Julia Janssen (’94) makes the challenges of our digitalising society tangible in art. Through performative and interactive installations she makes her audience aware of the underlying infrastructures of data-driven technologies, such as informed consent, bias in AI, the right to be forgotten and so on. Her work takes you on a visual journey and explores how to deal with fairness, autonomy, freedom and democracy in a data-driven society. Janssen is an artist and ambassador of the Dutch Data Protection Foundation in lawsuits against Twitter and Amazon. In her practice she develops a visual language to create consciousness and movement to make the Internet a better place.

Rise25 Award Winner
In September 2023, Janssen won the title of one of the world’s 25 visionaries who are making the Internet and the world a better place. This price was awarded by Mozilla, in honour of their 25th anniversary. Red carpet and award ceremony on October 13 2023, In Berlin.


Janssen studied Graphic Design at the ArtEZ Institute of the Arts in Arnhem (’12-’16). Her projects were mainly socially and politically engaged and she created her designs based on research and mathematics. Her interest in our relationship with technology grew and resulted in several projects researching digital identity, terms and conditions and Internet standards. For her graduation project, Janssen took a deep dive into Big Tech business models and stated, “The data business has enslaved us.” With the project Bank of Online Humanity (2016), she showed people the value of their personal data. From that moment, she envisioned dedicating her practice as an artist to fight these (power) inequalities and to make the internet a better place.

It was a time before all big scandals, whistleblowers and law enforcement. Nobody really cared about data and how big tech was making tons of money by monetising attention and exploiting people’s behaviour. It was not given to take a stand for digital civic rights and criticise our beloved technologies – especially as a young, female artist. This and the zeitgeist at that moment felt like a pushback but became a strength. Her motivation and mission gained ground when winning the Crypto Design Award with Bank of Online Humanity in November 2016. Followed by receiving the prestigious Grant for Talent Development from Creative Fund NL and a Pioneer Grant from the SIDN Fund for Innovation and Internet. She found courage and support to create her own path and artistic practice.

From there, she started building the foundations for her knowledge and network. She read books, academic papers, regulations and policies and contacted many highly renowned experts in the field to pick their brains and dig deeper. Janssen developed her own research method to structure her observations. She naturally connects and dissects different theories, directing her to the core of what challenges we are facing in the digitalisation of our world.

Over the years, she developed many self-initiated research and art projects and travelled all around the country and abroad to exhibit her work at a variety of events and places, such as Architecture Biennial Venice, Lowlands Festival, Masterly Milan, Dutch Design Week, the Social Economic Council and the Dutch Data Protection Authority. Occasionally, she works on commission or in collaboration with parties in line with her mission and ideologies.

Her practice grew beyond being an artist and data nerd. Janssen developed herself into a spokesperson for a better Internet. Creating art installations, giving lectures, participating in panels, hosting podcasts, telling her story on television, radio and podcast shows, in magazines and making it to the cover of The Netherlands’ premier intellectual magazine Vrij Nederland. Her art is the cornerstone and from there, she builds conversations and advocates for digital civic rights and data sovereignty. Pushing the boundaries of art and design, debating with lawyers, challenging data professionals, confronting authorities, and encouraging politicians.

Public Speaking

Next to her artistic practice, she also developed a career in public speaking. Janssen did her first presentation and panel (with nobody less than Cathy O’Neil, writer of Weapons of Math Destruction) in 2017. From there, she developed her way of presenting herself and her work and practised this at many different places and in front of many different types of audiences. In her field, she became a well-known figure and shares her research, vision and projects at e.g. tech conferences, governmental events and art festivals. She takes her audience on a visual journey behind the surface of the Internet and makes people think about their relationship with data and AI. Janssen is a common guest in podcasts, television and radio interviews.

During the pandemic, she started her own podcast series. First in Dutch (Achter de klik) and continued with an English show to invite internationally renowned experts.

Stichting Data Bescherming Nederland

Janssen is the ambassador of the Stichting Data Bescherming Nederland (Dutch Data Protection Authority). In February 2022, a representative from SDBN invited her to meet. Not knowing exactly what they were working on yet, she was intrigued. When they talked, first vaguely about SDBN’s ambition, she knew this was big and something she would love to join. She signed the NDA and got started. We are suing Twitter.

Up till the campaign launch in November 2022, they worked completely in secret on a lawsuit and campaign against Twitter. Together with a small team, she created Je staat te koop. An awareness campaign and platform to inform people about Twitter’s illegal data trading practices. During this process, SDBN appointed Janssen to be the ambassador of the foundation, to represent them in media and talk to the press. In June 2023, they launched a second case against Amazon.


In 2022 Janssen started as a first and third years tutor at Design Art Technology, ArtEZ Institute of the Arts in Arnhem. But decided not to continue with this because of a demanding schedule. She is a guest teacher at various academies and organisations in the Netherlands and abroad. For example at the IED (Istituto Europeo di Design) in Rome.