Apply for JGS Fellows

The application for the 2017 JGS Fellows program is now closed. The application for the 2018 JGS Fellows cohort will be made available on or before May 2018.

About the IA/JGS Fellows Program

Thanks to a generous grant from the Joy of Giving Something Foundation (JGS), Imagining America (IA) 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. IA is a national network of publicly engaged scholars, artists, designers, students, and community members working toward the democratic transformation of higher education and civic life. 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 (for example, 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 Monday, May 22.

The 2017-18 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 2017 IA National Conference, October 12-14, in Davis, California, 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 IA 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

IA 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, and how have you continued through them?

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.