Call for 2014-2015 JGS Fellows

By Jamie Haft | April 03, 2014


Are you a photography or digital media student engaging in community?

Are you looking for an opportunity to collaborate with peers and mentors as part of a national network?

Thanks to a generous grant from Joy of Giving Something, Inc. (JGS), Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life invites publicly engaged students of photography or digital media from our member institutions to apply for a tuition award and to join a national working group of students. The goal of the IA/JGS Fellows program is to elevate photography and digital media as a pathway for students to pursue their careers and make a difference in their communities.

Criteria includes:

  • Financial need
  • Artistic merit
  • Quality of community-engaged practice  (e.g., students with demonstrated leadership facilitating community-based photo or media arts experiences with people unlikely to  otherwise have access to art-making)

To be considered, we ask the student to contribute three work samples and write an essay (please see prompt below), and to have a faculty or staff member email a letter of recommendation with information about the student’s financial need to The submission deadline is May 30thOnly one award will be given per school.

The 2014-15 JGS Fellows will receive tuition scholarships of $2,000 each and will commit to engaging in a yearlong learning exchange that will result in a collaborative media project. Fellows will be invited to participate in the 2014 Imagining America National Conference, October 9-11, in Atlanta, Georgia, and will be eligible for a limited number of travel stipends to attend the conference.

Fellows will be announced in July and the funds will be released shortly thereafter. Checks will be distributed to each Imagining America institution, and the faculty or staff nominator will be responsible for seeing that the winning student receives the scholarship funds.

Essay Prompt and Work Samples

Imagining America is a national consortium of more than 100 colleges and universities joining with publicly engaged scholars, artists, designers, and community members to advance the democratic purposes of higher education. We are the only national network working at the intersection of publicly engaged scholarship and the arts, design, and humanities. For context about the organization’s mission, please watch this video:

For the IA/JGS Fellows program, we seek students who are using their creativity and knowledge to address challenges and act on opportunities in their communities. We invite applicants to draw on their experience as publicly engaged artists and media makers to tell a story — through the essay and work samples — about their own lives and work. We are especially interested in stories that demonstrate the reciprocal value of having students and community members collaborate. Please consider at least one of the questions for the essay response and work samples:

  • What motivates you to use photography or digital media in your community engagement? (For example, was there something in your family upbringing that led you to this commitment?)
  • What was a pivotal moment that occurred for you doing this work?
  • What obstacles have you faced in realizing your community engaged art work?
  • In terms of the future – what’s at stake? what gives you hope?

Please write your story in less than 500 words and upload 3 work samples (e.g., photographs, videos, digital animation, stills from performances or installations). Be sure to curate your work samples to demonstrate your range of skills in art and community engagement. Fellows will have their multimedia essays published on the Imagining America website.

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