The Diane Dammeyer Fellowship in Photographic Arts and Social Issues is a unique collaboration between the Photography Department at Columbia College Chicago and Heartland Alliance, a leading global anti-poverty organization.
The purpose of this postgraduate fellowship is to create an opportunity for a socially engaged photographer to immerse himself/herself in the community of participants served by Heartland Alliance programs and to produce a new, original, and compelling body of photographic work that speaks to the human rights and social issues revealed through these experiences.
By engaging with the Heartland Alliance community of participants and practitioners—and not merely observing or documenting the people or programs from afar—the fellowship allows the artist to create a true connection between subject, audience, and community. This serves the larger goal of the fellowship, which is to use photographic practice to elevate our collective awareness of social, economic, and cultural issues, and to inspire positive social change.
A 25,000 USD stipend will be awarded for the 2016–17 academic year to support the fellow’s work. Talented individuals who have completed an MFA in photography or in another related creative field and who are committed to active immersion and participation with Heartland Alliance and Columbia College Chicago are encouraged to apply.
In addition to his/her work with the Heartland Alliance community in the greater Chicago area, the fellow will also spend significant time at Columbia College Chicago, where he/she will be mentored by a Department of Photography faculty member and will work with Columbia students. The fellow will also have a Heartland Alliance project sponsor dedicated to aid his/her immersion in the Heartland community and to provide valuable feedback during the nine-month project. The fellowship will culminate with a public presentation, exhibition, and/or publication of the fellow’s newly created body of work at the completion of the fellowship period.
The Diane Dammeyer Fellowship is administered under the auspices of both Columbia College Chicago and Heartland Alliance, two internationally recognized institutions with deep roots in Chicago dating back more than 120 years. As a pioneer in arts and media education, Columbia combines its internationally recognized experience teaching creative students to develop authentic voices and meaningful skills in partnership with Heartland Alliance’s history of advocating for the rights of the world’s most vulnerable populations. The fellowship is supported by Columbia alumna Diane Dammeyer, whose experience as a photographer for Heartland Alliance inspired her to create both an undergraduate scholarship and a postgraduate fellowship in the hope that emerging artists would conceive of creative ways to use their skills to help the nonprofit organization better realize its goals.