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New feel-good app helps charities one click at a time

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A mobile phone with the Supernova app displaying on its screen
Social for good: Supernova app pledges to give 60% of its advertising revenue to global charities

It looks like a streamlined version of Instagram, the Meta-owned app with over a billion monthly active users. But with a very different business model and far fewer people aware of its existence, Supernova is a feel-good app slowly picking up steam.

Launched in 2021, the startup was founded by Dominic O’Meara, a former account supervisor at British advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi who went on to start his own agencies, first in Amsterdam and later, in 2004, in London.

These days, O’Meara’s focus is on a new challenge: his ambitious, purpose-led social network.

“Our aim is to ascend to a 5% share of the global market and give £2B a year to charities, and we are raising the investment now to scale the fantastic results delivered so far,” says O’Meara. The app, available on Google Play and via the Apple Store, pledges to give direct from its advertising revenue to global charities, with the money distributed according to members’ preferences across a pool of subjects.”

So far, human rights causes have received the largest amount of donations (22%), split between three NGOs: Oxfam, UNICEF and Save the Children, a British NGO founded in 1919. Areas such as climate change, animal welfare, mental health and emergency causes have also received part of the total raised to date, with the app users determining which causes get the most money.

“The reaction of the public has been overwhelmingly positive, and increasingly so among younger people, who are starting to embrace it too. We have started to bring Supernova to them through student events like one we held in Edinburgh recently,” O’Meara says. According to the entrepreneur, Supernova’s usage has more than trebled in the last 12 months, and the growth has been entirely organic. “We haven’t paid for this adoption level and we are very proud of that. What you see is real enthusiasm and user support for what we are doing.” Currently, the UK and USA are the key markets for the platform.

To get that 5% share of the global social media market, Supernova is banking on kindness to fill a void left by major social media platforms, which have historically thrived on conflict and clickbait.

“Folks don’t join Supernova to create a toxic environment. They leave other networks to escape a toxic environment. By virtue of our core proposition, we avoid on entry many of the key problems other networks have created for themselves. They simply have not asked, motivated, encouraged or rewarded their communities to be – above all else – positive, kind, and respectful to one another. They haven’t led by clear example and so their communities have been left to figure out behavioural codes for themselves and to some extent have been taken over by a toxic, ‘noisy’ minority,” says O’Meara, who believes Supernova “represents the silent majority that wants social media to be a positive force in the world.”

That positive outcome is the result of a high amount of moderation involving AI, users and computer science grads and undergrads hired to keep political comments or side-taking of any kind off the site – Twitter users certainly would feel out of place with the overload of content featuring flowers, sunsets and cute animals on Supernova.

“We involve our community, who are moderators in our Groups feature, too. One in every 100 group of members must be a moderator, and although we also moderate Groups this helps share the task.”

The herculean work seems to be paying off, though.

“With tens of millions of content impressions so far served, the number of infringements of our Charter, Community Standards or Terms and Conditions are effectively 0%. Any and all are removed instantly. That’s a high bar but it’s one we are determined to maintain as we believe it’s essential for the wellbeing of the world’s 5 billion social media users,” says O’Meara.

I tested the Supernova app, on and off, for five weeks.

At first, the app is very similar to other image-led social media platforms such as Vero and Instagram where users can share photographs and videos along with comments and messaging.

Just like the other platforms, users can also follow or be followed, set an account to private, explore topics and block unwanted users. 

And because the app is relatively new, the number of ads appearing in between content is still very low when compared to major players. But Supernova has already partnered with Dutch multinational Philips and Japanese sportswear brand ASICS.

However, the lingering question, while scrolling through posts featuring positive quotes and photos of vintage music bands, paradisiac landscapes and baby hippos happily munching snacks in a swimming pool, is: can a place based on good deeds and modelled as an echo-chamber, where current affairs are sifted out via heavy moderation, get enough traction to lure big brands to join the feel-good movement?

With people stepping away from major social media platforms, in part due to a decline in organic reach and reduced engagement, and partly because after months of seeing the world through the lenses of social media between 2020 and 2021, many of us now want a grasp of unfiltered, hashtag-free reality, it is hard to predict Supernova’s future. But if its success rests on its founder’s optimism alone, the social media platform will get there.

“From where we are today, making Supernova happen is actually pretty straightforward. I knew it was the right time to launch Supernova the moment I thought of it,” says O’Meara, who came up with the app while running cross country around Surrey Hills, England. “I know it has a huge future ahead.”

Marcio Delgado is a Journalist, Producer and Influencer Marketing Manager working with brands and publications in Europe, America and Asia.

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£125,000 in grants awarded to UK creatives to support careers in screen arts

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Emerging creative from low socio-economic backgrounds are amongst the talent receiving bursaries.

BAFTA announced over £125,000 in grants have been awarded to 69 talented creatives to support their career development in the screen arts.  

This year, grants of up to £2,000 each have been made available to 58 emerging creatives including production assistants, costumer designers, writers, game designers, and camera and sound trainees to help them progress in their respective crafts. The grants will go towards essential costs such as driving lessons, specialist equipment, training and relocation costs that might otherwise lock talented people out of a screen arts career.  

The Prince William BAFTA Bursary scheme is named in honour of BAFTA’s President. Kickstarted with the support of film director Paul Greengrass, it is now in its fourth year.

For the first time, BAFTA is also awarding grants to individuals who have been forcibly displaced in collaboration with the Refugee Journalism Project. £30,000 in funding has been awarded to 11 recipients including journalists, editors, directors and videographers.  

The Refugee Journalism Project builds on BAFTA’s recent work with Counterpoint Arts – highlighting the importance of authentic portrayals of refugees on-screen, including recent events with BAFTA award-winning filmmaker and activist Hassan Akkad, a masterclass with BAFTA award-winning director Waad al-Kateab, and ‘Introduction to Filmmaking’ workshops with Deadbeat Films. 

Supporting the next generation of talent is an essential part of our mission. The Prince William BAFTA Bursary Fund is a fantastically effective way to kick-start careers, particularly for those who face socio and economic inequality. The bursaries are transformative for career starters, enabling them to buy an essential piece of kit, secure training, or in some cases it’s as simple as getting driving lessons so they can get to set! There is no shortage of potential in our workforce. Unfortunately, the opportunity to act on that potential is all too often limited by financial barriers. So, I’m delighted to continue The Prince William BAFTA Bursary Fund, thanks to our incredibly generous network of donors and supporters,” says Jane Millichip, CEO of BAFTA.

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Qatar museum opens exhibition revealing new voices from the Arab world

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Qatar museums opens exhibition revealing new voices from the Arab world
"Take Shelter" is one of the films showing during "Your Ghosts Are Mine, Expanded Cinemas, Amplified Voices" | Photo: still courtesy © LA CHAUVE-SOURIS

Qatar Museum has opened Your Ghosts Are Mine, Expanded Cinemas, Amplified Voices, a major exhibition coinciding with the 60th International Art Exhibition at the Venice Biennale, bringing together works by filmmakers and video artists from the Middle East, Africa and Asia. On view at ACP Palazzo Franchetti (through 24 November), the exhibition presents a journey in moving images through contemporary experiences of community life and memory, transnational crossings and exile.

Your Ghosts Are Mine is produced by Qatar Museums and co-organised by Doha Film Institute, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art and the future Art Mill Museum in collaboration with ACP Art Capital Partners and with support from Media City Qatar. It is curated by Matthieu Orléan with Majid Al-Remaihi and Virgile Alexandre, with exhibition design by Federico Martelli and Clément Périssé. The advisory committee includes Fatma Hassan Alremaihi, Zeina Arida and Catherine Grenier.

The exhibition explores themes such as deserts, ruins, borders, exile and women’s voices through films supported by Doha Film Institute and video works from Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art and the future Art Mill Museum.

The works span fiction, documentary, animation and memoir. Included are excerpts from works by over 40 artists including Faouzi Bensaidi (Morocco), Jessica Beshir (Ethiopia), Ali Cherri (Lebanon), Tala Hadid (Morroco), Joana Hadjithomas (Lebanon), Khalil Joreige (Lebanon), Soudade Kaadan (Syria), Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese (Lesotho), Asmae El Moudir (Morocco), Amal Al-Muftah (Qatar), Shirin Neshat (Iran), Larissa Sansour (Palestine), Abderrhamane Sissako (Mauritania), Elia Suleiman (Palestine), Ramata-Toulaye Sy (Senegal), Tariq Teguia (Algeria), Shaima Al Tamini (Yemen), plus works by Wael Shawky, Lida Abdul, Hassan Khan and Sophia Al Maria.

Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Chairperson of Qatar Museums and Doha Film Institute, said, “Your Ghosts Are Mine will open the eyes of international viewers to the ideas, feelings, and artistic visions of today’s filmmakers from the Arab world and neighbouring regions. With this exhibition, Qatar Museums advances its mission of encouraging understanding across borders, while Doha Film Institute continues to nurture rising talents of our region.”  

A schedule of film screenings accompanying the exhibition is available here.    

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Thousands of free travel passes available to travel around Europe

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A solo traveler in Europe
Successful applicants will get a free rail pass to travel in Europe for up to 30 days

Starting this summer, thousands of young people will once again travel around Europe by train for free thanks to the latest call of the DiscoverEU programme. Today at 12:00 CET during the European Youth Week buzzing with activities, the Commission launched the latest DiscoverEU application round. It will end on Tuesday 30 April at 12:00 CET.

In total, 35,500 travel passes are available. To get one, young people born between 1 July 2005 and 30 June 2006 can do a quiz with five questions about the EU and one additional question on the European Youth Portal. Successful applicants will get a free rail pass to travel in Europe for up to 30 days between 1 July 2024 and 30 September 2025.

The call is open to applicants from the European Union and countries associated to the Erasmus+ programme including Iceland, Liechtenstein, North Macedonia, Norway, Serbia and Türkiye. Ticket holders can plan their own routes or be inspired by existing ones. For example, they can discover a route launched last year, which focuses on cities and places making the European Union ‘beautiful, sustainable and inclusive’ in line with the principles of the New European Bauhaus.

Participants can also benefit from the DiscoverEU Culture Route an initiative of the 2022 European Year of Youth that combines various cultural destinations including architecture, music, fine art, theatre, fashion and design. Participants can visit the European Capitals of Culture which are on the UNESCO World Heritage List,  European Heritage Label sites, or Access City Award label locations, which are cities that have gone above and beyond to become more accessible to everyone.

Participants will also receive a discount card with over 40,000 discount possibilities on public transport, culture, accommodation, food, sports and other services in eligible countries. Additionally, Erasmus+ National Agencies organise pre-departure information meetings, and national agencies across all Erasmus+ countries prepare DiscoverEU Meet-ups, learning programmes lasting from one to three days.

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