The winners of the Prix Ars Electronica 2005 awards have just been announced. I was on the Digital Communities jury this year. We gave the highest prize, the Golden Nica to Akshaya, an Indian ICT development project.
The two awards of distinction went to the alternative media movements NewGlobalVision/Telestreet in Italy and the Free Software Foundation. We also gave a special prize to BitTorrent as an enabling technology.
The honorary mentions were: Upmystreet (UK), E-Democracy.Org (US), Wikimedia Commons (US), The Sout-East Asian Earthquake and Tsunami Blog (IN), Kubatana (ZW), Sistema de Información Agraria vía Internet para Agricultores del Valle de Huaral, Perú (PE), Borneo Project: Mapping Their Future: Digital Communities, Indigenous Lands (US / MY), Catalytic Communities (CatComm) (BR), microRevolt (US), TXTmob (US) and CouchSurfing Project (US)
There will be a proper jury statement coming out soon, but it was a very difficult task. We had to compare the value of telecenters in developing nations with things like BitTorrent. The definition of "digital community" was very broad. I would suggest that next year, we might want to split the category into access/digital divide oriented projects and project focused on new technologies and styles of communities.
Anyway, congratulations to all of the winners. We went through hundreds of projects and these projects are the cream of the crop.