview with the research team after the project. Anonymous participation can be discussed if required.

The team will engage with you throughout the journey to provide you with the relevant scientific resources around FemTech cybersecurity, privacy, ethics and trust. The specific activities (e.g., workshops) will be announced accordingly. We are not able to provide studio/fablab space.

Timeline:

  • The EoI should be submitted by midnight on 21st of August 2022.
  • Successful applicants will be informed by 9th September 2022
  • Successful applicants will be expected to start in Sept/Oct 2022 and finalise their work by the end Jan 2023.
  • The exhibition itself is tbd, dependant on the composition of artists/designers/creative technologists and their anticipated works. However, a launch/exhibition is expected to be held in Mar 2023.

Team:
Joseph Bourne is Creative Communications Research Fellow for PETRAS National Centre of Excellence for IoT Systems Cybersecurity and a researcher of Cybersecurity Design at Lancaster University, UK. He is responsible for fostering collaboration across PETRAS’s socio-technical research network and producing outputs which engage the public. Joe has a track record of facilitating successful (and enjoyable!) collaborations between artists and scientists.

Dr Teresa Almeida is currently an Invited Associate Professor at ITI/LARSyS, IST University of Lisbon in Portugal. She received her PhD from Newcastle University UK where her work explored human-computer interaction (HCI) interaction design approaches in intimate health and wellbeing. Her work is interdisciplinary, design-led and interventional, and it currently centres around social justice informatics and the design of material and human-data interactions to enquire current practices and tools in the design of technologies for intimate data. She is the Academic Partner of CyFer.

Dr Maryam Mehrnezhad is a Senior Lecturer in Cybersecurity and Privacy, School of Computing, Newcastle University, UK. She will join the Information Security Group (ISG) at RHUL, UK in September 2022. Maryam works on a wide range of Security Engineering projects. Her current research is on the security and privacy of Minority and Minoritized user groups across demographics (gender, nationality, age, etc.). She works with multiple industrial partners and is particularly interested in real-world multi-disciplinary projects and working with industry and standardisation bodies. She is the PI of CyFer project.

Dr Ehsan Toreini is an Assistant Professor in Computer Science at Durham University. The main theme of his research is Security Engineering and Applied Cryptography. His current work is on trustworthy ML and AI. He is interested in developing cryptographic protocols in auditing ML systems for their fairness in a privacy-preserving way and without revealing the models and datasets. Ehsan is the Co-I of CyFer.

Further reading:
You may want to read some of the (open access) papers, blog posts and news items from the CyFer Project in preparation for your expression of interest and to inform your ideas: