THE OPPORTUNITY

The Amherst Folger Humanities Fellowship provides one Amherst College graduate with nine months of professional development at two world-class institutions—the Folger Shakespeare Library and the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection. Designed to support career exploration in the humanities, the opportunity offers project-based work that will be responsive to both the skills and potential of the selected candidate, and the work of their mentors at the Folger and Dumbarton Oaks. All fellows will have the opportunity to work closely with staff in the Folger’s collections, research, or exhibitions teams, and departmental assignments at Dumbarton Oaks may include hands-on work in curation and exhibit preparation, research and publication, collection development or conservation, marketing and communication, or education and public outreach initiatives. The fellowship term runs from September 2022 through May 2023 and includes a $23,000 stipend, housing in Washington, D.C. at Dumbarton Oaks for the term of the fellowship, and optional health insurance. Only current Amherst College seniors or alumni graduating between December 2020 and May 2022 will be eligible to apply.

The Folger Shakespeare Library is the world’s premier research library for the study of Shakespeare and the English Renaissance. It also holds major collections for research in European arts, culture and history from the early fifteenth century to the end of the eighteenth century, including New World materials. Its founder, Henry Clay Folger, graduated from Amherst in 1879 and bequeathed the Library to Amherst upon his death in 1930. 

Dumbarton Oaks is a Harvard research institute, museum, and historic garden in Washington, D.C. The institute supports research and learning internationally in Byzantine, Garden and Landscape, and Pre-Columbian studies. Dumbarton Oaks welcomes researchers at all career stages who come to study its books, objects, images, and documents related to its historic gardens and world-class collections of art. The garden and museum are open to the public and Dumbarton Oaks hosts an array of public and educational programs in addition to its scholarly events. The institution is the legacy of Robert and Mildred Bliss, collectors of art and patrons of learning in the humanities, who gifted the estate and collections to Harvard University in 1940.

 

APPLICATION

To be considered for the fellowship, applicants will be required to submit the following via Handshake by December 6, 2021 at 11:55pm:

  • Résumé
  • Transcript (an unofficial transcript from Registrar’s Office is acceptable)
  • An example of the applicant’s work (a written paper, article, portfolio, or project)
  • A statement of purpose that describes the applicant’s background and interests and explains how a fellowship in the humanities will further their intellectual and professional goals. The applicant should outline what skills they hope to acquire over the course of the fellowship.
  • Two letters of recommendation to be sent by recommenders to Carla Costa, program director for careers in arts and communication at ccosta@amherst.edu.

Only current Amherst College seniors or alumni graduating between December 2020 and May 2022 will be eligible to apply. 

QUESTIONS

All interested applicants can reach out to Carla Costa, program director for careers in arts and communication at the Loeb Center for Career Exploration & Planning (ccosta@amherst.edu). Carla can answer questions about the fellowship experience and provide support in developing application materials.

You can also review this list of Frequently Asked Questions.

PROGRAM DETAILS

The Fellowship term runs from September 2022 through May 2023. The Amherst Folger Fellow will split their 9-month assignment equally between both institutions, spending a majority of the week at the Folger in the fall, and the majority of their time at Dumbarton Oaks in the spring. Following an orientation week at Dumbarton Oaks, the fellow will work on a collection, research, or exhibitions project, determined by the Folger, that will be responsive to the skills and potential of the selected candidate. During the second part of the fellowship, the fellow will return to Dumbarton Oaks to share and apply their knowledge by proposing and implementing a new idea and contributing to an institutional project. Projects might focus on curation and exhibit preparation, research and publication, collection development or conservation, marketing and communication, and education and public outreach initiatives. This overview of previous fellow projects will offer helpful context.

The Amherst fellow will be part of a cohort that includes post-baccalaureate fellows from Harvard University. Professional development opportunities will be offered to the fellow throughout their stay, connecting them with a wide range of humanities scholars, administrators, and practitioners in Washington, D.C.

SELECTION PROCESS

Interviews of short-listed candidates will be held in Amherst in February/March 2022. The fellow will be chosen for their outstanding scholarly achievements, broad cultural engagement, desire to gain and use new skills, and potential to contribute to dynamic humanities communities. The fellowship will benefit an individual who may not be intent on pursuing another degree immediately after graduating, would like to learn while contributing to the advancement of group projects, and would gain from spending an academic year in Washington, D.C. The selected fellow need not have been a concentrator in the humanities, but should have demonstrated a strong and sustained commitment to the humanities through coursework or extracurricular activities. Their ability to communicate their vision of what the humanities mean to their own peers will be given weight in making the award.