Counter Speech Fellowship


 
The YLAC Counter Speech Fellowship with Instagram engages creative teens to use the power of visual storytelling to start meaningful conversations on issues important to young citizens around the world. Anchored at the crossroads of arts and advocacy, the fellowship was first launched in 2017 and has since expanded to over 9 cities in India and Nepal.
 
As an incubator for the future generation of leaders and activists, the fellowship is built around three pillars – awareness, support and advocacy. Fellows are mentored to build powerful content and the most inspiring work is promoted on Instagram. The fellowship is designed as a fully funded engagement wherein fellows meet every alternate week for a couple of hours. The overall duration of the fellowship is two months and the schedule is easy to accommodate alongside regular school work and examinations.
 
Applications to Phase III of the 2020 fellowship are currently open. This phase is designed as a virtual engagement to accommodate constraints imposed by COVID-19. All sessions will be conducted online and the fellowship is open to teenagers across India. Please follow the links below to see details and apply.
 
See:   Themes   |   Structure of Phase III   |   Schedule   |   Deadlines   |   Fellowship Pillars   |   FAQs   |   Applications


 

Fellowship Themes

 

The fellowship focuses on six themes: Bullying, Diversity, Mental Wellbeing, Body Positivity, Gender Equality and Sustainability. The idea is to use the internet and social media as a force for good by creating unique communities around issues that matter to teenagers, and provide a platform for voicing concerns and advocating for changes. By giving teens a voice and building their capacity to mobilize people, we hope to create a world that is more inclusive and tolerant.
 
Over the course of the fellowship, the Counter Speech Fellows run feeds on Instagram on their selected themes. These feeds put out creative and thought provoking content with the aim of creating awareness, leading action and extending support. You can see examples of content created by the fellows here: @counterspeechfellowship
 


 

Phase III

October – December 2020

 

Fellowship Structure

 
The fellowship’s online version will include workshop sessions in large groups on alternate Sundays and team mentorship sessions in smaller groups on alternate Thursday/ Friday evenings. Fellows will attend one workshop session and one team mentorship session every fortnight.
 
Outside the sessions, fellows will be expected to create content on the themes allocated to them. This work will be done in teams through remote collaboration during the intervening weeks.

 


 

Detailed Schedule

(IST: Indian Standard Time)

Curtain Raiser

Sunday 11th October



Time: 9:30 AM – 4:30 PM IST
Note: Fellows will be required to join sessions for about 4 hrs within this time slot

Sessions
Fellowship curtain raiser: Training and Orientation

Exploring the concept of Counter Speech

Mentorship Check-In

Thursday or Friday evening 15th or 16th October

Duration: 1.5 hrs

Leadership & Advocacy

Sunday 25th October



Time: 10 AM – 12 PM IST (2 hrs)

Sessions
Advocacy and leadership in today’s world

Digital marketing to power your campaigns

Mentorship Check-In

Thursday or Friday evening 29th or 30th October

Duration: 1.5 hrs

Visual Storytelling

Sunday 8th November



Time: 10 AM – 12 PM IST (2 hrs)

Sessions
Learning the art of visual storytelling

Mentorship Check-In

Thursday or Friday evening 12th or 13th November

Duration: 1.5 hrs

Exploring perspectives

Sunday 22nd November



Time: 10 AM – 12 PM IST (2 hrs)

Sessions
Going live on Instagram, inviting people in for a conversation and exploring perspectives

Mentorship Check-In

Thursday or Friday evening 26th or 27th November

Duration: 1.5 hrs

The Power of Creativity

Sunday 6th December



Time: 10 AM – 12 PM IST (2 hrs)

Sessions
Learning to use the various forms of art – sketching, photography, vlogging, writing etc. – for change

Mentorship Check-In

Thursday or Friday evening 10th or 11th December

Duration: 1.5 hrs

Fellowship Closing

Sunday 20th December



Time: 9:30 AM – 4:30 PM IST
Note: Fellows will be required to join sessions for about 4 hrs within this time slot

Sessions
Reflections and fellowship culmination

See:   Themes   |   Structure of Phase III   |   Schedule   |   Deadlines   |   Fellowship Pillars   |   FAQs   |   Applications
 



 

Deadlines & Selection Process

 
In our Counter Speech Fellows, we look for passionate, spirited, creative, empathetic and committed teen leaders who wish to see the world as a more inclusive and kind place. There are no prerequisites in terms of fields of study. The final evaluation of applicants is based on their responses to the questions in a short application form.
 
Interested candidates should fill the online form before the deadline of 6th September (Sunday). Final selections will be announced by the end of September.

 


 

Pillars of the Fellowship

 
During the two-month long fellowship, fellows will run campaigns to generate momentum for change while focusing on the three core pillars of the fellowship: Awareness, Support and Advocacy.
 

Awareness

 
Building awareness is the first step in any campaign. It starts with educating oneself, conversing with others and removing taboos. To this end, fellows leverage the Instagram platform to create content around their themes. The most promising content is promoted on Instagram to reach thousands of other teenagers across the country, and the world.
 


Support

 
The fellowship themes are issues that have, in some form or the other, affected most teenagers. Any call for mobilization must therefore begin with empathy and an extension of support to those who have been adversely affected. As part of their work, the Counter Speech Fellows lend support to peers and other teenagers who reach out to them in times of distress.
 


Advocacy

 
The fellowship is a powerful platform for teenagers to reach out to key decision makers such as policymakers, educators and parents to get their opinions heard and advocate for better support systems for teenagers. During the previous editions, fellows put together recommendations for school authorities on how to deal with issues like bullying and mental wellbeing. They also took over Instagram handles of influencers to talk about these issues.
 

 
See:   Themes   |   Structure of Phase III   |   Schedule   |   Deadlines   |   Fellowship Pillars   |   FAQs   |   Applications
 


 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is this fellowship?

The Counter Speech Fellowship is an exceptional opportunity for teen leaders to engage with themes such as Bullying, Diversity, Mental Wellbeing, Body Positivity, Gender Equality and Sustainability. This one-of-its-kind fellowship seeks to use the internet and social media as a force for good to create unique communities around issues that matter, and for voicing thoughts, opinions and concerns.

2. Why has it been instituted?

The internet is a powerful tool for teenagers to follow their interests, connect, express, build communities, and create support for causes. YLAC and Instagram are committed to working with teens to help them leverage this powerful tool to address issues that affect them directly. By giving teens a voice and building their capacity to mobilize people for change, we hope to create a world that embraces differences and provides support to those who need it the most.

3. Am I eligible to apply?

If you are studying in grades 8th-12th and are between 13 to 18 years of age, you are eligible to apply. Students who are 18 years of age but have already completed school are not eligible.

4. What are the selection criteria?

We look for passionate, spirited, creative teen leaders who wish to see the world as a more inclusive and kind place. There are no prerequisites in terms of fields of study. The final evaluation of applicants is based on their responses to the questions in a short application form.

5. How many fellows are selected?

We usually select 30-35 Counter Speech Fellows for each cohort. In Phase III of the fellowship, four cohorts will be run in parallel.

6. How long is the fellowship?

The Counter Speech Fellowship is a two month commitment. After the fellowship launch, fellows will meet every alternate week for a couple of hours. Applicants are advised to refer to the detailed calendar here.

7. How much time will I commit?

Fellows are expected to attend the scheduled sessions as indicated in the calendar.

Outside the sessions, fellows are required to create content for the fellowship theme allocated to them - Bullying, Diversity, Mental Wellbeing, Body Positivity, Gender Equality and Sustainability. This workload is spread over the intervening weeks and expected to be manageable.

8. Do I take leave from school?

No, there is no need for you to take leave from school. All workshop/ mentorship sessions are scheduled either on weekends or late in the evening on weekdays.

9. Do I need an Instagram account?

You don’t need to have an Instagram account while applying to the fellowship. But, you will need to post content on Instagram theme handles during the fellowship, and will therefore need to get familiar with the platform to be able to contribute effectively.

10. Do I have to pay a fee?

No! This is a fully funded fellowship. Just give the fellowship your creative best. You need not worry about anything else!

11. Is there an orientation?

YLAC and Instagram conduct a training and orientation session for the fellows on the first day of the fellowship. This session has been designed to give the fellows an overview of what the Counter Speech Fellowship has in store for them. The session is also meant to help them understand how they can contribute and what their roles and responsibilities are during and after the fellowship.

12. Who facilitates the sessions?

The sessions are facilitated by the YLAC and the Instagram teams. During the course of the fellowship, a number of external speakers, social media influencers, policy makers, content makers and other guests are also invited to conduct specific sessions with the fellows. They engage and interact with the fellows on the identified issues and themes.

13. Do I get a certificate?

Yes, fellows are given a certificate of completion at the end of the fellowship and those who demonstrate leadership and produce the best content are duly recognized.

14. Is attendance compulsory?

Yes, attendance at the sessions is mandatory. Since fellows are tasked with working in groups, the absence of any fellow is a disadvantage to his or her team. Please check the schedule carefully to ensure your availability. Feel free to write to us at office(at)theylacproject.com in case you have any queries.

 
See:   Themes   |   Structure of Phase III   |   Schedule   |   Deadlines   |   Fellowship Pillars   |   FAQs   |   Applications