Announcing the Library Company\’s Innovation Fellowship Program

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    Will Fenton
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    @willfenton

    The Library Company of Philadelphia\’s newly-launched Innovation Fellowship Program will pair two short-term research fellows-one humanities scholar and one creative practitioner-to critically and creatively engage a collection integral to the Library Company\’s mission, values, or institutional history.

    The Innovation Fellowship Program is an extension of our more than 30-year-old fellowship program. Fellows will be encouraged to deepen research questions using the Library Company\’s historical collections, to work closely with curatorial staff, and to leverage Philadelphia\’s extensive network of arts and cultural heritage institutions.

    Complementing the Library Company\’s short-term research fellowships, the Innovation Fellowship Program will use our existing infrastructure as a residency program to accommodate artists and scholars who can contribute to our learning community and bring new tools, methods, and questions to our collections; providing academic humanists with new models of publicly-engaged scholarship; and enabling the Library Company to excavate core collection areas that illuminate the library\’s institutional history in advance of its tercentennial in 2031.

    The Innovation Fellowship Program is made possible by the generosity of our Founding Sponsor Dr. Randall M. Miller and Sustaining Sponsors Louise M. and Peter J. Kelly and Dr. John C. and Christine K. Van Horne. To make a contribution to support future Innovation Fellowships, please contact Raechel Hammer, Chief Development Officer, at rhammer@librarycompany.org

    For more information, visit: https://librarycompany.org/innovation-fellowship-program/

    The Inaugural Year: The Francis Johnson Fellowships

    The Innovation Fellowship Program will unfold over multiple years. This year, the Library Company invites submissions for our inaugural Innovation Fellowships, the Francis Johnson Fellowships. The Johnson Fellowships will support two fellows-a humanities scholar and a creative practitioner-as they delve into the compositions of one of the most popular black composers prior to the American Civil War. These paired fellows will be encouraged to explore a manuscript book of 80 compositions (some unpublished) in conjunction with printed materials held at both the Library Company and at the Kislak Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

    Each Francis Johnson Fellow will receive a stipend of $5000, a $2500 research fund to be defined by the fellow and program director, and lodging at the Library Company\’s Cassatt House residence for four to eight weeks. The Library Company will also cover each fellow\’s travel expenses (up to $500). Both fellows will be featured at the Library Company\’s 290th Annual Dinner (attendance encouraged) and interviewed for the library\’s podcast, Talking in the Library.

    We welcome proposals from creative practitioners and scholars in all fields and at all career stages, including graduate students; contingent, junior, and senior faculty; as well as independent scholars and freelance artists. The Library Company anticipates individual applications; however, if an applicant has already identified their prospective collaborator, they may submit a team application.

    To apply for a Francis Johnson Fellowship, please send a proposal (no more than 1000 words) plus a preliminary budget and timeline, resume or c.v., and one letter of reference to wfenton@librarycompany.org by March 1, 2021. Your proposal should include some discussion of your background, experience, and expertise with special attention to service and collaborative projects; interest in Francis Johnson or the Library Company\’s holdings; and project plan with timeline, budget, and deliverables.

    For more information, visit: https://librarycompany.org/francis-johnson-fellowships/

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