Research Fellowships for Creative Artists

2016-17 guidelines
Amherst College students are invited to apply for a research fellowship for creative artists at the Amherst College Archives and Special Collections. The Frederick S. Lane '36 Fellowship for Creative Artists program provides financial and research support for students interested in using historical and rare source materials towards projects in the arts. Students are encouraged to follow their curiosity, and identify manuscript material or items of interest in our collections to use as inspiration or to draw directly from in produced works. Up to five chosen fellows will receive a small stipend, instruction in archival research practices, and support from Archives and Special Collections staff as they conduct their artistic research. Projects do not need to rely exclusively on materials in our collections.

Projects may include (but are not limited to):

  • Artists’ books
  • Costume or set designs
  • Creative fiction, non-fiction or poetry
  • Dances
  • Documentary film or videos
  • Drawings, paintings, installations, sculptures, or videos
  • Performance of historical music or drama
  • Plays or screenplays

Hypothetical examples of projects:

    • Fellow A will be writing a play set during the civil war, focused on a young enlisted man in the Union army. She will enhance the historical accuracy and language of her play by reading correspondence and diaries from civil war soldiers, articles from historical newspapers from the period, and memoirs.
    • Fellow B will be choreographing a dance, using illustrations from 19th century physical education manuals to create movement material.
    • Fellow C will be creating a series of stories based on civil rights activism at Amherst College. He will draw inspiration from articles and stories found in 1950s-19702 issues of The Amherst Students, Black Panther Magazine, and other publications in the Bloom Alternative Press Collection.
    • Fellow D will be composing and performing mash-ups of early-twentieth-century musicals, drawing on the orchestrations found in the Van Nostrand Theatre Collection Music Holdings.
    • Fellow E will be painting a triptych based on 17th century world maps.

Proposals must include:

      • Short summary of a clearly defined project
      • Name of faculty reference
      • Optional: drawings or other non-textual elements in addition to the written summary

Priority will go to proposals leading to thesis work or other projects developed with faculty or departmental support. Awards will be made based on the feasibility and strength of the proposed projects. 

Deadline for application: Thursday October 20 at 11:59PM
Send proposals to Mike Kelly, Head of Archives and Special Collections, Amherst College Library, PO Box 5000, Amherst College, Amherst, MA 01002-5000;; 413-542-2299.

Questions about the program, or about how special collections and archival research might be part of your project, may be addressed to Mike Kelly or to Sara Smith, Arts & Humanities Librarian, at

For more information about the holdings of Archives and Special Collections, visit our web site: and see our blog: