Fulbright–National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship
The Fulbright-National Geographic Storytelling Fellowship, a component of the Fulbright US Student Program, provides opportunities for US citizens to participate in an academic year of overseas travel and storytelling in one, two, or three countries on a globally significant theme. This fellowship is made possible through a partnership between the US Department of State and the National Geographic Society. Storytellers publish stories on the Fulbright-National Geographic Stories blog.
The wide variety of new digital media tools and platforms has created an unprecedented opportunity for people from all disciplines and backgrounds to share observations and personal narratives with global audiences online. These storytelling tools are powerful resources as we seek to expand our knowledge of pressing global issues and build ties across cultures.
For the 2017-18 competition, the Fulbright-National Geographic Storytelling Fellowship will accept proposals to undertake an in-depth examination of a globally relevant issue. Multi-country projects will compare and contrast how an issue or set of issues is experienced across borders. Utilizing a variety of storytelling tools—including text, photography, video, audio/podcasts, public speaking, maps, graphic illustrations, and/or social media—awardees will share their stories, and the stories of those they meet, and publish their work on National Geographic platforms, including a dedicated program blog. Stories deemed by National Geographic to be of interest or merit may be considered for publication on other National Geographic platforms.
In addition to receiving Fulbright benefits (for travel, stipend, health, etc.), and materials and reporting special allowance, Storytellers will receive instruction in story-telling techniques, including effective blog writing, video production, photography, and other relevant training by National Geographic staff prior to their departure. National Geographic will also provide editorial mentorship for Storytellers during their Fulbright grant period. Storytellers will provide material for the National Geographic website on a frequent and ongoing basis throughout their grant term.
Applications for the 2017-2018 academic year will be accepted (deadline October 11, 2016), for the following themes:
- Our Human Story
- Themes: Culture/Geopolitics, Contemporary Social Issues, Democracy and Human Rights, Religious Freedom
- Critical Species
- Themes: Conservation of Species, Extinction
- New Frontiers
- Themes: Innovations in areas of Health, Medicine, Technology, Energy, Economic Development/Prosperity
US citizens of all ages and from all backgrounds are eligible to apply. Applicants may come from a broad range of fields, a variety of academic and professional backgrounds, and have diverse storytelling experiences. Candidates must have completed at least an undergraduate degree by the commencement of the program but may not hold a PhD at the time of application. The ideal candidate will have a demonstrated talent for storytelling (including but not limited to publications in print, online or multimedia platforms) and an academic or professional background relevant to their proposed project.
Preference will be given to candidates with demonstrated experience and talent in storytelling. Candidates must have completed at least an undergraduate degree by the commencement of the Fulbright award.
There are many definitions of Digital Storytelling. For the purpose of the Fulbright-National Geographic Storytelling Fellowship, it describes the practice of using digital tools to tell a story. Storytellers may produce stories that may utilize or combine text, photography, video, audio, graphic illustrations, and/or social media for the purpose of producing content suitable for a National Geographic blog. Their stories may also be disseminated through National Geographic Society and US Department of State online platforms and associated social networking sites. National Geographic will provide training for participants and National Geographic editors will mentor and support Storytellers as they produce stories throughout their grant period. Applicants should highlight their experience with digital storytelling as it relates to their proposed project and need not be an expert in multiple digital mediums to be selected.
All application materials for the 2017-2018 award, including academic transcripts and letters of reference must be submitted in the Embark Online Application and Reference System by October 11, 2016 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Hard copy submissions will not be accepted.
Please review the instructions thoroughly before beginning the Embark online application as the application components are distinct from the general application. Because of grant start dates, Fulbright-National Geographic Storytellers are not eligible for Critical language Enhancement Awards.
Please carefully review the following as the requirements differ from those of the traditional Fulbright grant:
Applicants must select “Academic” in the Grant Category section of the application and select “Fulbright-National Geographic Fellowship” in the Award Name field.
Fulbright-National Geographic applicants with questions should email Susan Muendl at email@example.com.
Previous Fulbright-National Geographic Fellow in Indonesia
The Fulbright-National Geographic Fellowship Program only began in 2014. Only a few grants are awarded annually for this highly competitive award. Indonesia hosted one NatGeo Fellow in the 2015-2016 competition, Christina Leigh Geros. She is a designer, researcher, and educator who used videographic, photographic, and written narrative to give voice to the communities along the Ciliwung River in Jakarta, and through an interactive website, cartographically registered each story and exposed the relationships between urbanism, ecology, and politics.