Support AIxDESIGN

AIxDESIGN needs your support to continue the impactful work

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How you can support AIxDESIGN

While we are a community of 8,000+ researchers, designers, practitioners across the globe, a majority of the work we do is led by a small cohort. If you’re familiar with our work and values, you know that we prioritize community and people over profits. Despite the passionate volunteer efforts that drive our mission forward, we also face the reality that our current financial model does not enable us to sustainably continue work.

Help us sustain the work we do with a donation that make sense for you and your financial situation. Your donation, no matter the size, play a crucial role in building and sustaining our capacity as an organization.

  • Contribute a one-time donation here.
  • Here is also a full list of ways to support us.
  • If contributing financially isn’t feasible for you at this time, we invite you to join us as a valued contributor.

For full transparency, we’ve included more details below on the current operating model, team, and finances of AIxDESIGN below.

Our impact in the field

Since 2018, AIxDESIGN has been a space for critical AI research that is community-initiated and led. From AI Playground 🛝 to Story+Code 📖 to Slow AI 🐜, this setup has allowed us to conduct research on our own terms – terms that prioritise:

  • community expertise and participation over centralised thought leadership
  • the impact on people, and culture over the impact on profits; and
  • accessible and engaging publications – like Tiktok essays and Instagram Reels – over academic papers.

As a self-organised and self-funded team, we have been able to operate outside of the influences of Big Tech and the hard-to-crack language and networks of formal academia. We believe this work and approach is important. It offers another way to conduct and publish critical AI research that directly address the issues our communities face.

We are proud of the work we produce – both the quality of thinking and the quality of production. Our work has been showcased by: Creative Lives in Progress | John Meada’s 2023 Design in Tech report | PAGE Magazine | BNR News Radio. And all on an aggressively shoestring budget.

BEHIND THE SCREENS

There's a tension between people's perception of AIxDESIGN and our lived reality.

We’re proud of how much we’ve been able to do with so very little, but in order to be able to continue doing this work we must care for ourselves as much as we care for the work

Today, our core team is made up of 3 people (see here ) each of whom are semi-paid. As working-class babies in a capitalist society and without money trees or rich parents, we do the work we do at AIxDESIGN on top of the freelance work we have to do to pay our rent & living costs. This is becoming increasingly unsustainable.

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Three (Wo)men in a Trench Coat, Craft Clay, Dream Studio, April 2024

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The cost of AIxDESIGN

People cost

Starting in January 2024 we began paying this core organising team €500 per month 🎉 We each work on AIxD 3ish days per week which means that we’re paid an hourly rate of €5.95. We’ve been able to pay ourselves consistently each month since then. (Genuinely, we’re very proud of this.)

Our goal for 2024 is to pay our core organisers a minimum hourly wage for 14 hours / week. This means¹: ¹ Since we live in different places, we’ve used the city with the highest living wage as a benchmark. So, London’s Living wage (2024) is £13.15 per hour or €15.38 per hour.

  • €860 per person per month or
  • €11,180 per person per year or
  • €33,540 for the whole AIxD team per year

Software cost

As team born(ish) and raised during Covid lock-downs² ² Read: decentralised and online-firstwe thankfully have low overhead costs. While they are low, they are not €0.

Our tech stack includes: Slack, Miro, Google Suite, Butter, Descript, and Bevel – running us a total of €100ish per month, or €1300 per year.

How we pay for AIxDESIGN

We’re proud of how much we’ve been able to do with so very little, but in order to be able to continue doing this work we must care for ourselves as much as we care for the work.

So far, we’ve explored different funding avenues:

  1. 🖼️ Arts & Culture Grants: we’re learning how to write these applications and getting better. We’ve sent a ton of them, been awarded a couple³ ³ 📯 Shout out Stimulerlingsfonds, Digital Culture Grant 2021, 2023 and rejected from sooo many others.
  2. 💼 Paid client work: We take on paid client work⁵ ⁵ check out AIxD For Hire↗︎ to work with us! then donate what we can (we shoot for 40%) to cover community costs. This keeps us afloat for now but doesn’t fully cover our operational costs while adding more work for us to deliver.
  3. 💶 Community donations: Folks send donations for things like our AIxDESIGN Toolkit ↗︎ or the AI Ideation Cards ↗︎; our online events; or as a one-time thank you! We’d love to scale this but not sure how.
  4. 📰 Paywall: Nah, we care too much about ‘researching-in-the-open’ to turn our findings and approaches into a pay-to-play situation.

Building a sustainable future

If we think it’s important to develop alternative narratives and approaches to AI, we must also ensure there are viable ways to do this work outside the institutional routes we know.

This is what we’re trying to prototype – for our own team, our collaborators, and everyone else working for this mission. We hope together we can find ways to make it work 💐

We’re continuing to explore additional avenues to develop a more sustainable financial model 🌱 and ensure the continuity and evolution of AIxDESIGN projects and the community.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to the team if you have any suggestions, feedback, ideas. We want to develop something that meets the appropriate balance of community, while valuing the labor we pour into this work. Thank you all for your support!