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Program Overview

 

The Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics (The Lab) invites applications for the 2020-2021 cohort of its Fellows Program. The Lab’s mission is to humanize global politics through the power of performance. To this end, applications are welcomed from performing artists who also define themselves as community-based and/or globally-minded activists, educators, or policymakers working at the intersection of performance and politics/social justice. 

The Fellows Program is an 18-month, transnational residency that connects Fellows to a community of peers, fosters collaboration, and inspires intersectional and international dialogue. Through the Fellows Program, The Lab nurtures novel artistic approaches and ways of thinking about how the arts engage critical social issues. Lab Fellows learn from each other, and grow both as individuals and as a  group through the course of the Fellowship; new works and collaborations may develop along the way. Ultimately, the Fellowship contributes to the foundation of artists working at the intersection of politics and performance around the world. 

Fellows will join an intimate community of like-minded peers and groundbreaking artist-activists from around the globe whose work engages the most pressing issues of our time. At the same time, Fellows will be able to build relationships with Lab staff that facilitate the Fellows Program, including: Lab Co-Founding Directors Derek Goldman (professor of theater/performance studies at Georgetown University) and Cynthia Schneider (former US Ambassador to the Netherlands), as well as Lab Fellows Program Managers Emma Jaster (international theatre and movement practitioner) and Asif Majid (community-based theatre-maker/musician and Inaugural Lab Fellow). Thus, the Program brings together artists from across cultural, geographic, disciplinary, and generational boundaries to cultivate interdisciplinary conversation and sharing of practice. It is an opportunity to connect with and become part of an expansive global community of emerging and promising artists, thinkers, and leaders who are both deeply engaged in their communities and internationally oriented. 

Central to The Lab’s conception of the Fellows Program is a commitment to radical diversity, in many forms. The first, recently completed Lab Fellows cohort consisted of ten pathbreaking artists who exemplify this diversity in geography, socioeconomic status, race, religion, gender, sexual preference, national origin, politics, and so on. Fellows hailed from Cambodia, Colombia, Palestine, Syria, the US, Zimbabwe, and elsewhere. They are actors, directors, writers, clowns, scholars, producers, activists, dramaturgs, educators, and community leaders, all of whom hold a range of complex identities as artists, activists, professionals, and people. Fellows from this cohort, regardless of diversity of background and artistic practice, have experienced their Fellowship as membership in a second family. These inaugural Fellows will remain engaged in the next iteration of the Fellows program.

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“Being one of the Lab Fellows means so much to me – as an artist, as a Syrian woman, and as a refugee. This is an amazing group of people, and I’m so proud to be one of them. We are more than friends, we’ve been united under the name of humanity, culture, and art, a connection that eclipses the different places we’re from. These are relationships that will last forever.” – Reem Alsayyah, Lab Fellow 

Watch these videos for more information on the Fellows Program.

Program Specifics

 

1. Monthly virtual meetings

All Fellows are required to attend 90-minute virtual meetings via Zoom, hosted monthly over the course of the Fellowship. Exact dates and times will be determined by January 2020 in advance of the Fellowship start date. Fellows must commit to attending every meeting. Each virtual meeting will be centered around a theme and may involve guest speakers from The Lab’s expansive network of leading artists and changemakers, and each Fellow will be asked to lead a discussion for part of one meeting. Note: High speed internet is necessary to connect to Zoom.

 

2.Annual in-person convenings (two total)

All Fellows will attend a weeklong in-person convening during the summer of 2020 and a second one during late spring of 2021. Travel and accommodation for both of these convenings will be fully funded. These convenings will bring Fellows together in a rigorous and intensive environment, with programming that addresses the issues and challenges they are facing in their own work. 

The first convening will be in partnership with La MaMa Umbria in Umbria, Italy in late June/early July 2020. Fellows will participate in workshops, attend performances, and lead/contribute to discussions associated with the development of new theatre, performance, and art. Each Fellow will be required to attend the Umbria gathering, as well as write a short reflection piece on their experience.

A second in-person convening will take place in spring 2021, in association with The Lab’s CrossCurrents Festival in Washington, DC, and its culminating event The Gathering. Fellows will have the opportunity to showcase their work and to play a leadership role in this event. Details about this convening will be shared with Fellows as the dates approach.

 

3. Access to funds 

During the program, each Fellow can request up to $2,500 annually in funds from The Lab to support a range of activities. Fellows can propose to use funds for: travel to attend conferences and residencies, involvement in research trips and festivals, new collaborations with other Fellows, the development of individual work, or other relevant activities. Fellows are responsible for reporting to The Lab on these funded activities, including in the form of blog posts or other written reports.

 

4. Attending and/or participating in Lab events

Fellows are encouraged and welcomed to interact with Lab programming held at Georgetown and around the world, including productions, workshops, residencies, co-produced events, the International Theatre Institute’s World Congress, the Edinburgh International Culture Summit, and more. The Lab prioritizes opportunities for Fellows to participate in and have access to these projects and artists, whether as active collaborators, assistants/associates, or observers. Participation is not required and will depend on Fellows’ individual availability. The inaugural cohort of Fellows developed numerous collaborative projects among the Fellows, often working not only across cultural borders but also across disciplines and genres in exciting and new configurations. This kind of collaboration among Fellows is strongly encouraged.   

How to Apply 

 

All applicants should complete the online application form, found here, by the application deadline of December 27, 2019. A PDF of the application questions can be found hereNote: We strongly suggest preparing your application in a separate document and then pasting responses into the online application, as there is no option to save your application and return to it at a later time.

After reviewing applications, Lab staff may request additional information from applicants. Finalists for the Fellowship will be invited for phone or Zoom interviews in early January 2020. All applicants will be notified by the end of January 2020. Public announcement of the new class of Fellows will occur in February 2020, and the Fellowship will take place from February 2020-June 2021.

Any questions should be directed to labfellowship@gmail.com

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About The Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics

 

The Lab harnesses the power of performance to humanize global politics. We believe that theater can be spectacularly good at countering polarization through the empathy it enables in a live communal setting, and through its capacity to humanize others.

The Lab creates and presents innovative high-quality work from around the world that is at the intersection of politics and performance. Our signature approach raises voices rarely heard in Washington, DC through compelling, authentic narratives, and engages policymakers, as well as artists, students, and wider audiences in forums that cast critical issues in a new light.

In this time of increased polarization, division, conflict, and lack of understanding between peoples and cultures, the need to bridge differences and to understand each other in human terms is greater than ever before. Refugee and migration issues, environmental and climate challenges, widening disparities and the rise of racism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, and prejudice of all kinds, all present problems that challenge the reach of traditional policy approaches. The time is overdue to develop a more humanistic approach to political and international affairs, one grounded in empathy and a sense of our common humanity.