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SVA/Robert Lemelson Foundation Fellowship Program 

Fellowship Details and Application Instructions

The SVA/Robert Lemelson Foundation Fellowships are designed to provide graduate students working in the field of visual and multimodal anthropology with funding to pursue exploratory research for planning their doctoral dissertation research and/or methods training to prepare for their doctoral dissertation research. Research projects supported by the funding should have the potential of advancing the field of visual anthropology. Normally, fellows receive their awards after their first or second year of graduate training as they begin to develop their dissertation research projects. We expect to award up to six fellowships in 2017 with each fellow up to an amount of $6,000 depending upon need. Of the total amount granted, up to $2,500 may be used for video/film equipment.


o   Fellowships are open to all graduate students without regard to citizenship or place of residence.

o   Applicants must be enrolled in a graduate program at the time of application and during the period of the fellowship.

o   Applicants’ proposed research must be in the field of visual anthropology, broadly defined, but they do not need to be students in departments of anthropology.

o   Applicants cannot have completed more than four years of graduate education, including all institutions that they have attended.

o   Applicants must be current members of the Society of Visual Anthropology (SVA), a section of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) as of April 25, 2017.

Details on joining the AAA and the SVA can be found at (Note: If the applicant is not a current member, we suggest submitting the membership application well in advance to be sure that the membership is current by the deadline.)

The funding cannot be used to collect data for the fellow’s master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation.

Fellows are prohibited from accepting the Robert Lemelson Foundation Fellowship in conjunction with any other summer or research funding for the same projector over the same time frame as the proposed research supported by the Robert Lemelson Foundation Fellowship.

All fellows are required to attend the 2017 AAA Annual Meeting to be held in Washington, D.C. (November 29-December 3, 2017).

Permissible Uses of Robert Lemelson Foundation Fellowship

Funding: Financial support can be requested to support all travel expenses, including airfare, ground transportation, and visa application fees; living expenses and housing; fieldwork expenses such as gifts for participants, translator and field assistant fees; and all other reasonable and justified expenses. Funds may not be used to pay for graduate school tuition. Budgets must include financial support up to a maximum of $600 to attend the 2017 AAA Annual Meeting to be held in Washington, D.C.

Funding cannot be used to support language training in more commonly taught languages, such as Spanish, French, and Arabic. Some funding can be used to support language instruction for languages where formal instruction is limited, but the focus of the project should be on pursuing exploratory research rather than strictly language instruction. Funding can be used for methods training, but the methods in question must be tied directly to the larger research project and it will be this project that is the focus of the selection committee’s review. Proposals for general methods or statistical training, for example, are unlikely to be funded. We expect to fund proposals between $3,000 and $6,000. You may request a larger amount than the stated limit, but it is very unlikely that an award over $6,000 will be made.

Application  components:

(1)  Application form: Download the fellowship application form from the Robert Lemelson Foundation Fellowship website,or from here.  complete the form using Adobe Acrobat or Reader, and save it with your last name in the title.

(2)  Project statement: In 750 -1,000 words (excluding references), please describe the specific research activities or training that you will carry out with support from the SVA/Robert Lemelson Foundation Fellowship. Explain in detail how you will use your time, including any preliminary data you will collect and analysis you are considering. Please specify the ways in which this preliminary research and/or methods training has the potential to make your dissertation research more successful. Please indicate whether you have ever spent time in the field site in question. If so, please indicate the length of time and experience you have there, and how this bout of research will be different from previous visits. Finally, your proposal should specifically address how your research program has the potential to advance the field of visual/multimodal anthropology. The statement should be single-spaced, and use a 12-point font and one-inch margins on all sides. Any references included should be narrowly focused, and should not exceed 300 words.

(3)  Brief curriculum vitae: In one single-spaced page, provide details on your education with dates of enrollment; any research funding, fellowships, and awards you may have received, including amounts and dates, and any academic publications and presentations you may have completed. Include details on prior employment, volunteer work, and other experience only if it is directly relevant to the proposed research. Other information, such as teaching experience, should not be included.

(4)  Budget and budget justification: In one single-spaced page, provide a detailed and specific budget with justification for the items and amounts included. Justification should include mention of how costs were estimated. Your budget must include support up to $600 for attendance at the 2017 AAA meetings, and this amount can be listed as a single item in your budget.

(5)  Letter of recommendation: Applicants must obtain a letter written in support of their application from a faculty member familiar with their work and research aspirations. Normally, this will be the chair of the student’s graduate research advisory committee. Please provide the attached information sheet to the individual who is writing the letter. It is the applicant’s responsibility to be sure that the letter is received by the deadline. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed. Only one letter of recommendation will be accepted.

Deadline and submission details:

Deadline for application submission: 5 pm EST on Tuesday April 25, 2017

Your application should consist of only two files: (1) a PDF of the completed application form (section #1 above), and (2) a single PDF file that includes sections #2 (project statement and references), #3 (curriculum vitae), and #4 (budget and justification). Please include your last name in the name of both files. To submit your application, please email both files as an attachment to the SVA’s President, Stephanie Takaragawa ( by the deadline. Applications received after this time and date will not be reviewed. We expect to contact awardees by the end of April, and hope to contact all applicants by May 1, 2017. Please contact Stephanie Takaragawa with any questions or if there are any changes to your application, such a receipt of other funding.

2017-2018 SVA/RLF Fellowship Application Form

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