Interaction Awards - Why Are There Fees for Entry?
14 Jun 2011 - 9:26am
Since the launch of the Interaction Awards last week, a few people have asked us why there are fees for entry, and where all of that money goes. The answer is simple: the entry fees are in place to fund the Awards program itself, and to create a new platform within IxDA for recognizing tangible examples of design excellence.
The scope of the Interaction Awards is ambitious. The impact of our growing field is wide and diverse, and it is our mission to reach beyond our community to demonstrate the value of interaction design within the global economy. Creating this conversation on an international scale requires commitment, logistics, infrastructure, and, well, travel. It’s these things, and hopefully a lot more, that your entry fees will support.
A key component to the success of this program is our esteemed international jury. To reflect the varied range of cultures, domains and expertise within the field of interaction design, we chose jurors of various experience from across the globe. From Younghee Jung, based in Bangalore to Jonas Lowgren in Malmo and Massimo Banzi in Milan. From Matt Jones in London to IxDA President Janna DeVylder in Sydney, and Helen Walters and our Jury Chair Robert Fabricant in NYC. These seven experts have committed their time, energy, and unique perspectives on our field to evaluate our work and elevate the design discussion with the world at large.
To bring their international perspectives together into a single conversation, evaluation by the jury will be conducted in person. We believe that presence and discourse are essential to the process. So our jury will meet all together in one room for two days in October, to review and discuss the shortlisted work: they’ll review videos, reflect on essays; touch, hold, and try out prototypes. The entry fees will cover their flights and lodging, and a small honorarium for their time.
An addition, an award program like this requires robust technological infrastructure to support the online entry process. We needed a system that could support complex work flows around user accounts, entry submission, international payments, and community voting. Due to the work required of our volunteer staff, and a need to be able to quickly troubleshoot any unforeseen issues that arise in this first year, we licenced a third-party awards management platform called mBlast. While the interaction and interface constraints of using mBlast are not pretty, it provides the infrastructure we needed to get this program off the ground. A portion of the entry fees pay for that.
And lastly, at the end of this first year, we’ll have a lot to celebrate. The Interaction Awards will honor the inaugural winners at an awards ceremony and party hosted at Interaction|12, in Dublin, Ireland. Some of the proceeds from the entries will fund the logistics behind producing this international event, subsidizing winners’ travel, and furnishing prizes to be awarded.
How did we determine the fees? While there is a fee for entry into the Awards, all fees are not created equally. To reflect the diversity of the global IxDA community and support fair and inclusive participation, the entry fees are tiered according to geography and professional status. The fee structure was guided by research across comparative programs, and the widely accepted International Monetary Fund classification.
But there’s more, we hope. We’re currently looking for an industry sponsor to underwrite the operational costs of the program so that some of the money we raise can go back into the IxDA community. With a sponsor in place, we can build the necessary infrastructure for the awards program going forward, establish international scholarships, and fund community programs that raise awareness of the global voices within our field. With each entry we get closer to this goal.