The Diane Dammeyer Fellowship in Photographic Arts and Social Issues creates a space for a socially-engaged photographer to produce a compelling and dynamic body of work highlighting human rights and social issues.
Fereshteh Toosi, the 2015-16 Dammeyer Fellow, spent her year building relationships with the residents of Leland Apartments, an affordable housing building run by Heartland Alliance in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago. Toosi has led workshops with residents, sharing with them accessible photographic techniques such as scannergrams, thermal portraits, direct animation and chemigrams. 1
Columbia College Chicago and Heartland Alliance, two internationally-recognized institutions with deep roots in Chicago dating back more than 120 years, partner in hosting the Diane Dammeyer Fellowship in Photographic Arts and Social Issues. The fellowship is a unique public commitment to socially engaged art, combining Columbia’s dedication to academic excellence and developing authentic, creative voices with Heartland Alliance’s bold history of advocating for the rights of the world’s most vulnerable populations.
The purpose of this postgraduate fellowship is to create an opportunity for a socially engaged photographer to immerse themselves in the community of Heartland Alliance 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, 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.
In addition to their work with the Heartland Alliance community in the greater Chicago area, the fellow will also spend significant time at Columbia College Chicago, where they 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 their 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.
Because of the dynamic nature of the fellowship, a full-time commitment is required during the academic year (September to May). Fellowship hours will vary, as will the activities in which the fellow will be immersed. It is expected that the fellow will reside in Chicago during the term of the award.
A $25,000 stipend will be awarded for the 2017-2018 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.