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Research Awards, Fellowships, and Funded Internships

The American Folklife Center's competitive awards provide support for scholars working with ethnographic collection materials at the Library of Congress and for fieldworkers on folklife and related topics. Descriptions of these programs and awards follow.

Archie Green Fellowships

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Archie Green
Archie Green speaks at the American Folklife Center, 1978. Photo by Carl Fleischhauer.
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To honor the memory of Archie Green (1917-2009), a fellowship program has been established at the American Folklife Center. Green was a pioneering folklorist who championed the establishment of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. As a scholar, he documented and analyzed the culture and traditions of American workers and encouraged others to do the same. The Archie Green Fellowships are intended to support new research in this area, and to generate significant digital archival collections of interviews with contemporary American workers (audio recordings, photographs, videos, and fieldnotes), which will be preserved in the American Folklife Center archive and made available to researchers and the public. Check the list of previous award winners to get a sense of the types of projects we fund.

Program Description

Application materials for the next round of fellowships will be available in Spring 2023, pending approval of the FY23 Federal budget. The American Folklife Center invites applications and usually awards four to six fellowships, up to $30,000 each, to support new, original, independent field research into the culture and traditions of contemporary American workers and/or occupational groups found within the United States. These projects must include interviews with workers. Applicants must submit proposals via email.

The original documentary materials generated during the course of each fellowship will become part of the American Folklife Center's archive. The American Folklife Center was established by Congress to support research and scholarship in American folklife and to preserve, support, revitalize, and disseminate American folk traditions. Materials in the Center's archive are available to researchers and the general public. Some may be posted to the Library of Congress website.

Application Requirements

[Please read carefully: Contains changes in eligibility requirements from previous years]

To be eligible, projects must involve new, original research on, and documentation of, contemporary occupational culture in the United States. Eligibility is limited to individual applicants who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Should a proposed project involving a team of fieldworkers be awarded it will be the sole responsibility of the individual receiving the award to distribute funding to group members according to the plan articulated in the proposal. The Library of Congress will not split awards among a group nor make awards to organizations. This award is not intended to support field research projects undertaken for the completion of university degrees, and previous awardees cannot reapply for the same project.

Selection

Proposals for the Archie Green Fellowships will be evaluated by a committee composed of a member of the American Folklife Center Board of Trustees, American Folklife Center staff, and invited panelists.

Expectations

Persons wishing to submit applications must develop a project plan detailing the subject of the research and the methods of digital documentation to be used. Successful applicants must agree to provide the American Folklife Center with the documentary interviews and related materials created during the course of the fellowship research.

Successful applicants must submit documentation in digital formats using American Folklife Center online metadata forms for descriptive, administrative, technical and other interview data. In addition to audio or video interviews, submitted materials must include time-coded logs or time-coded transcripts and permission and release forms signed by interviewees. (For more information contact [email protected] or call 202-707-5510.) A 600-800 word essay describing funded projects for use on the AFC website must accompany final submission of materials generated by the fellowship and successful applicants may be asked to write contributions to the AFC blog, Folklife Today. All materials will become part of the American Folklife Center archive.

Fellowship recipients will submit a final report and financial accounting to the American Folklife Center upon completion of the fellowship. Please note indirect and overhead costs will be supported. Awarded funds are dispersed only through electronic transfers (direct deposit), and each awardee must provide banking information as requested.

How to Apply

Applicants for the Archie Green Fellowships at the American Folklife Center should submit the following materials.

  • Cover sheet (example below)
  • Project Description (1-3 pages)
  • Project Budget, which, if necessary, may include the cost of purchasing professional-quality documentation equipment
  • Project Timeline
  • Statement of Agreement/Letter from occupational group to be documented, if appropriate
  • Résumés (for applicant and relevant team members )

The term of each fellowship will be limited to a period of one year and will be supported with funds up to $30,000.

Digital Documentation Requirements & Specifications

All fellows must comply with the American Folklife Center/Library of Congress digital standards. Therefore, proposed documentation must meet the following specifications:

  • Digital audio: 96khz/24bit or 44.1khz/16bit .wav file (only .wav files will be accepted).
  • Digital video: high-resolution digital video format (consult with AFC staff for specifications)
  • Digital images: high-resolution digital images (consult with AFC staff for specifications)
  • Text files (for logs, fieldnotes, final report, etc.): Microsoft Word

Applicants are strongly urged to consult with AFC staff for specifications, equipment, and format choices prior to submitting their applications. For more information, contact Nancy Groce, 202-707-1744 / [email protected]

Submitting Application Materials

  • Email your submission - do not send via U.S. Postal Service.
  • Email to:  Archie Green Fellows Committee at [email protected]
  • Questions?  Call the American Folklife Center, Archie Green Fellowships, Nancy Groce,  202-707-1744; email: [email protected]

Please copy, paste into a new page, fill out, and include the cover sheet below with your application.


ARCHIE GREEN FELLOWSHIP

COVER SHEET

APPLICANT (Name):

TITLE OF PROJECT:

AMOUNT REQUESTED:

APPLICANT INFORMATION:

Address: City:
State: Zip code:
Primary Phone Number: Additional Phone Number:
Email:  

PROJECT SUMMARY (100 words maximum):

Please note that applications must identify one individual to serve as awardee and primary contact for the project. Awarded funds are dispersed only through direct-deposit electronic transfers, so the awardee must provide banking information as requested.


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Archie Green
Alan Lomax, a Duell & Sloan publicity photograph,1950. (AFC 2004/004)
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Jon B. Lovelace Fellowship for the Study of the Alan Lomax Collection

The Jon B. Lovelace Fellowship for the Study of the Alan Lomax Collection is administered through the Library of Congress' John W. Kluge Center. Find the application information at this link.



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Peter Bartis
Peter Bartis. Self portrait taken in Rhode Island, May 15, 1979.
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The American Folklife Center Internship Program Fund made possible with initial seed support from former AFC staff member Peter Bartis

Application materials for the 2023 American Folklife Center Internship Program Fund will be available in Spring 2023. Please check back on application procedures at that time here.

The fund supports two interns per year to work with staff at the AFC on individualized projects related to the collections and work of the AFC.

The program offers professional development experiences, introduce interns to the research collections at the AFC (and the Library), develop critical skills related to documentation, archival practice, and cultural heritage research and programs. Paid internships will be 10 weeks in duration and stipends will vary depending on length of internship. Individuals may apply through an open application process.

To make a donation to the AFC Internship Program Fund, donate online. Copy and paste or type in the "Other" box the name of the fund: Fund #651265 – American Folklife Center Internship.

See also: Volunteer Internship Program

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Photograph of Gerald E. Parsons, Jr.
Gerald E. Parsons Jr. (1940-1995), who founded the Gerald E. and Corinne L. Parsons Fund for Ethnography in honor of his parents. 1994.
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The Gerald E. and Corinne L. Parsons Fund Award

Application materials for the 2023 Gerald E. and Corinne L. Parsons Fund for Ethnography at the Library of Congress will be available in Spring 2023. The total amount available is approximately $5,000, but please note that this amount may be divided among more than one recipient. Awardees will be announced in May. The selection committee is composed of the professional staff of the American Folklife Center.

Purpose of Award and Eligibility

The purpose of the fund is to increase awareness of the ethnographic collections at the Library of Congress and to make the collections of primary ethnographic materials housed anywhere at the Library available to the needs and uses of those in the private sector. Awards may be made either to individuals or to organizations in support of specific projects. Check the list of previous award winners to get a sense of the previously funded projects.

Scope of Projects

Projects may lead to publications in media of all types, both commercial and non-commercial; underwrite new works of art, music, or fiction; involve academic research; contribute to the theoretical development of archival science; explore practical possibilities for processing ethnographic collections in the American Folklife Center archive or elsewhere in the Library of Congress; develop new means of providing reference service; support student work; experiment with conservation techniques; and support ethnographic field research leading to new Library acquisitions.

Application Deadlines and Procedures

Applicants are encouraged to consult with American Folklife Center staff members prior to submitting their application. All applications must include the items described below.

All applicants and candidates for American Folklife Center awards who are not U.S. citizens must be visa and/or payment eligible in order to receive a Library of Congress award. The rules and the variations for visa and payment eligibility are determined on a case-by-case basis. Please contact the staff of the American Folklife Center for more information by email at [email protected] or by telephone at 202-707-5510. 

The application consists of:

  • A narrative, 750-1500 words long, describing the proposed project and its potential products and audiences.
  • A budget and proposed time-frame in which to undertake research (typically for periods of one to three weeks). Flexibility built into a budget can be helpful to the committee in determining appropriate funding.
  • A resume or statement of previous experience.
  • Names, addresses, phone numbers, and/or email addresses of three referees who can attest to the applicant's professional work and qualifications to undertake the project.
  • Please do not submit photographs, videotapes, CDs, or any physical material.

Email your submission, do not send it via the U.S. Postal Service. Attach your application to an email with the subject line "[your last name] Parsons application." Address the email to the Parsons Fund Committee at: [email protected]. If you have any questions about procedures, contact the Chair, Parsons Fund Committee at [email protected] or call (202) 707-5510.

The Blanton Owen Fund Award

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Photograph of Blanton Owen
Folklorist Blanton Owen
(1945-1998).
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The American Folklife Center will invite applications for the Blanton Owen Fund in the Spring 2023. The biennial award was established in 1999 in memory of folklorist Blanton Owen by his family and friends to support ethnographic field research and documentation in the United States, especially by young scholars and documentarians. Historically, the amount available for the award has been about $2000 which is often divided between two recipients.

All applicants and candidates for American Folklife Center awards who are not U.S. citizens must be visa and/or payment eligible in order to receive a Library of Congress award. The rules and the variations for visa and payment eligibility are determined on a case-by-case basis. Please contact the staff of the American Folklife Center for more information by email at [email protected]  or by telephone at 202-707-5510. 

The application consists of:

  • A narrative, 750-1500 words long, describing the proposed project and its potential products and audiences.
  • A budget and proposed time-frame in which to undertake research (typically for periods of one to three weeks). Flexibility built into a budget can be helpful to the committee in determining appropriate funding.
  • A resume or statement of previous experience.
  • Names, addresses, phone numbers, and/or email addresses of three referees who can attest to the applicant's professional work and qualifications to undertake the project.
  • Please do not submit photographs, videotapes, CDs, or any physical material. All materials must be submitted by email.

Email your submission, do not send it via the U.S. Postal Service. Attach your application to an email with the subject line "[your last name] Owen application." Address the email to the Owen Fund Committee at: [email protected]. If you have any questions about procedures, contact the Chair, Owen Fund Committee at [email protected] or call (202) 707-5510.

The Henry Reed Fund Award

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Photograph of Henry Reed
Henry Reed, fiddler. Photo by Karen Jabbour, ca. 1967.
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The Henry Reed Fund is offered bi-annually and application materials will be available in Spring 2024.

The fund was established in honor of old-time fiddler Henry Reed and first awarded in 2004, with an initial gift from founding American Folklife Center director and fiddler Alan Jabbour. The purpose of the fund is to provide small awards to support activities directly involving folk artists, especially when the activities reflect, draw upon, or strengthen the collections of the American Folklife Center. The life and work of Henry Reed is documented in the online collection "Fiddle Tunes of the Old Frontier." Historically, Reed Awards have ranged from $1000 to $2000. Check the list of previous award winners to get a sense of the types of projects we have previously funded.

Projects and activities might include:

  • Payments to folk artists, their families, their descendants, or their cultural communities in connection with publication or dissemination of documents (audio recordings, manuscripts, photographs, etc.) in the American Folklife Center's collections.
  • Honoraria or reimbursement to folk artists for programs, such as concerts, workshops, or exhibitions, which feature those folk artists and their arts.
  • Programs honoring and celebrating folk artists for their cultural contributions.
  • Support for the costs of documenting distinguished folk artists and the acquisition of resulting documentation by the Library of Congress.

Application Deadline and Procedures:

All applicants and candidates for American Folklife Center awards who are not U.S. citizens must be visa and/or payment eligible in order to receive a Library of Congress award. The rules and the variations for visa and payment eligibility are determined on a case-by-case basis.  Please contact the staff of the American Folklife Center for more information by email at [email protected] or by telephone at 202-707-5510. 

Applicants for Henry Reed Fund awards should submit a 750-1500 word description of their proposed project, with a budget and schedule of project activities. AFC staff members are happy to discuss proposals with applicants prior to submission (see contact information below).

Applications should also include a résumé, artist bio, or statement of previous experience, and the names, addresses, phone numbers, and/or email addresses of three references who are qualified to speak about the applicant's work.

Email your submission, do not send it via the U.S. Postal Service. Attach your application to an email with the subject line "[your last name] Reed application." Address the email to the Reed Fund Committee at: [email protected]. If you have any questions, please address your query to the Chair, Reed Fund Committee at [email protected] or call (202) 707-5510. If you wish to send supporting audio-visual materials, please contact the committee for instructions.

 

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   March 28, 2022
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