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The Diane Dammeyer Fellowship Photographic Arts and Social Issues

Photography Department at Columbia College Chicago and Heartland Alliance   /   Deadline: 04/01/20

Columbia College Chicago and Heartland Alliance, two internationally recognized institutions with Chicago roots dating back more than 120 years, partner in hosting the Diane Dammeyer Fellowship in Photographic Arts and Social Issues. The fellowship is a unique public commitment to socially engaged art, combining Columbia's dedication to academic excellence and developing authentic, creative voices with Heartland Alliance's bold history of advocating for the rights of the world's most vulnerable populations.
This postgraduate fellowship creates an opportunity for a socially engaged photographer to immerse themselves in the community of Heartland Alliance 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, 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.

A $25,000 stipend will be awarded 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.


Greater Chicago Area




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 academic program when applying

Candidates must be available to be in Chicago for the duration of the fellowship, September - May


In addition to their work with the Heartland Alliance community in the greater Chicago area, the fellow will also spend significant time at Columbia College Chicago, where they will be mentored by a Photography Department faculty member and will work with Columbia students. The fellow will also have a Heartland Alliance project sponsor dedicated to aid their 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.


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.


The fellowship is supported by former Columbia student, 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.

Evaluation Criteria

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.

Contact Information

Ross Sawyers
600 S. Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60605

P: 773-556-2502

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