The Image Centre Research Fellowships

Since 2014, The Image Centre has offered a variety of fellowships for research related to photography. Research fellows have the opportunity to study select areas of The Image Centre’s photography collections first-hand. These include the acclaimed Black Star Collection of photo-reportage, with over a quarter-million prints spanning the 20th century; a historic and fine art photography collection; and several archives devoted to the life and work of a diverse group of photographers, including Werner Wolff, Jo Spence, Wendy Snyder MacNeil and Berenice Abbott. In 2025, The Image Centre will offer four competitive fellowships for research related to photography.
 

In 2025, The Image Centre (the IMC) will offer four fellowships for research related to photography. All applicants are encouraged to read the following guidelines closely and only apply to the fellowships that are most appropriate to their work and eligibility. Artists, and others seeking to do artistic research in the collections, are encouraged to apply for the Tanenbaum Fellowship exclusively. 

The Nadir Mohamed Postdoctoral Fellowship
This fellowship includes a $10,000 (CAD) stipend for travel, research, and other related expenses. Candidates must hold a PhD degree. Candidates’ research should utilise the collections and resources of The Image Centre and/or Toronto Metropolitan University Archives and Special Collections. The fellow will be expected to carry out their research on-site for a minimum of one (1) to a maximum of three (3) months, between February 1, 2025 and February 28, 2026.

The Penny Rubinoff Fellowship
This fellowship includes a $5,000 (CAD) stipend for travel, research, and other related expenses. Candidates must hold a master’s degree; this includes PhD students or candidates, and excludes applicants who hold a PhD or are postdoctoral researchers. Candidates’ research should utilise the collections and resources of The Image Centre and/or Toronto Metropolitan University Archives and Special Collections. The fellow will be expected to carry out their research on-site for a minimum of two (2) to a maximum of six (6) weeks, between February 1, 2025 and February 28, 2026.

The Elaine Ling Fellowship
This fellowship includes a $4,000 (CAD) stipend for travel, research, and other related expenses. Candidates must have recently completed a master’s degree, or be working toward its completion. Students who are currently enrolled in a doctoral program, hold a PhD or are postdoctoral researchers are ineligible. Candidates’ research should utilise the collections and resources of The Image Centre and/or Toronto Metropolitan University Archives and Special Collections. The fellow will be expected to carry out their research on-site for a minimum of one (1) to a maximum of four (4) weeks, between February 1, 2025 and February 28, 2026.

The Howard Tanenbaum Fellowship
This fellowship includes a $4,000 (CAD) stipend for travel, research, and other related expenses. Candidates may hold any level of education, and/or be independent artists with relevant experience and demonstrated interests. Candidates’ research should utilise the collections and resources of The Image Centre and/or Toronto Metropolitan University Archives and Special Collections in support of their artistic practice; applicants should propose creative methodologies and outputs. The fellow will be expected to carry out their research on-site for a minimum of one (1) to a maximum of four (4) weeks, between February 1, 2025 and February 28, 2026.

Current and Past Fellows

Explore bios and research abstracts from past and current fellows

Submissions

Fellowship Guidelines 2025

Applications, including letters of reference, must be sent via email to imagecentre.research@torontomu.ca no later than September 30, 2024, by 5:00 p.m. EST. Please specify how you learned of the IMC Fellowship Program in the body of your email submission. The application must include the following:

1. A project proposal (approximately 1,000 words) that outlines the subject, the originality of the research, its foundation in the collections at the IMC and/or TMU Archives and Special Collections, and the applicant’s scholarly abilities to address the subject. The first line of the proposal must indicate which fellowship the applicant is seeking.

2. Curriculum Vitae.

3. One sample of written work (maximum 20 pages). For artists applying to the Howard Tanenbaum
Fellowship, an example of previous film or video work (maximum 10 minutes long), or a portfolio of images (no more than 10) may be submitted instead of a writing sample.

These first three components must be gathered into one PDF document with the filename saved as: FirstnameLastname2025-Application.pdf. If film or video is being submitted instead of a writing sample, a link to view the file must be included in the candidate’s application email, and the proposal and CV should be gathered into one PDF document. The applicant should indicate in the subject line: Application for IMC 2025 Fellowship.

4. One letter of recommendation from someone in a position to characterise the applicant’s scholarly or artistic abilities to successfully carry out the proposed project. The letter should be emailed directly from the referee to imagecentre.research@torontomu.ca and must be received before the application deadline. The referee should indicate in the subject line: Reference for IMC 2025 Fellowship Applicant for [Applicant’s Full Name]. The letter should be submitted as a PDF with the filename: ApplicantFirstnameApplicantLastname2025-Reference.pdf

Eligibility

All Fellowships are available to both Canadian and international applicants:

  • Applicants for The Nadir Mohamed Postdoctoral Fellowship must hold a PhD.
  • Applicants for The Penny Rubinoff Fellowship must hold a master’s degree.
  • Applicants for The Howard Tanenbaum Fellowship may hold any level of education, and/or be independent artists with relevant experience and demonstrated interests.
  • Applicants for The Elaine Ling Fellowship must hold or be actively working toward a master’s degree.

Research fellowships must take place in Toronto, Canada at The Image Centre or TMU Archives and Special Collections between February 1, 2025 and February 28, 2026. Dates of residency will be established in dialogue with the IMC’s staff. Research fellows must agree to abide by COVID-19 health and safety precautions and regulations as directed by Toronto Metropolitan University, The Image Centre, and the Ministry of Health for the province of Ontario.

Fellows are expected to pay the cost of travel and accommodation in Toronto. The stipend awarded with the fellowship is intended to offset these costs. Fellows without Canadian citizenship are responsible for obtaining travel visas as required by law according to their nationality.

Fellows will be offered access to the IMC’s Peter Higdon Research Centre and collection materials, and (if available) the TMU Archives and Special Collections.

Selection Process

A committee will evaluate the applications based on their quality, originality, and foundation in the collections and resources of The Image Centre and/or the Toronto Metropolitan University Archives and Special Collections. The selection committee includes: Paul Roth (Director, IMC); Dr. Thierry Gervais (Head of Research, IMC; Associate Professor, TMU); Dr. Denise Birkhofer (Curator, Collections and Academic Engagement, IMC); Dr. Charlene Heath (Archivist and Research Coordinator, IMC); one faculty member from the graduate program in Film and Photography Preservation and Collections Management at the School of Image Arts, TMU; and one curator/scholar from an external institution.

Report

Each fellow will submit a two-page fellowship report summarising their research, no later than one month after the completion of their fellowship at the IMC.

The report must include:

Initial objectives of the research.

  1. A description of the body of photographs analysed for the research.
  2. A description of resources accessed for the research.
  3. The main findings of the research.

The report must be written suitably for both internal reporting and external media release purposes.

Disbursement of Stipends

The Nadir Mohamed Postdoctoral Fellowship: $10,000 CAD
First instalment ($3,000 CAD) to be paid upon signing a Letter of Agreement detailing terms and conditions. Second instalment ($4,000 CAD) to be paid upon commencement of research at the IMC. Final instalment ($3,000 CAD) to be paid after submission of the two-page fellowship report (see above for details).

The Penny Rubinoff Fellowship: $5,000 CAD
First instalment ($2,500 CAD) to be paid upon signing a Letter of Agreement detailing terms and conditions. Second instalment ($2,500 CAD) to be paid after submission of the two-page fellowship report (see above for details).

The Elaine Ling Fellowship: $4,000 CAD
First instalment ($2,000 CAD) to be paid upon signing a Letter of Agreement detailing terms and conditions. Second instalment ($2,000 CAD) to be paid after submission of the two-page fellowship report (see above for details).

The Howard Tanenbaum Fellowship: $4,000 CAD
First instalment ($2,000 CAD) to be paid upon signing a Letter of Agreement detailing terms and conditions. Second instalment ($2,000 CAD) to be paid after submission of the two-page fellowship report (see above for details). The Wendy Snyder MacNeil Research Fellowship: $2,500 CAD

Successful applicants are responsible for complying with tax regulations under Canadian federal law, Canadian provincial law, and the laws within the applicant’s country of legal residence.

Contact

For further information, please contact:

For more information about the IMC and its collections and resources, please visit our website
To sign up for the IMC’s mailing list, please fill out this online form.
For more information on Toronto Metropolitan University Archives and Special Collections, please visit their website.

Website link: https://theimagecentre.ca/fellowship/

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