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 themes important to young citizens around the world. Hinged on using arts for advocacy, the fellowship was first launched in 2017. In 2018, it is being taken to four cities – Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Kolkata. The fellowship is already underway in Delhi and Kolkata. It is now accepting applications from Bengaluru and Mumbai!
 
At YLAC, we believe that active citizenship begins with advocacy on issues that matter to us, as individuals, and the Counter Speech Fellowship is a platform for teenagers to talk about issues that affect them. 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 and encouraged to build powerful visual content on the identified themes and the most inspiring content is promoted across the country on Instagram. The themes for the 2018 fellowship are: Bullying, Diversity, Mental Wellbeing, Body Positivity, Gender Equality and Sustainability.
 
The fellowship is designed as a fully funded engagement wherein fellows meet every alternate weekend for a period of 3-4 hours in their city. The overall duration of the fellowship is two months. The schedule is easy to accommodate alongside regular school work and examinations.
 
Applications to the Bengaluru and Mumbai editions are now open. Please follow the links below to read more and apply.
 
Details:  Themes and Pillars   |   Selection Process   |   Schedule   |   Eligibility & Time Commitment   |   Applications
 


 

Fellowship Themes

 

The 2018 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.
 

Pillars of the Fellowship

 
During the two-month long fellowship, fellows run campaigns to generate momentum for change, while focusing on the three core pillars of the fellowship:
 
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.
 
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 2017 edition, fellows put together recommendations for school authorities on how to deal to with issues like bullying and mental wellbeing. They also took over Instagram handles of influencers to talk about these issues. A roundtable was convened to formally share the learnings with school leaders and decision makers.
 
You can follow the content created by the Counter Speech Fellows by searching for the hashtag #counterspeechylac on Instagram.
 
Click here to return to the top
 


 

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 and their performance during an informal interview.
 
The selection process constitutes two rounds:

Round I: Interested candidates are required to fill in a descriptive online application form before the deadline of 31st August.

Round II: Shortlisted candidates are called for interviews. This is an informal interaction but conducted in-person in the city where the fellowship is being launched. Interviews for shortlisted students will be conducted on 23rd September (Sunday) in Bengaluru and on 29th September (Saturday) in Mumbai. Final selections will be announced soon after.
 
Please mark the following dates in your calendar:
Deadline for applications (31st August)   |   Interviews (23rd September in Bengaluru, 29th September in Mumbai)
 
Click here to return to the top
 


 

Schedule

 
The sessions for the Counter Speech Fellowship will take place at central locations in Mumbai and Bengaluru. Except the first and the last day, all other sessions are scheduled from 10 AM – 1:30 PM. Please note the timings in the calendar carefully.

Outside the sessions, fellows are required to create content for the fellowship themes allocated to them. This work is done in teams through remote collaboration during the intervening weeks.
 
Note: Attendance is mandatory at all sessions to graduate from the fellowship.
 

Mumbai Schedule (Sessions on Saturdays; Venue – Bombay Connect in the Bandra Kurla Complex)

Date & Time Activity
20th October
Saturday

10 AM – 5 PM

Fellowship curtain raiser: Training and Orientation

Exploring the concept of Counter Speech and fellowship themes

27th October
Saturday

10 AM – 1:30 PM

Learning the art of visual storytelling through photography

Digital marketing to power your campaigns

10th November
Saturday

10 AM – 1:30 PM

Workshop on the art of vlogging
24th November
Saturday

10 AM – 1:30 PM

Exploring the city and speaking to its residents – Insta-walk
8th December
Saturday

10 AM – 1:30 PM

Writing for change

Leadership in today’s world

22nd December
Saturday

10 AM – 3:30 PM

Reflections and fellowship culmination

 
Bengaluru Schedule (Sessions on Sundays; Venue – BHIVE, Residency Road in Shanthala Nagar)

Date & Time Activity
21st October
Sunday

10 AM – 5 PM

Fellowship curtain raiser: Training and Orientation

Exploring the concept of Counter Speech and fellowship themes

28th October
Sunday

10 AM – 1:30 PM

Learning the art of visual storytelling through photography

Digital marketing to power your campaigns

11th November
Sunday

10 AM – 1:30 PM

Workshop on the art of vlogging
25th November
Sunday

10 AM – 1:30 PM

Exploring the city and speaking to its residents – Insta-walk
9th December
Sunday

10 AM – 1:30 PM

Writing for change

Leadership in today’s world

23rd December
Sunday

10 AM – 3:30 PM

Reflections and fellowship culmination

 
Click here to return to the top
 


 

Frequently Asked Questions

 
1. What is the Counter Speech 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 the Counter Speech Fellowship 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 and where can I 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.

You can apply through the application form here.

4. What is the duration of the fellowship?

The Counter Speech Fellowship is a two month commitment. After the fellowship launch, fellows meet every alternate weekend for a period of 3-4 hours in their city. Applicants are advised to refer to the detailed calendar here.

5. Do I need to take leave from school to attend the fellowship?

No, you do not need to take leave from school as all fellowship sessions are scheduled on weekends.

6. What is the time commitment?

Fellows are required to attend the scheduled weekend sessions; each session is 3-4 hours long. However, the fellowship launch including the orientation is a full day session (8 hours).

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. However, this workload is spread over the intervening weeks and expected to be manageable.

7. Do I need to have an Instagram account to join the fellowship?

No, you don’t need to have an Instagram account while applying to the fellowship. Having said that, you will need to post content on Instagram theme handles during the fellowship, and so you will need to get familiar with the platform to be able to contribute effectively.

8. If selected, do I have to pay any fees for attending the fellowship?

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

9. Who facilitates the sessions?

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

10. How many fellows are selected in each city?

In its 2018 avatar, 30 Counter Speech Fellows will be selected in each city.

11. Is there any training/ orientation session for the fellows?

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. Do I get any certificate for this fellowship? Are there any attendance requirements?

Yes, attendance is mandatory. Since fellows are tasked to work in groups, the absence of any fellow is a disadvantage to his or her team.

Fellows are given a certificate of completion at the end of the fellowship and those who produce the best content are duly recognized.

 
Click here to return to the top