RBS Receives Grant to Support the Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship for Diversity, Inclusion & Cultural Heritage

Rare Book School has received a $1.5 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship for Diversity, Inclusion & Cultural Heritage, a six-year program which aims to advance multicultural collections through innovative and inclusive curatorial practice and leadership. Forty-five fellows who identify with diverse racial or ethnic communities and/or who work primarily with collections that document minority, immigrant, and non-Western cultural traditions will participate in this program over six years.

Comprising three overlapping cohorts of 15 fellows each, the fellowship will seek to fulfill four core goals: 1) developing skills for documenting and interpreting visual and textual materials in special collections and archives; 2) raising awareness within professional communities about the significance of inclusive, multicultural collections, including their promotion, development, and stewardship; 3) building connections with diverse communities and publics through strategic programming, outreach, and advocacy; and 4) advancing careers by establishing new pathways and skills for professional growth.

Rare Book School will be collaborating with a number of partner institutions to make meaningful professional development activities available to fellows. These activities will include site visits to such institutions as the Free Library of Philadelphia, the Cuban Heritage and Latin American Collections at the University of Miami Libraries, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; targeted workshops at the annual conference of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section of the Association of College and Research Libraries; and the opportunity to present work at the HBCU Library Alliance biannual meeting.

“We are excited by the opportunities this grant provides; it will enable us to be more active and effective agents in advancing the diversity of persons and practices in special collections libraries,” said RBS Executive Director Michael F. Suarez, S.J. “And we are enormously grateful, not only to The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and its staff, but also to a host of other interlocutors, for the many conversations we have had over the past several years in the nascent stages of this program. Listening carefully to new voices and attending to different perspectives has been both humbling and enlightening.”

Applications for the first cohort of fellows will be available in September 2019, and will be due on 2 December 2019. See the fellowship webpage for more details on the fellowship program and the application process.

Read the full press release.