Columbia College Chicago

Fine & Performing Arts

The Diane Dammeyer Fellowship in Photographic Arts and Social Issues is a unique collaboration between the Photography Department at Columbia College Chicago and Heartland Alliance, a leading global anti-poverty organization.

Diane Dammeyer Fellowship in Photographic Arts and Social Issues

The Diane Dammeyer Fellowship in Photographic Arts and Social Issues creates a space for a socially-engaged photographer to produce a compelling and dynamic body of work highlighting human rights and social issues.

The Diane Dammeyer Fellowship in Photographic Arts and Social Issues is a unique collaboration between the Photography Department at Columbia College Chicago and Heartland Alliance, a leading global anti-poverty organization.

The purpose of this postgraduate fellowship is to create an opportunity for a socially engaged photographer to immerse himself/herself in the community of participants served by Heartland Alliance programs and to produce a new, original and compelling body of photographic work that speaks to the human rights and social issues revealed through these experiences. By engaging with the Heartland Alliance community of participants and practitioners—and not merely observing or documenting the people or programs from afar—the fellowship allows the artist to create a true connection between subject, audience and community. This serves the larger goal of the fellowship, which is to use photographic practice to elevate our collective awareness of social, economic, and cultural issues and to inspire positive social change.

In addition to his/her work with the Heartland Alliance community in the greater Chicago area, the fellow will also spend significant time at Columbia College Chicago, where he/she will be mentored by a Department of Photography faculty member and will work with Columbia students. The fellow will also have a Heartland Alliance project sponsor dedicated to aid his/her immersion in the Heartland community and to provide valuable feedback during the nine-month project. The fellowship will culminate with a public presentation, exhibition and/or publication of the fellow’s newly created body of work at the completion of the fellowship period.

Because of the dynamic nature of the fellowship, a full-time commitment is required during the academic year (September to May). Fellowship hours will vary, as will the activities in which the fellow will be immersed. It is expected that the fellow will reside in Chicago during the term of the award.

A $25,000 stipend will be awarded for the 2016-2017 academic year to support the fellow’s work. Talented individuals who have completed an MFA in photography or in another related creative field and who are committed to active immersion and participation with Heartland Alliance and Columbia College Chicago are encouraged to apply.

Apply Now

The deadline to apply is midnight (U.S. Central Standard Time) April 1, 2016. Please review the application information posted below. For further information or questions, email dammeyerfellowship@colum.edu.

The Diane Dammeyer Fellowship is administered under the auspices of both Columbia College Chicago and Heartland Alliance, two internationally recognized institutions with deep roots in Chicago dating back more than 120 years. As a pioneer in arts and media education, Columbia combines its internationally recognized experience teaching creative students to develop authentic voices and meaningful skills in partnership with Heartland Alliance’s history of advocating for the rights of the world’s most vulnerable populations.

The fellowship is supported by Columbia alumna Diane Dammeyer, whose experience as a photographer for Heartland Alliance inspired her to create both an undergraduate scholarship and a postgraduate fellowship in the hope that emerging artists would conceive of creative ways to use their skills to help a nonprofit organization better realize its goals.

About Heartland Alliance

The leading anti-poverty organization in the Midwest, Heartland Alliance believes that everyone deserves the opportunity to improve their lives. Each year, it helps ensure this opportunity for nearly one million people around the world who are homeless, living in poverty or seeking safety. Because the causes of poverty, injustice and lack of opportunity are interrelated and interlocking, Heartland Alliance’s programs are similarly comprehensive and integrated, allowing unusual synergy in meeting its participants’ needs. In addition to direct service, Heartland Alliance partners with lawmakers and organizations to shape public policies that fit the needs of everyone, ensuring that even the most vulnerable can realize a brighter future.

About Diane Dammeyer

Following a long career in real estate on Chicago’s North Shore, Diane Dammeyer enrolled at Columbia College Chicago to develop her skills in photography. “Nothing in my extensive business background had prepared me for this fast-moving new world I boarded.  I was used to being the conductor of my own moving world where I was at the top of the game, knowing just what to do, being in control,” writes Dammeyer.  But upon arriving at Columbia College Chicago, she was excited to find the college “swarming with kids (younger than my own three children)—a buzzing, urban campus.”  

During her time at Columbia and in the years that followed, Dammeyer established herself as a landscape and philanthropic photographer who collaborates with nonprofit organizations and individuals to bring awareness to human equality.  She worked as a volunteer photographer with the Chicago-based Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights.  In her travels around the world, she used her visual storytelling skills to capture images of children and young adults and their economic circumstances. Her experience as a photographer for the Heartland Alliance inspired her to create both an undergraduate scholarship and a postgraduate fellowship at Columbia College Chicago.

Application Information

How to Apply

Only complete fellowship applications submitted by the April 1, 2016 deadline will be reviewed by the Fellowship Committee. Candidates must submit the following materials:

  • Online application
  • Background narrative
  • Project narrative
  • Work sample of 20 images
  • Résumé
  • Official transcript from institution where graduate degree was earned
  • Contact information for two professional references
  • Application fee of $25
Eligibility

• Candidates must have completed an MFA in photography or in another related field with demonstrated, significant photographic practice by the start date of the fellowship. Graduates of the Columbia College Chicago MFA Photography program are encouraged to apply.

• Candidates must exhibit a strong interest in working in an immersive environment at Heartland Alliance and developing a creative portfolio for the purpose of elevating awareness of social, economic and cultural issues through engagement with Heartland Alliance’s participants and programs.

• Candidates must exhibit a strong interest in engaging with the Columbia College Chicago Department of Photography faculty and students through workshops, lectures or other on-campus opportunities.

• Candidates must demonstrate the ability to meet the full-time commitment for the duration of the fellowship, and the ability to engage and adapt to a schedule that changes and evolves based on opportunities for immersion at Columbia College Chicago and at Heartland Alliance’s Chicago-based programs.

• Candidates must not be enrolled full-time or part-time in any academic program as of September 1, 2016.

• Candidates must be available to be in Chicago for the duration of the Fellowship, September 1, 2016 through May 30, 2017.

Review Criteria and Selection Process

The successful candidate will demonstrate:

• Artistic excellence and artistic merit through an outstanding portfolio of photography that engages beyond the traditional representations of photography with social, economic and cultural issues aligning with Heartland Alliance’s areas of interest.

• The ability to work collaboratively in a community-based setting.

• The ability to communicate effectively on a regular basis with the Columbia faculty mentor and Heartland Alliance project sponsor.

• The potential to make a significant artistic and cultural impact both within the partner organizations and in the larger community.

Fellowship Award

The fellow will receive:

• One $25,000 stipend, distributed in quarterly installments, to cover living expenses, all materials and all final exhibition/presentation/publication expenses.

• Access to Columbia College Chicago Photography Department facilities and a workspace.

• Access to workspace at Heartland Alliance.

Notification Process

Finalists will be notified by April 7, 2016. All finalists will be contacted by the Fellowship Administrator to arrange an in-person or Skype interview. A final decision on the Fellowship recipient will be announced by May 20, 2016.

FAQs

Q: What is the expected time commitment of the fellow to Heartland Alliance and Columbia College Chicago during the fellowship?

A: Though the time spent at Heartland Alliance and Columbia College Chicago may vary from weektoweek, the fellow is expected to spend an average of 20 hours per week engaged with Heartland Alliance participants and staff and an average of 20 hours per week at Columbia with students and in the studio (for a total of 40 hours per week).

Q: Do I need to be a Columbia College Chicago alum to apply?

A: No, applicants do not need to be alumni of Columbia College Chicago. Alumni of any MFA program may apply.

Q: Is the fellowship open to international applicants?

A: Yes, this fellowship is open to international applicants. If an international applicant is awarded the fellowship, then he/she is responsible for arranging their own visas, international and domestic transportation, and local accommodations in Chicago.

Q: What does the $25,000 stipend cover?

A: The $25,000 stipend covers all expenses associated with the fellowship, including but not limited to: transportation, accommodations, living expenses, arts/photo materials and final exhibition/project expenses. No additional funds beyond the $25,000 stipend are available if the fellow’s costs exceed this total.

Q: How is the stipend paid to the fellow?

A: The stipend is paid in four equal installments: Sept.15, Dec. 1, March 1 and following the completion of final exhibition/presentation in May.

Q: Can the fellow have a full-time or part-time job during the fellowship?

A: Though time commitments may vary from week-to-week, the fellow is expected to dedicate an average of 40 hours per week to the fellowship (with 20 hours at Heartland and 20 hours at Columbia), making it very difficult to maintain any other significant job commitment during the academic year.

Q: Can an applicant continue with his/her graduate studies during the fellowship?

A: No, the fellow must have completed his/her MFA by the start date of the fellowship and cannot be enrolled in any full-time or part-time academic program for the duration of the fellowship.

Q: Can the fellowship and stipend be used to complete an applicant’s existing or ongoing photography project?

A: No, this is not a completion grant. The fellow must create a new, original body of work as part of this fellowship.

Q: What disciplines can the applicant’s MFA be in?

A: The applicant can have received an MFA in any discipline but must be able to demonstrate through the application a proficiency in the use of photography in his/her artistic practice.


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