Blog Post: IIPSJ Selects 2023-2024 Wikimedia Race and Knowledge Equity Fellows

2023-2024 Wikimedia Race and Knowledge Equity Fellows



Kyra Abrams is second year doctoral student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research interests surround data autonomy and data privacy, specifically what data autonomy would be like through a critical informatics perspective. She previously received her B.A. from UC Berkeley, where she studied interdisciplinary studies with a focus on techpolicy. She plans to become a tenure track professor at an R-1 Institution. Her hobbies include baking, reading, and listening to new music.

Project Description:

Throughout the duration of the fellowship, I aim to research the intersections between data autonomy and intellectual property and discuss critical analysis of law, policy, and court decisions. I intend to use critical content analysis as my methodology. This research will result in a whitepaper that will make recommendations to researchers and policymakers surrounding ways in which to respect data autonomy in accordance with what has and hasn’t worked for intellectual property rights in regards to marginalized communities.



Akshat Agrawal is a litigator working in the courts of Delhi. He has finished his Masters in Law and Technology from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, with pro bono honors. His LLM Thesis- “Resolving Copyright’s Distortionary Effects” pursued under the supervision of Prof. Talha Syed, will be upcoming in the Annual Review of the Berkeley Technology Law Journal, and was awarded Google’s Inclusive Copyright Thesis Award for the year 2023. Akshat is deeply interested in Copyright reform from the lens of law and political economy to ensure an inclusive cultural and knowledge policy.

Project Description:

The point of Copyright law, often misunderstood, was, is, and has always been to protect people who want to express in their lives from involuntary subjection to a market society, where their agency to express and participate in meaning-making is stomped by the requirement to meet basic needs which are only realized by thriving in a constant race for sustenance­– the race of market competition. The only point of this legal tool is to enable self-preservation for all to the extent necessary to realize basic needs so that one continues to have agency and is enabled to produce expression. It is not to form a market. It is to enable, that is to protect from the inherent market logic- the logic of competing for your basic needs, irrespective of your social structural position (defined by involuntary social relations- that precede and our constitutive of our roles), with people in differential positions. Enablement in its legal scope however has a limit, especially when the enablement of one conflicts with the enablement of another- given the resource involved – speech- inherently constitutes and is constitutive of self-determination. Thus, the tool and its subsidiaries ought to be rethought- re-conceptualized in terms of scope, in terms of a continuum, or in terms of whether this tool of the right to exclude is even the best tool to achieve this goal of enablement or protection from involuntary subjection to a market society for basic needs of human flourishing. My focus, here at IIPSJ, is on proportionate enablement an idea fundamental to devising a method of fairly enabling, as well as, allowing partial amelioration of the structural losses suffered by those who have been invisible for long. The project will specifically focus on inducing this idea of proportionate enablement in knowledge distribution and shall identify modes of remedying publisher-researcher relations through better contractual clauses that are more accessible for researchers, fulfill the need for enablement for authors as well as ensure reasonable and not windfall recompense for publishers.



Kainen Bell is a Ph.D. student in Information Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research uncovers algorithmic biases and follows the work of digital rights activists and organizers of anti-surveillance campaigns in Brazil who protest facial recognition camera initiatives. Kainen’s goal is to learn how Afro-Brazilian communities collaborate to resist and prevent the abuse of surveillance technologies. He holds bachelor’s degrees in social work and business administration from the University of Washington in Seattle, and a master’s degree in social work from Columbia University in New York. Prior to his Ph.D., Kainen completed a Fulbright Research Fellowship in Brazil.

Project Description:

Through the support of the Wikimedia Race and Knowledge Equity (WRKE) Fellowship Program I will dedicate my time into creating resources, documents, and publications to support the efforts of the national anti-surveillance campaign in Brazil (#TireMeuRostoDaSuaMira). Over the past year I have been in conversation with Brazilian digital privacy rights activists and human rights organizations, and they have requested information about organizing efforts in the U.S. such as privacy protection laws created to ban or restrict the uses of facial recognition Technologies and collection of biometric data. They hope to use this information as a reference point for their own local organizing efforts. Through this project I strive to create a bi-directional exchange of knowledge and resources between these global communities.



Albert Fox Cahn is the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project’s ( S.T.O.P.’s) founder and executive director. He is also a Practitioner-in-Residence at N.Y.U Law School’s Information Law Institute and a fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Carr Center For Human Rights PolicyYale Law School’s Information Society ProjectAshoka, and TED. Albert received his J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School (where he was an editor of the Harvard Law & Policy Review), and his B.A. in Politics and Philosophy from Brandeis University.

Project Description:

I will use the fellowship as an opportunity to research the impact of library content filtering in blocking access to knowledge, particularly emerging threats to open inquiry in K-12 school libraries. Content filtering debates have existed for many years, but they take on new urgency in the post-Dobbs era. Working with librarians in states that seek to radically criminalize abortion care, I can identify how growing political and legal pressure is restricting library-based internet access to medically accurate information about abortion and other controversial topics. I would also examine the discriminatory impact of such restrictions, highlighting how restrictions in library-based internet compound the digital divide. For deliverables, the project would provide (at a minimum) a whitepaper geared towards lay readers and the press, using S.T.O.P.’s proven capacity to garner significant media attention. Additionally, I could create public explainer materials for the web and social media, distilling the key themes into infographics and other easily shared materials. Time permitting, I would also create additional materials targeted at supporting impacted librarians.



Shubha Ghosh is Crandall Melvin Professor of Law at Syracuse University College of Law where he teaches and researches in the fields on intellectual property commercialization and technology law. His scholarship focuses on exhaustion of intellectual property rights,  biotech and biomedical patenting, and issues of distributive justice. He earned a BA from Amherst College, a PhD from Michigan, and a JD from Stanford.

Project Description:

My starting point for my work as a Fellow is to develop an overlooked criticism of the Bayh-Dole Act: its overemphasis on universities and its exclusion of other institutions that can serve to channel creative energies to the public. Elementary schools, secondary schools, magnet schools, young entrepreneurs’ clubs, art schools—each engage students in developing their creativity and inventiveness. Yet, there is little engagement with the debates over intellectual property, crowd sourcing, and follow-on innovation that pervade many universities. Often lessons about intellectual property are reduced to warnings against downloading or arousing fear of Internet piracy. Less attention is paid to harnessing creativity and invention to the values of exchange and transferring knowledge. Several initiatives from the Wikimedia Race and Knowledge Equity project could remedy these gaps. First, a comprehensive state by state study of programs at the elementary and secondary school levels that target creativity and inventiveness among students. Identified programs could be studied to see how they engage with science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. (STEAM) curricula. Having identified the programs, my fellowship work would develop a survey to identify the needs of several of these programs with particular attention to open questions of intellectual property, knowledge sharing, and distribution of resources for teaching and encouraging innovation. These questions will serve as the basis for identifying policy reforms at the state and federal levels, building in part on the promise of the Bayh-Dole Act while reforming its vision and policy reach beyond the universities. White papers would be the work product of this extensive research with the Wikimedia imprimatur and my scholarly skills targeting key policy figures at the federal and state levels to alert them about the overlooked potential for students to learn about the links among creativity, commercialization, and public dissemination. Wikimedia White Papers on this topic will educate policymakers about programs to promote innovation outside the university ecosystem and their needs as we create new knowledge ecosystems.



R. Oroma Womeodu earned a J.D. from Tulane University Law School and a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Wingate University. During her time at Tulane she acted as Managing Editor of Tulane’s Journal of Technology and Intellectual Property where she fostered an interest in and focus on intellectual property protection for Black fashion designers and similarly marginalized creator groups. She is committed to ensuring all creators are afforded adequate access to IP protection and hopes to one day assist in policymaking that contributes to this goal in America as well as her home nation of Nigeria. She spends her free time on the tennis court coaching players ranging from beginner to advanced.

Project Description:

I will be working with Dr. John R. Whitman as a research assistant on his book Making the Most of Prison. In this role, my deliverables will include creating a white paper on current impediments for the copyright registration process for people in prison, researching and proposing an adjusted copyright registration process for imprisoned people, as well as creating a directory of attorneys and firms that do work in furtherance of protecting incarcerated people’s intellectual property and potentially organizing a panel discussion including these practitioners.

Wikimedia Highlights WRKE Fellow Contributions in Inaugural Year Review

Interested in learning about the “Why?” behind the Race and Knowledge Equity Fellowship program? Our partners at Wikimedia published a great piece on the Equity Fund where current IIPSJ fellow, Shreyanka Mirchandani Changaroth also received a special mention and quote:


IIPSJ’s inaugural Wikimedia Race and Knowledge Equity Fellow is Shreyanka Mirchandani Changaroth, a legal expert who has lived and worked in Singapore, Canada, and the United Kingdom, and is called to the Singapore bar. Shreyanka will lead work with IIPSJ to explore ways to impact IP policy in the US through community engagement. “We can now focus our efforts on tackling grassroots community education around intellectual property, something that goes to the very core of racial equity in the technological society,” said Shreyanka, when describing the new Fellowship.

Read their full article below.

[CLOSED 8/11/23] Applications Now Open: 2023-24 Wikimedia Race and Knowledge Equity Fellow

The inaugural year for the Wikimedia Race and Knowledge Equity (WRKE) Fellowship has been in a success. Now, thanks to continued generous support from our partners at the Wikimedia Foundation Knowledge Equity Fund, IIPSJ is pleased to announce that we are currently accepting applications to hire a new WRKE Fellow for the 2023-2024 year. You can view and download the full position announcement here.

Also in the coming weeks, be on the look out for resulting fellowship research and scholarship materials from our current fellow, Shreyanka Mirchandani Changaroth.

Questions and concerns may be directed to Tashia Bunch at