Prototyping the Augmented Island: Historical Storytelling for Visitors

Call for Applications for the Havas Fellowship

A landmark in the harbor, Governors Island is a beloved destination for art, culture and recreation, with historic buildings and an extraordinary park. It’s just 800 yards from lower Manhattan and even closer to Brooklyn. For almost two centuries, the Island was closed to the public, operating as a military base for the U.S. Army, and later, the Coast Guard.

In partnership with NYC Media Lab and Havas, the global media and communications agency, Governors Island will offer its public space for a prototyping project for NYC graduate students. The project will support a fellowship cohort to produce creative and experimental prototypes for storytelling about the history, landmarks and landscapes on Governors Island.

NYC graduate students are encouraged to submit their ideas for producing prototypes that will enable immersive and story-driven experiences for Governors Island visitors. Applicants should consider machine learning and artificial intelligence-powered chatbots, wearable technologies, virtual and augmented reality experiences, and more. Applicants should also consider making use of NYC open data for these prototypes.

The cohort of selected graduate students will be named Havas Fellows and will be awarded $5,000 each.

Please find the application at the bottom of this page.

The deadline to apply is Friday, December 1st at 12:00pm NOON. 

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Eligibility: Individuals must be currently affiliated with a New York City-based university as a student at the time of application.

Program dates in 2018: Exact dates TBD. The program will begin during the week of January 19th, 2018 and end during the week of March 26th, 2018.

Stipend award per project: $5,000 from NYC Media Lab will be awarded to the Havas Fellows who are selected to participate in the fellowship. The fellowship prefers individual contributors who can execute on individual ideas. The fellowship aims to fund 5 projects. We will accept a team of two if the project idea is strong. If there are two people working as a team, we ask that you are both prepared to bring both skill sets in full each week.

Program location: New York City

Program structure: This is a fellowship for rapid prototyping around three areas: data, storytelling, and augmented reality. The fellowship seeks self-directed individuals who are not afraid to iterate and try new things as they advance their ideas for prototype demonstration. Throughout the fellowship, students will receive feedback from Havas Mentors who will share their insights around digital media, editorial narratives, technology production and product management. When applying to the fellowship, students will propose what they would like to prototype for the Fellowship, specifically with which technologies and data sources. Fellows will be expected to work on their own and report progress weekly, in person at co-working and critique meetings, with their Havas Mentors. These weekly co-working and critique meetings will take place at Havas. There will be a midpoint works-in-progress demo session of each Fellow’s prototype as well a final demonstration day at the end of the program.

Demonstrations or prototypes displayed on Governors Island at the culmination of the challenge will be subject to approval and permitting by the Trust for Governors Island.

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  • The happy hour and information session for this fellowship is on Tuesday November 7 from 5:00-7:00pm. Sign up here!
  • The application deadline will be December 1 at 12:00pm NOON. 
  • Interview Day: December 11. Selected finalists will be invited to interview with Havas executives.
  • Finalists will learn if they are accepted into the Havas Fellowship by Monday December 18. 
  • Fellowship schedule in 2018 with weekly meetings in addition to these milestones meetings: 

    • Kickoff Meeting: Week of January 19

    • Midpoint Meeting: Week of February 12

    • Final Demo Day: Week of March 26
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  • SCAVENGER HUNT: Saturday, October 21st at 12:00 NOON

Open to the public!

Whether you’ve never been to Governors Island or you’ve been many times, you are invited to attend the scavenger hunt that Havas is organizing in October. In partnership with Urban Archive, this scavenger hunt, open to the public, will introduce you to various historical gems and stories on the island that will help spark your curiosity and creativity about developing new, interactive experiences that highlight the remarkable history of the island.

Sign up with your team (2-4 people) here:


Tuesday November 7 from 5:00-7:00pm. Sign up here!

A few weeks ahead from the application deadline, NYC Media Lab and Havas will host a happy hour and information session geared towards any students who have any questions about the application process for the project. NYC Media Lab will outline the project goals and expected outcomes. This will be open to NYC graduate students from engineering, data science and design backgrounds. Come meet executives at Havas at their downtown Manhattan office and learn about their vision for supporting this project with NYC Media Lab and Governors Island. 


Questions about this fellowship?

Contact: Amy Chen, Manager of Partnerships at NYC Media Lab amy.chen[at]