The David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library invites applications for the Fall 2015 Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel Visiting Artist Fellowship. Artists from around the world and representing a range of practices and disciplines are encouraged to apply; including architects, photographers, filmmakers, sound artists, poets, and performance artists to name a few.  The Fellowship will provide an artist with the opportunity to develop a new body of work exploring and engaging with archival, manuscript and other special collections housed at the Rubenstein Library. Our diverse and unique collections have the potential to inspire a variety of works, from new documentary films and textile designs to installations and theatrical plays. Fellowships are four weeks in length and include access to research and studio space. Artists will be given the freedom to work with as many (or as few) archival collections as they choose and will have the opportunity to meet with scholars, students and staff from across the academic disciplines while at Duke. In turn, Visiting Artist Fellows are asked to make themselves available a few hours each week as mentors to Duke students from various disciplines. At the end of the residency, the Rubenstein will host a talk with the artist that will focus on the ways in which archival materials and their conversations across campus have inspired new and innovative approaches to art making. 

Artists applying for the Fellowship will be asked to write an artist’s statement outlining their interest in the Fellowship and suggesting possible interdisciplinary opportunities.  The selection committee will choose artists whose point of view, choice of media, life experiences, and heritage are varied, reflecting the diversity of materials found in the archives. Although artists will be invited to spend time in the archives, investigate its holdings, and create new work for the fellowship, artists will not be required to use materials from the archives in their new work – instead they will be urged to relate to the collections as sources of inspiration.  

Documentation or examples of work created for the fellowship must be submitted to the Rubenstein within 12 months of the date of the residency. Documentation and surrogates may be preserved and archived in a digital collection that will be hosted by Duke University. 

This grant is made possible through the generous support of Dr. Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel.

Fellowship Includes

  • A private workspace and living quarters on the Duke University campus.
  • Access to special collections materials in the Rubenstein Library Reading Room and private consultation with subject specialists.
  • A stipend of $4,000 for the artist’s discretionary use. 

Fellowship Requirements 

  • The artist is required to prepare a talk to be presented at the end of his or her fellowship. The talk will focus on the artist's experience working with archival material and any new work that was developed.
  • The artist is expected to have demonstrated substantial engagement with original source materials during the fellowship.
  • The artist is required to submit documentation or surrogates of a completed work within a year of completing the fellowship to be preserved in the Rubenstein Library or in Duke University's Digital Repository. It is expected that this work will have been informed by the artist's research at the Rubenstein.
  • The artist is required to set aside a few hours each week to be available to meet with students and scholars.

Judging and Criteria

The Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel Visiting Artist Fellowship is designed to provide an artist with the opportunity to develop a body of work exploring and engaging with archival, manuscript and other special collections at the Rubenstein Library. Artists will be chosen on the basis of past work and specific plans for utilizing special collections materials as described in their proposal. A selection committee of artists, archivists, curators, and art historians will review applications.

Application Process

Interested artists are encouraged to apply by submitting an application online.

The complete application package includes:

  • Current resume, including a list of any awards, scholarships, or grants received, in PDF format.
  • Brief biographical summary of educational and professional background.
  • Statement of interest in the fellowship, including plans for consulting, considering, or otherwise incorporating archival and special collections in the creative process.
  • Links to an online portfolio and/or representative samples of previous work for review by the selection committee.
  • Name and contact information for one professional reference.

Deadlines and Dates

  • Fellowship posted in Fall 2014
  • Applications due by January 16, 2015
  • Review of applications during early February, 2015
  • Recipient will be notified by early March, 2015
  • Fellowship begins no early than September 1, 2015 with final dates to be negotiated with Library.

For More Information

Contact Lisa McCarty, Curator of the Archive of Documentary Arts (, or Kat Stefko, Head of Technical Services (, for more information.