Mellon Fellowships In Urban Landscape Studies 2017, The Harvard Faculty Of Arts and Sciences, Washington, USA

Publish Date: Dec 01, 2016

Deadline: Feb 01, 2017

Mellon Initiative in Urban Landscape Studies


Garden and Landscape Studies at Dumbarton Oaks has received a major award from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to create a new interdisciplinary program in urban landscape studies. This grant is one of seventeen made by the Mellon Foundation so far to significant institutions of higher education and research, including Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, through their initiative in “Architecture, Urbanism, and the Humanities.” Grants are intended to foster the joint contributions that the humanities and the design and planning disciplines may make to understanding the processes and effects of burgeoning urbanization. At Dumbarton Oaks, the program will landscape architects and historians together to explore how urban environments got to be the way they are and how best to manage them today.

The program at Dumbarton Oaks will involve four principal components: new semester-long fellowships to be shared among designers and academics, with additional opportunities for field research funding, for which we seek applications; shorter-term invitational residencies for senior practitioners; a series of academic events, such as the Mellon Midday Dialogues, that will create a framework for interactions among these scholars and practitioners, along with other humanities scholars at Dumbarton Oaks and neighboring academic institutions; and a series of public programs including lectures, colloquia, workshops, and publications, all aimed at disseminating the initiative’s work nationally and internationally.

The project will be organized around broadly conceived themes and structured to acknowledge the current importance of sustainability, adaptability, and resilience, while encouraging a greater historical awareness of these concepts. The themes will promote an understanding of cities as landscape systems by inviting engagement with such topics as topography, hydrology, climate, and urban form; landscape and public history; the urban/rural interface; urban biodiversity; productive urban landscapes; the repurposing of derelict urban spaces; and informal urbanism. In these ways, the project seeks to enlarge the discourse of landscape urbanism, still relatively professionalized and Western in focus, to encompass a wide range of cultures and topics.

Mellon Fellowships in Urban Landscape Studies

Dumbarton Oaks has received a major award from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to create a new interdisciplinary program in urban landscape studies. For an overview of the program, click here.

Terms and Applications

Dumbarton Oaks, affiliated with the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences, is one of the few institutions in the world with a program devoted to garden and landscape studies that is targeted at both humanities scholars and landscape practitioners. The Mellon Fellowships are intended to expand significantly the opportunities offered by the institution to both of these groups, building constructive dialogue between them about the history and future of urban landscapes, and encouraging them to bridge the gap between their professional modes of thinking. To foster this interchange, Dumbarton Oaks seeks candidates with a demonstrated capacity for cross-disciplinary work, and encourages collaborative applications from teams of designers and historians working on similar topics or the same city. Preference will be given to candidates with final degrees such as a PhD or MLA.

Fellowships will be awarded for either the fall term (September 11, 2017, to January 5, 2018) or the spring term (January 22 to May 11, 2018). During this time, recipients are expected to be in residence at Dumbarton Oaks and to devote themselves full-time to their research projects without undertaking other major activities.

Mellon fellows will receive a stipend in the amount of $17,500; lunch on weekdays; and the health insurance contribution from Dumbarton Oaks. Fellows will also be offered a housing allowance ($3,000/month); successful applicants from the greater Washington metropolitan area will not be offered a housing allowance. Fellows may also be offered reimbursement for travel expenses directly associated with taking up the fellowship (lowest available economy airfare, rail travel, or mileage if less than the equivalent economy airfare), up to a maximum of $1,100 for domestic travel or $1,600 for international travel, if support cannot be obtained from other sources. Reimbursement of visa fees is provided for Fellows, but not for dependents. Dumbarton Oaks anticipates that sabbatical salary or funds from other sources may supplement awards. Fellows may hold other grants with the knowledge and permission of both the grantors and Dumbarton Oaks.

Field Research Fund

Additional travel funds, for travel up to one month, are available to Mellon Fellows to conduct field research directly related to the fellowship project before or after the period of the fellowship. Each fellow may request up to $5,000. A supplemental application is required, which should be uploaded, as a separate attachment, in section 8 of the online application. The request, which may be in narrative form, should explain the location, timing, and purpose of the proposed field research, the anticipated outcomes, the relation to the larger fellowship project, and the preparation and suitability of the applicant for the proposed research. Proposals should also include a preliminary budget and schedule of work. They will be evaluated on criteria including suitability and clarity of the research objectives, the relevance to the fellowship project, the feasibility of the budget and schedule, and the potential contribution to the field of urban landscape studies.

Funding may be used only to cover direct costs for which original documentation must be submitted at the conclusion of the project. Examples of eligible expenses include transportation (excluding students), meals, housing, vehicle rental, workmen’s wages, and technical analysis (as part of the overall project). Grants are not normally made for the purchase of computers or other equipment, or to cover the salaries of the principal investigators. Funds can only be disbursed to individuals, not academic or other institutions, and only on a reimbursement basis upon submission of receipts. A single reimbursement will be made at the conclusion of all travel and after submission of a final report (due no later than June 15th), which should include a brief narrative (250–500 words) about the outcomes of the travel along with a final accounting.


For non-U.S. citizens, Dumbarton Oaks provides J-1 visas for the term of the Fellowship appointment, as part of our U.S. Department of State-designated Exchange Visitor Program. Please be advised that scholars who have been in the United States with J status within the past 12 months may not qualify for a Dumbarton Oaks J-1 visa unless they were in the United States for a total time of less than six months. These individuals and all other non-U.S. citizens are strongly urged to check their prospective visa status for the requested period of the Fellowship prior to submitting an application.


Please read and follow the online instructions. Applications, to be written in English, must be submitted electronically by February 1, 2017. Three letters of recommendation are required for all applicants. Late applications will not be accepted. Awards will be announced in April. An external committee of scholars and practitioners in related fields decide the awards. Individuals currently affiliated with Dumbarton Oaks are not eligible for the fellowship program. Please note that five years must elapse between the end of a Dumbarton Oaks Fellowship term and appointment to a Mellon Fellowship. Three years must elapse between the end of a Summer Fellowship term and appointment to a Mellon Fellowship. Two years must elapse between the end of a One-Month Research Stipend and appointment to a Mellon Fellowship.

Any questions related to the Mellon Fellowship Program or to the suitability of proposed fellowship applications should be directed to For questions about applications or visas, please contact the Fellowship Program Coordinator at

To APPLY click "Further official information" below.

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