A FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM FOR EARLY-CAREER ARTISTS
Today’s art landscape requires dance makers to expertly wear many hats — not only developing a vision for their craft, but also coordinating with collaborators and spaces, raising funds to support their projects, learning how best to promote their work to audiences, and more. It’s an incredibly challenging balance between art-making and administrative responsibilities, especially as an early-career artist who’s still growing a support network, and even more so for those with voices that are underrepresented in the field, combating deeply rooted, inequitable systems. The Radiate Fellowship supports a small cohort of early career BIPOC dance makers through an 18-month paid opportunity as they pursue their own journeys and goals (artistic, administrative, activist, and any permutation in between) by expanding resources, emphasizing relationship building, and providing a mindful structure for explorations and discovery.
I felt so supported throughout the duration of the Radiate Fellowship. As a dancer creating my own work, the path can feel lonely and overwhelming at times. Coming away from this fellowship, I feel more ready to lay the foundations for the next phase of my practice and am grateful for the new relationships of care I have with my fellow Fellows and RAWdance. – Johnny Huy Nguyen, Radiate pilot Fellow
The fellowship gave me the time/resources to identify the next steps in my dance career while helping me find ways to strive for sustainability through all my choices. It was also deeply inspiring to work alongside other talented artists and learn what dance work and collaboration can look like in different capacities. – Saharla Vetsch, Radiate pilot Fellow
- The 2nd fellowship period runs from October 2023 to March 2025.
- Each Fellow receives a $4,500 honorarium to participate in the program and to support their art-making as they see fit.
- Each experience in the program is designed by the Fellow to serve their specific needs, with support from the TEAM at RAWdance.
- RAWdance’s Co-Artistic Directors serve as facilitators/connectors along with our Managing Director and the company’s extended family/network of collaborators, advisors, donors, dancers, etc.
- Fellows outline specific objectives (that evolve over the course of the fellowship) to guide their individualized fellowship experience.
- Fellows commit to participating in the sessions below.
- Monthly, individual 1hr calls with the Artistic Directors
- 1.5hr sessions every other month as a cohort
- A public presentation towards the end of the fellowship period
- Three social media takeovers for each Fellow to share about themselves and whatever they’re working on and/or thinking about
- RAWdance commits to creating a mindful container for Fellows to work within that will incorporate collaborative pathways to share space and feedback. Among other elements, this includes creating a community agreement as a group. Guest BIPOC arts leaders are invited to engage with the program throughout the experience.
- There is a designated third-party individual, outside of RAWdance’s staff, available for Fellows to express any feedback that should be addressed during the fellowship period, should the need arise.
Learn about the fellowship origins and the company
Through our company’s 19-year history, we have learned a lot about navigating the multiple roles that artists today have to play, and have built a network of peers, advisors, collaborators, donors, and dancers. The aim of this fellowship program is to create a space where these resources can be thoughtfully and impactfully shared with early-career artists. The program also aims to build a lasting support network and combat the isolation many artists feel as they tackle the challenges of carving out a space for their work.
RAWdance’s focus is to act as facilitator, assisting participating artists by listening, brainstorming, and connecting. We acknowledge the many problems of traditional, hierarchical mentorship programs, and strive to avoid replicating these models. Instead, we endeavor for a more expansive fellowship program that builds a strong relationship amongst Fellows and creates mindful spaces for partnership, questioning, feedback, and growth. To read more and understand a little bit about each of our experiences and backgrounds, check out our short bios here.
After many years in the idea stage, this fellowship took shape in 2020. Part of RAWdance’s mission is to create “programming that challenges what contemporary dance is, where it happens, who it includes, and the role it plays in our lives”. While the company had been engaging in DEI work including conversations on structural oppression, accountability, representation, evaluating aesthetic preferences, and tokenism — both internally and through work with outside equity consultants — we wanted to create more tangible action. This program is one step in our ongoing efforts to confront structural racism in the arts. We understand that much of our success and ability to maintain our company has been due to our identity as an organization led by two cisgendered white leaders, within a structure that evaluates our work from a norm/perspective of white excellence. In calling these circumstances forward, we commit as an organization to prioritizing artists who are Black, Indigenous, and people of color for this program.*
The Radiate program was shaped through the generous thoughts and feedback of many. In developing its structure, we met with peers, advisors, and artists in our community who have strong connections with early-career artists, experience with various artist fellowship programs and/or are themselves a part of the local BIPOC arts community. The original program direction and planning was undertaken in partnership with former Co-Artistic Director, Katie Wong. We would also like to acknowledge Radiate’s pilot cohort — Johnny Huy Nguyen, Jocelyn Reyes, and Saharla Vetsch — who were pivotal in shaping how the fellowship is being carried forward.
We understand our strengths and values to be:
- Collaboration as the heart of decision- and art-making
- Cultivation of genuine relationships and connections with our audience, peers, and surrounding communities
- Respect for our artists and staff
- Pushing our craft by taking risks; measuring success through the process, not the end result
- Applications for the 2023-2025 cohort are now closed.
- For reference, the 2023 application can be downloaded here. Submissions were accepted via written response or audio/video recording. Future application forms may be subject to change.
- A panel of dance makers and dancers review all applications and recommend a small group of artists to move forward in the process to Round 2. A majority of the panel will identify as BIPOC.
- Round 2 consists of an informal conversation with the Co-ADs to get to know one another better and begin to discuss specific potential objectives for the fellowship.
- Fellows will be selected following the Round 2 conversations.
- Please check back for updates on future rounds of the fellowship.
If you have questions regarding the program or the application, please feel free to contact us at FELLOWSHIP@RAWDANCE.ORG.