Folger Shakespeare Library Artistic Research Fellowships


Folger Institute Artistic Research Fellowships are open to all artists whose work would benefit from significant primary research related to the histories, concepts, art, and objects of the early modern world (ca. 1400-1800) and its legacies. Artistic applicants are not required to hold a formal degree, but should describe their training and level of industry-specific experience in their CV.

Artistic applicants may apply for one, two, or three months of research support, with a stipend of $4,000 per month, taken any time between July 1, 2024, and June 30, 2025. For the 2024-25 fellowship year, artistic fellows will have the option to take fellowships fully onsite at the Folger, fully virtual, or a combination of the two. Applicants may propose the research schedule that best fits their project’s needs.

All Artistic Research applications open: October 1, 2023

All Artistic Research applications due: January 15, 2024, by 11:59 pm (ET)

Apply Now

Please note that while fellowships taken onsite at the Folger provide access to and time with our collection, they do not include studio space. Artists who need studio space while in residence will be expected to arrange their own.

Frequently Asked Questions

Current Artistic Research Fellows

Learn More about the Fellowships Program

Virtual and Hybrid Fellowships

The option to take an artistic fellowship as fully or partially virtual was designed for individuals who cannot, for a variety of reasons, travel or commit to an extended residential research period, but whose projects will be significantly advanced by the funding of access to primary sources online, dedicated time to work, and the validations of a fellowship award. By alleviating financial, professional, and personal barriers to fellowship participation, full and hybrid virtual opportunities provide greater access to research fellowships while simultaneously allowing artists to take advantage of the increasing multitude of digital resources accessible to them at home.

We also recognize that, in addition to working with archival materials, time to think, experiment, work in a home studio, and create are all equally important aspects of artistic research. As such, our virtual fellowships allow researchers to “buy time,” or use their fellowship funds to offset personal and professional expenses such as caregiving and supplementary employment. In their applications, artists must make their own best cases for how they will utilize the onsite and/or virtual portions of their fellowship.

Resources and Benefits

  • Access to Folger collectionselectronic resources, and Researcher Services consultation
  • Opportunities to network with Folger Theatre, Consort, Poetry, and public engagement professionals, as well as with Folger curators, librarians, and conservators
  • Discounted ticket to Folger Theatre, Poetry, and Consort performances while in residence
  • Participation in scholarly and community-building programs with other Folger Fellows
  • Personal “digital portfolio” page on folgerpedia to document and share your project
  • Exposure on the Folger website, social media, blogs, and newsletters
  • J1 Visa sponsorship, if needed

Past Artistic Fellows

Folger Artistic Research Fellows represent a wide range of genres, media, and practices. Visual, Performance, Installation, and Sonic artists have all found their place within our fellowship community, along with writers (fiction, non-fiction, and journalism), filmmakers, poets, community engagers, chefs, and theatre-makers.

View Past Artistic Research Fellows

The Folger Institute hopes to continue expanding the types of creative projects we support each year. However, to provide some context, here are generalized examples of past artistic fellowship projects we have funded:

  • An artist working with a Folger digitized manuscript requests funding to produce imagery inspired by that manuscript using innovative printing techniques as well as creating related performance art pieces.
  • A visual artist requests funding to produce a series of paintings that explore mental illness in Tudor England.
  • A filmmaker requests funding to write a script for a miniseries inspired by Shakespeare and his contemporaries.
  • A playwright requests funding to research and write a contemporary Latinx interpretation of a play by Shakespeare.
  • An artist requests funding to produce performance art that explores the crossroads of scientific fact and speculative fiction in the early modern US.
  • An artist requests funding to create a multi-media exhibit that explores Indigenous objectification in the early modern world and its continuation today.
  • A writer requests funding to write longform poetry focused on constructs of gender in the early modern period.

Information Regarding Reopening, Housing, and COVID Policies

In 2024, the Folger will begin reopening. While the reading room will be open and ready to welcome researchers, it is important to note that it remains unclear when all Folger properties will become available to researchers once more. Please note that fellowship stipends have been increased to offset the additional cost of securing off-site housing in DC.

Residential fellows are expected to inform themselves about, and follow, the most up-to-date public health guidelines in both their place of origin and Washington, DC.

Please see the Folger’s COVID-19 Safety Protocols for more information. Please note that the COVID-19 policies may shift as the pandemic continues to evolve. Please check back prior to travelling to the Folger for the most recent information. Qualifying COVID-19 vaccinations, as well as details on exceptions and on applying for humanitarian waivers to this requirement, can be found on the CDC website.

Application Evaluation

To evaluate applications each year, the Fellowships Program assembles an external committee of respected artists, aiming for disciplinary, methodological, and geographical diversity. Committee membership changes annually. The committee is charged with evaluating applications based on the proposed project’s impact, its relevance to the field, the originality and sophistication of the artist’s approach, the feasibility of the artist’s research objectives, and their expected use of Folger resources and collections. Particular weight is accorded to the project’s impact, relevance, and approach. Furthermore, the Institute is committed to supporting work across artistic fields that address inequities or marginalized subjects, and that point to richer and more inclusive histories.

Application Instructions

The application portal for Artistic Research Fellowships is now open. All applications must be completed and submitted through our online portal.

Please be sure to review the Fellowships FAQs page before applying.

To apply for a 2024–2025 Artistic Research Fellowship, please submit the following:

  1. 250-word abstract of your project.
  1. 1,500-word description of your project and the part of the project you plan to work on while in residence at the Folger as well as how this part of the project relates to the overall project. Please emphasize your proposed topic’s importance, its relevance to the field, and the originality and sophistication of your approach. Please be sure to indicate how many months of research you are applying for (1, 2, or 3 months), why that is an appropriate length of time, and how you will utilize each month (virtually and/or on site).
  1. Two-page CV.
  2. One-page list of relevant Folger primary sources, rare materials, digital assets, and/or other resources you wish to consult during your fellowship.
  3. One letter of recommendation. You will identify your recommender in the online application portal and will be given guidance on how to upload their letter. Anyone is eligible to act as a recommender: artists, scholars, teachers, colleagues. We recognize that, due to continuing contractions in the humanities, we are all under unique and significant pressures. Letters of recommendation are very helpful to interdisciplinary selection committees as they work to understand how a project fits within its field. Applications may be disadvantaged, but they are not rendered ineligible or formally penalized if they are missing a letter of recommendation.
  1. If you feel that portfolio materials or a link to an online portfolio will help the selection committee to better understand your application, please upload them as one file through the application portal or provide a link to your online portfolio in your proposal. DO NOT upload portfolio materials that are unrelated to your proposed fellowship project. Providing portfolio materials is optional.

It is helpful to start your online application early. You can revise your application at any point in the process right up to the deadline. You must hit the “submit” button for your application to be complete.

Please note, our ability to offer a residential component for our 2024-25 long-term, short-term, and artistic fellowships is dependent upon the status of Covid-19. Unforeseen complications could alter or delay fellows’ ability to be on-site and could affect the period of residency. 

Application date
1, 2 or 3 months
Humanities : Arts and Art history, Literature