Research Fellowships for Creative Artists

2023-24 Lane Fellowship application guidelines

Visit this page in fall 2024 for next year's application information!

Amherst College students are invited to apply for a research fellowship with the Amherst College Archives and Special Collections. The Lane Fellowship runs during the 2023-24 academic year, and provides up to five fellows with financial and research support while using historical and rare source materials for arts projects. 

Following a cohort-support model, Fellows work with library staff and one another in the process of growing creative research skills and critically engaging with archival structures and processes. Students are encouraged to follow their curiosity, and identify manuscript material or items in our collections to use as inspiration or to draw from directly in produced works. 

Projects may include (but are not limited to):
- Artists’ books
- Costume or set designs
- Creative writing, including plays or screenplays
- Theater and dance
- Drawings, paintings, installations, sculptures
- Digital art projects
- Film or videos

Examples of past projects:

  • Fellow A wrote and illustrated an interpretation of the Haudenosaunee Sky Woman story, drawing inspiration from books in the Collection of Native American Literature
  • Fellow B wrote a series of short stories set in 20th-century Western Massachusetts, drawing inspiration from articles in The Amherst Student and local newspapers, and used regional dialect dictionaries to add authenticity to the characters and situations.
  • Fellow C created a sound installation based on the idea that buildings hold historical memory. Their research focused on documentation from the Amherst Uprising of 2015 and the Buildings and Grounds Collection, and they used contact microphones to conduct sonic investigations of the library building and other spaces.
  • Fellow D designed characters for an animated short film about a cluster of daddy long legs spiders. They used rare books in natural history and ornithology to inform the film’s visual look.
  • Fellow E wrote and performed a play about Fred Hampton, set in the hours before his assassination. She enhanced the historical accuracy and dialog of her play by reading through  issues of The Black Panther magazine in the Bloom Alternative Press Collection.

Proposals should include:
1. Short summary of the project, including some materials from our collections you may use
2. Name of a faculty reference (preferably someone who is advising the project)
3. Expected date of project completion
4. Optional: images, video, or other work samples in addition to the written summary

Applicants must be currently enrolled Amherst College students; Amherst alumni and students from other members of the Five College Consortium are not eligible. Awards will be made based on the feasibility and strength of the proposed projects, and priority will go to theses or other projects with faculty or departmental support. The program begins in the fall semester and continues through the spring, with all Fellows participating fully, regardless of the completion date of their project.

Send proposals to Mike Kelly, Head of Archives and Special Collections,
Send questions about the program, the application process, or about how special collections and archival research might be part of your project 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: