SAADA Archival Creators Fellowship Program (2021-22)

With support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Institute of Museum and Library Services, SAADA invites applications for its Archival Creators Fellowship Program. Nine fellows will be selected in the 2021-22 cohort, including three specifically focusing on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on South Asian American communities.

At a glance:
Applications due: September 13, 2021 by 11:59pm Pacific Time
Fellowship period: October 15, 2021 to July 15, 2022
Fellows' workshop: October 16 & 17, 2021 (held virtually)
Fellows receive: $5,000 stipend; $500 equipment budget; $1,000 event budget; $1,000 advisory group budget; $500 artist budget

Download a PDF of the guidelines and application form.

Meet our past fellows
• 2019-20 SAADA Archival Creators Fellows
• 2020-21 SAADA Archival Creators Fellows

Please note: Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, all fellowship activities will be conducted online. The health and safety of our fellows and SAADA staff and advisors is our primary concern, and we will only resume in-person activities once it is safe to do so.

For the last thirteen years, SAADA has enabled academics, artists, filmmakers, journalists, students, and community members to write books, create new content, and shape public understanding about the South Asian American community. SAADA is at the forefront of advancing a distributed, post-custodial community-driven approach to archival collecting, where archival work is done by and with the community, and not just for the community. Through the Archival Creators Fellowship Program, fellows partner with SAADA to create archival collections that reflect the histories and perspectives of marginalized groups within the South Asian American community. These include, but are not limited to, communities that are working class, undocumented, LGBTQ+, Dalit, Muslim, Indo-Caribbean, or otherwise excluded or overlooked in mainstream South Asian American narratives.

In the 2021-22 fellowship cohort, we are inviting three fellows specifically exploring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on South Asian American communities. Examples of projects on this theme could include, but are not limited to, how the pandemic has impacted working class South Asian Americans, the pandemic's impact on frontline healthcare workers, those who have lost loved ones to COVID, political and racial justice organizing during the pandemic, etc. To be considered for this theme, please indicate that you are applying for the "Documenting COVID Experiences" theme in your application submission.

This fellowship program is open to all U.S.-based individuals with valid work authorization who are themselves members of the community they will be archiving, or in which they otherwise have deep existing relationships. No formal archival training is necessary, but applicants should have a strong demonstrable interest and commitment to community memory and storytelling. Fellows are expected to dedicate approximately 5 hours/week to their project over the duration of the fellowship period from October 15, 2021 to July 15, 2022 (40 weeks).

Application Timeline
August 7, 2021: Call for fellowship applications is made available online
September 13, 2021: Fellowship application deadline
Late-September 2021: Phone interviews with fellowship finalists
Early-October 2021: Fellows are announced to the public

Fellowship Timeline
October 15, 2021 through July 15, 2022: Fellowship period; includes bi-weekly video calls with fellowship cohort and SAADA staff
October 16 & 17, 2021: Two-day online workshop on digital archival practices and community relationship.

During the fellowship period, Archival Creators Fellows will be responsible for:
• Participating in a two-day online workshop on digital archival practices, oral history methodology, and community relationship building led by SAADA staff and advisors.
• Participating in bi-weekly video calls with fellowship cohort and SAADA staff to provide updates on progress, ask questions, etc.
• Convening a community-based advisory group for your archival collection project.
• Conducting at least 10 oral history interviews and identifying, digitizing, describing, and providing online access to archival materials related to these interviews.
• Writing one new article for Tides, SAADA’s online magazine, highlighting findings in your new archival collection.
• Authoring two blog posts detailing the process of building relationships and working within your community.
• Developing an online exhibit for the SAADA website highlighting a narrative thread in your newly created collection.
• Organizing an event (likely online), launching your collection to the public and collecting community member stories and reflections.

Archival Creators Fellows will receive:
• Training on digital archival practices from SAADA staff and advisors, including appraisal, digitization, metadata creation, interviewing, and transcription, as well as relationship-building and event planning.
• Consistent support and guidance from SAADA staff and advisors throughout the duration of your project.
• A stipend of $5,000 (paid in three installments over the fellowship period).
• A budget of $500 to equipment costs, including (scanners, audio recorders, etc.), software (image or audio editing, etc.), and other miscellaneous expenses.
• A $1,000 budget for collection launch event, to cover the cost of event space rental, refreshments, documentation, equipment, local travel, and other expenses. If this event is held online due to safety considerations, the budget can be used creatively to share your project with the public.
• A $1,000 budget to provide honoraria for advisory group members.
• A $500 budget to commission an artist to create original artwork for the online exhibit.

Please direct all questions and inquiries to