CLTC Launches Cybersecurity Arts Contest, Calls for Proposals

Ann Cleaveland, Executive Director, CLTC
Ann Cleaveland, Executive Director, CLTC

The Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity (CLTC) has launched a contest seeking artistic proposals that engage substantively with cybersecurity in themes, topics, audience, and/or materials.

The primary goal of the contest is to expand and refine representations and portrayals of cybersecurity, broadly defined. To this end, CLTC seeks proposals for interdisciplinary work produced and shared as single-channel media or web-based work. It encourages the submission of proposals from cross-disciplinary teams and says applicants may propose installations of existing work or commission of new work.

CLTC acknowledged that there is constant evolution of conceptual and practical aspects of the term “cybersecurity” and changes in the meaning of what is meant by “cyber” and “security” in ways that would have been almost unimaginable a few years ago.

Contemporary tropes of security’s representation (e.g., the “hacker in the hoodie,” the “scrolling green code,” etc), according to CLTC, fail to capture the gravity, impact, and reach of security in daily life. For these reasons, it believes a transformative cybersecurity research program should grapple with security’s representation and discourse in the public sphere.

CLTC hopes to expand public dialogue around – and awareness of – cybersecurity through the contest by addressing such questions as:  What are new ways of representing the human impacts of security? How might critical alternatives to contemporary tropes reshape the way policymakers, technical practitioners, and the general public make decisions about security? What aspects of information security are missed in discussions of “cyber” security?

It expects to work with the selected artists to show this work throughout 2020 at venues that will depend on submissions, but could include salons, artist talks, and/or installations. Example audiences of interest include participants at the Eyeo Festival, RightsCon, the Internet Freedom Festival.

CLTC will prioritize proposals that have the potential to make a meaningful, longer term impact on the representation of cybersecurity through means including (but not limited to) performances, gallery showings, film, video, photography, fiction, and storytelling.

Prize award amounts range from a minimum of $5,000 to a maximum of $25,000.

Interested persons should submit their proposals online through the proposal form available at

Proposals received will be reviewed by an interdisciplinary committee and judged for artistic merit, relevance, feasibility, and potential impact. Impact here should include potential downstream effects from the work (e.g., influencing other artists, reaching particular audiences, etc). CLTC will prioritise proposals that demonstrate a plan for completion of work by January 2020.

Proposals should include a timeline for execution and a one-page budget summary and should be submitted on or before July 30, 2019 by midnight, California time.

Prizes will be distributed to winners starting September 2019. Prize winners will be invited to attend the CLTC Research Exchange on October 3rd, 2019 in order to engage with the cybersecurity research community at Berkeley. CLTC says it will work with the winning artists to show, and facilitate engagement with and discussion of resulting work in relevant venues (TBD) throughout 2020. Recipients must be individuals rather than entities.