Research Fellowships for Creative Artists

2019-20 guidelines

Amherst College students are invited to apply for a research fellowship at the Amherst College Archives and Special Collections. The Lane Fellowship provides financial and research support for 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
  • Digital art projects
  • Performance of historical music or drama
  • Plays or screenplays

Examples of projects:

    • Fellow A wrote and performed a play about the life and assassination of Fred Hampton, focused on the hours before his death. The playwright enhanced the historical accuracy and dialog of her play by reading through publications in the Bloom Alternative Press Collection, including issues of The Black Panther magazine.
    • Fellow B choreographed a dance, using illustrations from nineteenth century physical education manuals to create movement material.
    • Fellow C wrote a series of short stories set in twentieth-century Western Massachusetts. He drew inspiration from news articles and stories found in issues of The Amherst Student and local newspapers, and used reference materials such as regional dialect dictionaries to add authenticity to the characters and situations.
    • Fellow D investigated racially-charged song lyrics from nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century American musicals in the Van Nostrand Theatre Collection Music Holdings. He used his research to write about the development of racialized tropes in popular music, and to compose and perform mash-ups of the orchestrations he found.
    • Fellow E wrote a script and 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 visual look of the characters and scenarios.

Proposals must include:

  • Short summary of a clearly defined project
  • Name of faculty reference
  • Expected date of project completion
  • Optional: drawings or other non-textual elements 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. Priority will go to proposals leading to thesis work or other projects developed with faculty or departmental support, and to projects with spring semester completion dates. Awards will be made based on the feasibility and strength of the proposed projects. 

Deadline for application: Monday October 7.
Send proposals to Mike Kelly, Head of Archives and Special

Questions about the program, or about how special collections and archival research might be part of your project, may be addressed 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: