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University News

UMass Amherst Launches New Hub for Critical Tech and Global Studies

Series of activities planned to celebrate the founding of the Global Technology for Social Justice Lab
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With the guiding principle of “Beyond Borders, Bits and Biases,” UMass Amherst recently launched the Global Technology for Social Justice (GloTech) Lab to explore tech innovation, design and activism beyond Silicon Valley in favor of comparative analysis and trust network-building across institutions, disciplines, countries and regions.

Founded with the help of a UMass Large-Scale Integrative Research Award (LIRA), and home to interdisciplinary projects and research-network grants supported by Luminate, the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the National Science Foundation, GloTech charts out a globally minded and community-driven approach to critical tech studies. 

The lab will host its first public event, “GloTech Lab presents Meet the Funders,” on Friday, March 29 from 1-3 p.m. in Room N345 of the Integrative Learning Center and via Zoom. Christine Leuenberger of the National Science Foundation, Molly Laas of the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) Media and Democracy Program and Catalina Vallejo of SSRC’s Just Tech Program will discuss the challenges and opportunities for sustainable research funding for global and critical tech studies. Researchers and graduate students will hear about relevant research grants and fellowship funding opportunities. More information is available by emailing

GloTech’s official launch event April 18-19 will feature a workshop entitled “Empowering Election Integrity in the Global Majority.” The event will bring together 50 academics, civil-society leaders and journalists monitoring global elections around the world including Brazil, India, Kenya, the Philippines, South Africa and the United States. The primary objective of the event is to reflect on opportunities of building transnational solidarities in the tech+democracy space, with a special focus on South-to-South knowledge exchange spaces.

GloTech’s inaugural director is Jonathan Corpus Ong, an associate professor of global digital media at UMass Amherst and an Andrew Carnegie Fellow. The lab’s leadership team includes research lead Burcu Baykurt, assistant professor of urban futures and communication; community lead Seyram Avle, associate professor of global digital media; public communications lead Weiai “Wayne” Xu, associate professor of communication; postdoctoral researcher of race and digital politics Jane Pyo; and strategic partnerships lead Martha Fuentes-Bautista, senior lecturer of communication. They are supported by an expert team of senior and graduate fellows spanning a range of disciplines, from communication and computer science to journalism and public policy.

Those interested in learning more can sign up for GloTech’s newsletter and follow the lab on Instagram.