National Competition Features Expert Guest Judges, Spark Creative Conversations about Democracy
Feb. 4, 2013
/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today marks the launch of a new digital media challenge that seeks to start a national conversation on ideas and solutions to improve American democracy, with cash prizes for the most fresh and creative submissions.
is a national competition offering a total of
in prize money for short, provocative media submissions designed to spark a national conversation about why government is important to our lives, or how individuals and communities can come together to strengthen American democracy. Launching today,
February 4, 2013
, the challenge will award
for First Place along with significant prizes for 2
place as well as categories and awards for People's Choice and Emerging Artists.
Examples of welcome submissions would be addressing a critical topic that is absent from the national debate, looking at data and exploring the stories behind them, or highlighting an aspect about democracy taking place on a local level. By making submissions in any digital format welcome, the challenge hopes to engage with independent media makers, investigative reporters, students, graphic designers and artists - anyone with creative ideas to help engage Americans and shift the political discussion in a fresh and engaging way.
Looking@Democracy is a project of the Illinois Humanities Council (IHC), with support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Through new initiatives and past work, the two organizations have shown their commitment in providing platforms for more people to understand and participate in the democratic system through creative means.
"Given our perception that the political system has failed to adequately address major issues confronting the nation, MacArthur seeks to stimulate discussion about the future of the Republic and invests in promising ideas to help enhance democratic ideals, institutions, and practices," said MacArthur President
. "This new public competition is all about engaging citizens and encouraging them to apply their creative talents and offer their ideas to strengthen American democracy."
"So much of our information today is shared electronically, whether it be through videos, podcasts, graphic art, or even through mobile phone apps," said
, Executive Director of the Illinois Humanities Council. "With Looking@Democracy, we hope to harness the potential of digital media to welcome new voices and start conversations about real, reasonable ways to improve our nation, our communities, and our lives."
A panel of expert judges from media and non-profits will judge the submissions, which include
of Public Radio's Latino
, Filmmaker Byron Hurt (Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes) and
, film director (American Blackout) and Executive Director of the Citizen Engagement Laboratory.
Looking@Democracy submissions will be accepting submissions today through
April 30, 2013
. Full challenge rules and submission information can be found by visiting the website
About the JudgesKevin Coval:
Kevin Coval is an author and co-founder & artistic director of
a Bomb: The Chicago Teen Poetry Festival.
is the founder of Futuro Media Group and anchor and executive producer of Latino
, and has been listed as one of the 100 most influential Latinos in
the United States
by Hispanic Business Magazine three times.
is an award-winning documentary filmmaker (
Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes, Soul Food Junkies
), a published writer, and activist.
is an award-winning director (
), author (
) and Executive Director of the Citizen Engagement Laboratory.
is a co-founder of Sparkwise and media advisor with the Sundance Institute.
About the Illinois Humanities Council
The Illinois Humanities Council is an independent, nonprofit state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, dedicated to fostering a culture in which the humanities are a vital part of the lives of individuals and communities. The IHC creates programs and funds organizations that promote greater understanding of, appreciation for, and involvement in the humanities by all Illinoisans, regardless of their economic resources, cultural background, or geographic location.In 2008, the IHC presented "Looking for Democracy, a short film contest that encouraged filmmakers to unleash their radical imaginations and look for democracy in creative and unusual spaces. The IHC is supported by state, federal, and private funds. IHC's Looking for Democracy short film contest in 2008.
About the MacArthur Foundation
The MacArthur Foundation supports creative people and effective institutions committed to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. In addition to selecting the MacArthur Fellows, the Foundation works to defend human rights, advance global conservation and security, make cities better places, and understand how technology is affecting children and society. The Foundation is exploring the question of how to strengthen democracy in the U.S., given its perception that the political system has failed to adequately address major issues confronting the nation. More information is at
SOURCE MacArthur Foundation