Designer-in-Residence Fellowship

Applications currently open
Applications for this fellowship are open through Sunday, November 27, 2022.

Are you a designer working in cartographic or geographic media who would like to spend a month making maps with us?

The Leventhal Map & Education Center’s inaugural Designer-in-Residence fellowship supports designers working across all media and professional settings whose work is cartographic or geographic in nature. The Designer-in-Residence will spend time working with the LMEC collections, producing original material in collaboration with Center staff, and spend time dedicated to their own independent creative cartographic projects. Designers of all professional backgrounds working in primarily visual media are invited to apply, including cartographers, illustrators, graphic designers, those working in data visualization, and others who emphasize the geographic dimension of their practice.

In 2023, two residencies will be offered, one each on the following themes:

  • Fire Insurance Atlases and Micro-Histories. The corpus of fire insurance and real estate atlases that form the core of the LMEC’s Atlascope tool will be the feature of our 2023 in-person exhibition Building Blocks: Boston Stories from Urban Atlases. More broadly, these materials form one of the most important sources for fine-grained urban histories in cities across the United States. The Designer-in-Residence in this theme track will find inspiration in the visual form of these fire insurance atlases and will create materials that make cartographic references to bottom-up, small-scale micro-history.
  • Critical Urban Civic Mapping. Public engagement with geospatial data and civic action is a key theme across all of the Center’s educational and research programs. This broad residency theme encourages applicants to create materials that take a critical approach to civic issues in the contemporary city. Special consideration will be given to applicants who propose work focused on Boston or other cities in New England, though this is not a strict requirement.

Applicants should select one theme area in which to make an application.

In addition to access to the LMEC cartographic collections, the Center will facilitate access to the other special and research collections of the Boston Public Library to the extent possible. If access to another BPL collection not held by the Leventhal Center is crucial to the planned residency project, please contact us in advance.

The Designer-in-Residence will receive a $7000 stipend and is expected to be in residency at the Leventhal Map & Education Center in Boston, Massachusetts for four continuous weeks. On each of the residency weeks, the fellow should plan to spend three days in person at the Center, working in collaboration with Center staff, while the remainder of the week’s time may be spent independently working at the Boston Public Library or remotely. The residency period may be planned for any four-week period from January 1 through August 31, 2023.

About the Residency

During the residency, the fellow will create at least one map in collaboration with Center staff for the purposes of teaching, exhibitions, or public research. While fellows are welcome to work on projects that may involve interactive or ephemeral media, the map produced in collaboration with Center staff, along with at least some part of the primary output of the fellow’s residency period, should be in a statically-rendered visual format suitable for inclusion in the Center’s digital collections repository (i.e., one or more static images in TIFF format). Fellows will be expected to publish the work produced during the residency period on the Center’s various digital platforms to the extent possible, and to license all work produced during this period on a Creative Commons license.

Fellows should plan to hold at least two “open studios” for the public during the residency period during which they will demonstrate their cartographic and creative work in process.

Fellows will have full access to the Center’s collections, and we will additionally facilitate access where possible to the Boston Public Library’s other Special Collections departments. Fellows will have access to Center workspaces, and will expect to have use during the residency period of a standard desk, whiteboard, pin-up wall, and both standard and large-format printers. Access to the workspace will be available from 9 am to 5 pm on weekdays, and by advance request at other times. Computer equipment is not provided, but specialized software may be available if licenses are in place at the Center. Any needs for special working conditions (e.g., large studio tables, specialized lighting, or access to a wet room) or software should be indicated in advance in the application material. The Center is ADA accessible.

Stipends will be paid in two parts, the first payment occuring two weeks before the beginning of the first week of residency, and the second occuring at the start of the third week of residency.


Designers of all professional backgrounds working in primarily visual media are invited to apply, including cartographers, illustrators, graphic designers, those working in data visualization, and others who emphasize the geographic dimension of their practice. Residents should not be employed at more than 0.2 full time equivalent in another capacity during their four weeks of their residency, or, if so employed, permission should be granted from the employing institution for a leave of absence.

Residencies are available to all individuals regardles of citizenship who have legal permission to work in the United States. We cannot offer support or sponsorship for visa applications through this residency program.

Special consideration will be given to applicants who belong to communities that have been historically excluded from the cartographic and design professions.

To Apply

Online application

An application consists of the following material submitted by Sunday, November 27, 2022 by 10 pm ET:

  • A portfolio consisting of at least 3 pieces, emphasizing the applicant’s work in cartographic and geographic modalities. (Uploads or URLs)
  • A CV or resume
  • A statement of not more than 700 words describing the applicant’s creative response to one of the two theme areas for the 2023 residency
  • A list of potential four-week periods proposed for residency

Successful applicants will be notified by December 9, 2022.

For questions regarding the fellowship, please email or call 617-859-2387.