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The Curran Fellowships

Application Deadline: December 15.

The Curran Fellowships are a set of travel and research grants intended to aid scholars studying 19th-century British magazines and newspapers in making use of primary print and archival sources. Made possible through the generosity of the late Eileen Curran, Professor Emerita of English, Colby College, and inspired by her pioneering research on Victorian periodicals, the Fellowships are awarded annually.

The Curran Fellowships are open to researchers of any age from any of a wide range of disciplinary perspectives who are exploring the 19th-century British periodical press (including magazines, newspapers, and serial publications of all kinds) as an object of study in its own right, and not only as a source of material for other historical topics. Applicants’ projected research may involve study of any aspects of the periodical press in any of its manifold forms, and may range from within Britain itself to the many countries, within and outside of the Empire, where British magazines and newspapers were bought, sold, and read during “the long nineteenth century” (ca. 1780-1914).

Eligibility

The Curran Fellowships are intended to support primary research on the nineteenth-century periodical press: magazines, newspapers, and serial publications of all kinds.  Therefore, eligible projects must engage with primary sources, whether those sources appear in print, manuscript, or digital facsimile.  All else being equal, preference will be given to projects that use or bring to light new or little-known materials about the periodical press.

The fellowship research must begin during the calendar year following the application deadline.

Only one application may be submitted by an individual per deadline.

Only one applicant is permitted per application.  (Those seeking support for collaborative projects should consider the RSVP Field Development Grants.)

Those holding academic appointments as well as graduate students and independent or retired scholars are equally welcome to apply.  An academic degree or affiliation is not required.

Applicants are strongly encouraged, but not required, to become RSVP members.

Applicants may hold grants or fellowships from other organizations concurrent with a Curran Fellowship.  However, a Curran Fellowship winner may not hold other RSVP awards in the same calendar year.

Officers and Directors of RSVP are not eligible to apply.

Application Procedure

All applications must be submitted through the online application portal at https://rs4vp.smapply.io/ no later than 11:59 p.m. US Pacific time on the deadline listed in the awards calendar.

The application portal will open two weeks before the application deadline, at which time applicants may create an account and begin preparing and submitting their proposals. At the application portal you may start your application and finish submitting it at a later date.

As a courtesy to evaluators, RSVP strongly recommends that applicants prepare their proposals using a readable font, not smaller than 11 point, with margins of at least one inch.  Documents may be single spaced.

An application includes the following components:

  1. An online application form, which collects the following information:
  • Full name
  • Postal address
  • Email address
  • Telephone number
  • Affiliation (if applicable)
  • Proposed period of the fellowship
  • Amount of request (not to exceed U.S. $5,000)
  • Project title
  • Brief project description (50-75 words)
  1. A c.v. not to exceed two single-spaced pages, uploaded in PDF, .docx, or RTF format. This document should include current and past employment; education; recent publications, awards, and honors; and other information relevant to the review of the proposed project.
  2. A narrative proposal not to exceed three single-spaced pages, uploaded in PDF, .docx, or RTF format. This document must explain the nature and background of your project, the specific research you intend to do with the support of the Curran funds, the time frame for conducting that research, and how the Curran-enabled research contributes to the goals of the larger project. Be sure to explain how your research will help to advance scholarly understanding of the 19th-century British periodical press more generally. This last is very important. The Curran Fellowships are not intended to support historical or literary research that merely makes some use of Victorian newspapers and magazines as sources, but, rather, to support research that tells us something new about the nature of those publications, their role in the 19th-century literary marketplace, and the people who wrote, illustrated, edited, published, sold, bought, and read them.
  3. A one-page description of the printed and manuscript materials you want to explore, and why, uploaded in PDF, .docx, or RTF format. Be as specific as you can. For example, if you propose looking at runs of certain periodicals, give specific titles and date-spans for them; likewise, if you want to work in a publisher’s or author’s archive, indicate what kinds of documents there you intend to inspect. Make sure that all the materials you mention will in fact be available to you at the time of your proposed visit. Make sure that the materials you are proposing to travel to see are not already available to you in microfilm or digital form, or in a repository closer to home. Any archives that you plan to visit with Curran Fellowship assistance need not necessarily be in the UK, as many libraries in other parts of the world have important collections that are of interest to students of Victorian periodicals. If you need to travel to another institution to use an electronic database not available to you locally, or to subscribe to such a resource, please mention that, as well. Given the uncertainty of travel during the pandemic, a no-cost extension of time may be requested at the end of the award period.
  4. The name and email address of one recommender familiar with the proposed project. The recommender will receive an email with a link to upload a recommendation letter directly into the application system. The recommendation letter deadline is listed in the award calendar. Applicants are responsible for soliciting the letter of recommendation from someone familiar with their project who can also speak to its contribution to the field of nineteenth-century periodical studies. The letters should address the evaluation criteria below. While the absence of a letter of recommendation from an application will not make it ineligible, a letter that arrives late (or not at all) may make an application less competitive.

Official Website: The Curran Fellowships

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