Through an international competition, the Black Metropolis Research Consortium offers one month residential fellowships in the City of Chicago for its Summer Short-term Fellowship Program.  Since 2009, the Summer Short-term Fellowship Program has engaged scholars, artists, writers, and public historians to better formulate new historical narratives of the Black experience. The new, original research, music and art developed through this program is significant as it illuminates the national and international importance of Chicago's African American community to the broader history of Black America.

The purpose of the Summer Short-term Research Fellowship is:

  • To create research opportunities for scholars and artists to conduct primary research in Chicago/Illinois-based BMRC archival repositories;
  • To generate new knowledge in the field of African American history;
  • To engage the local Chicago community in the history of the city.

Each Fellowship consists of one-month of support during the summer fellowship period (June through August). The BMRC provides a stipend of $4000 for each Fellow to be utilized during the summer in the year in which it was awarded. Fellowships may not be deferred.


  • Citizens or permanent residents from any country (applicant from countries outside the United States must hold a valid passport and be able to obtain a J-1 visa even if they are currently in the United States);
  • Scholars and artists with outstanding capabilities and experience from a variety of backgrounds (including academia, journalism, and other professions); and
  • English language proficiency.


  • The BMRC Fellowship does not provide housing, but provides those selected for the fellowship with a list of recommendations.

Program Requirements

BMRC Summer Short-Term Fellows must adhere to the following in order to receive their full stipend:

  1. Diligently pursue active research related to the topic outlined in their application project description/proposal.
  2. Participate in opening events (e.g. a Welcome Breakfast, if available and one online Orientation). Depending on the selected Fellows research dates, there may be other optional events that provide opportunities for Fellows to meet each other, BMRC member archivists, and other BMRC stakeholders.
  3. Present a final public presentation (approximately 20-25 minutes) of their research activities by the close of the summer program or another date in the early fall designated by the Program Manager. BMRC Staff will work with fellows to schedule their presentations and confirm dates once their selection as a Fellow is confirmed
  4. Upon completion of the Fellowship, respond to the BMRC Fellows Survey. Information and link will be provided by the Program Manager/Archivist. Fellows are expected to respond during or immediately after finishing their residential month in Chicago.
  5. Deposit an “artifact” from their summer research with the BMRC to preserve and share the outcomes of their research and to promote research resulting from the fellowship to our donors/prospective donors.**
  6. Provide the BMRC with an “end of fellowship” summary report (no more than 1000 words) which details the archives visited, research findings, and future plans regarding the research topic. Incorporating some of your responses to the BMRC Fellowship survey is encouraged, but not required.

**An artifact may be a copy of your final slide presentation/discussion, a YouTube video of an original vocal, instrumental or choreographed dance/movement recording or an original art piece or collection of pieces, etc. A deposited slide presentation, performance recording or exhibition must be one that was organized and coordinated with the program manager as a BMRC
fellow event.


Application Procedures

The application period for our summer 2023 cohort is October 3 - December 2, 2022.

The following application materials are required and must be submitted using the online application via Submittable. All files should be submitted in PDF or MS Word Format, unless otherwise noted in the instructions. You may submit application materials in separate files or all in one file (all in one file and PDF preferred). Please include your last name in the file name of all documents.

1.) Project description (Please include the following in 1500 -1800 words):

  • Provide a compelling narrative of your interest in African American history as well as the title and description of your proposed research topic;
  • Detail how the proposed research topic will generate new perspectives or contribute to knowledge of the black experience in Chicagoland;
  • Discuss the significance/impact of the project and how it fits within the purpose of the Summer Short-Term Fellowship program;
  • Demonstrate the need for access to at least two BMRC related collections, ideally from more than one BMRC member institution. Please be specific and include the names of archival repositories, specific collections and why the collections are vital to your project.  For a list of member collections, please visit our newly revised portal at BMRC Archives Portal
  • Outline your research plan and dates of proposed research.

2.) CV or resume – Please be sure to include your name, contact information, and institutional affiliation, if applicable.

3.) A sample of your work (scholarly paper, video, photography, or other artistic work) Be sure to review our Sample Work Guidelines before accessing the Submittable online application in order to become familiar with size limits and other specifics regarding uploaded items.

4.) TWO Letters of Recommendation – Your references should be familiar with your qualifications, the proposed project, and speak to your research skills, experience, knowledge of African American history, and capacity to carry out the proposed project. Please have your references include your last name in the file name of the letter of recommendation.  It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that their references submit letters by the application deadline via the Submittable online system. In providing their email address, your designated references will receive an email with a link to upload their reference letter to the Submittable system.

The application period for the 2023 fellowship cohort has now closed.