Fellowships and Research Support

Learn more about our programs to support fellows and research scholars

Public Research Fellows

Past fellowship
This information is for the 2020 application cycle. Check back in Spring 2021 for information about the 2021 application.

The Leventhal Map & Education Center at the Boston Public Library is pleased to announce a call for Public Research Fellows in History and Geography for the 2020–2021 academic year.

The Public Research Fellows programs is a pilot initiative of the LMEC, and it is designed to support scholars whose work advances the following two goals:

  • Productive research in the LMEC collections. The LMEC stewards the Boston Public Library’s collection of over 200,000 maps, atlases, and other geographical objects. Particular strengths include Boston and New England, the American Revolution, urban atlases, and maritime charts; chronological coverage spans from the 16th century to the present. The LMEC’s location in the Boston Public Library also affords access to research materials in the library’s extensive historical and research collections.
  • A public agenda for communication and engagement. While fellows may also be working on traditional scholarly monographs or peer-reviewed journal articles, the Public Fellows Program specifically supports work committed to a broad audience, through formats such as newspaper and magazine articles, digital interactives, web publications, podcasts, multimedia, public art, advocacy and policy briefs, public data repositories, and other forms of engagement. Fellows should demonstrate the integral nature of public engagement in their work and emphasize their ability to translate scholarly material for a general audience.

In 2020–2021, the LMEC seeks proposals for fellows in the following two thematic clusters:

  • Culture, design, and politics of public open space. Projects may include studies of landscape architecture and urban design; the popular reception and use of public spaces; the shifting uses and concepts of open space both insides and outside of cities; the relationship between drafting, planning, and cartography in creating and promoting public open space; and policy issues confronting contemporary city design. Projects focused on Boston and New England will be given special consideration.
  • Atlantic geographies of the Revolutionary period. Projects may include studies of the interlinked history of the British and French Empires on both sides of the Atlantic during the Seven Years’ War and American Revolution; the history of science and technology in cartography; the landscapes and economies of the eighteenth century Atlantic; the role of environment and geography in military history; mapping of and by indigenous and enslaved peoples; and the relationship between cartography and portrayals of political sovereignty. In addition to the physical material in the LMEC collection, projects in this category are encouraged to make use of the digital partner collections that are part of the American Revolution portal. Special consideration will be given to projects which result in interpretive material that can enhance the American Revolution portal.

About the Fellowship

Successful fellows will receive a stipend of $3000. They are expected to spend between one and three weeks in residence at the LMEC, during which period they will present their work in progress to a group of Boston-area scholars in the Leventhal Public Geographies Workshop Series. Fellows are also expected to present at the end of their time in residence to LMEC staff during an informal lunch conversation. Finally, fellows are expected to complete measurable progress towards their public engagement project within 9 months of their residence time.

Eligible Candidates

Researchers who have shown a professional commitment to scholarly understanding coupled with public communication are eligible to apply, including students and faculty housed in research institutions such as colleges and universities, as well as independent scholars and representatives of fields like journalism, design, and policy who can demonstrate a commitment to historical inquiry. Researchers housed at institutions with limited resources for advanced study will be given special consideration in the application process. K–12 teachers are not prohibited from applying to the Public Research Fellows program, but they will likely find our Teacher Fellows program more appropriate; contact mleblanc@leventhalmap.org for more information about this program.

To Apply

Applications are now closed.

Final round applicants will additionally be required to submit a letter of support from a colleague or supervisor. Letters of support will be solicited in the first week of April.

Successful applicants will be notified by May 1, 2020 and must plan for a residency period between September 15, 2020 and August 15, 2021.

For questions, please email gnelson@leventhalmap.org.