CLIR Receives $2.01 Million Mellon Foundation Grant to Extend Data Curation Fellowships in African American and African Studies

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded CLIR $2.01 million to extend Data Curation Fellowships in African American and African Studies. This funding will support current fellows whose work has been negatively affected by the global pandemic by enabling them to extend their time at host institutions by up to two additional years.

The CLIR Postdoctoral Fellowships in Data Curation for African American and African Studies are part of CLIR’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, which offers recent Ph.D. graduates the chance to develop research tools, resources, and services while exploring new career opportunities. CLIR Postdoctoral Fellows work on projects that forge and strengthen connections among collections, educational technologies, and current research. CLIR launched its Postdoctoral Fellowship Program in 2004 and has placed 215 fellows at 93 host institutions across the United States, Canada, and Hong Kong. CLIR created the Fellowships in Data Curation for African American and African Studies in recognition of the need for greater public access to well-curated data from and about Black histories, cultures, and experiences.

Fellows’ supervisors recognized early in spring 2020 that the COVID-19 pandemic presents numerous obstacles for the fellows’ work. Travel restrictions and social distancing impacted collaborative partnerships and made it challenging to promote fellows’ work in traditional venues. Implementing new practices and infrastructures while working from home has taken extensive adjustment and reassessment of priorities. Additionally, uncertainty about the future of higher education has left fellows and their projects without sources of support for building their post-fellowship careers.

The two-year extensions will give institutions and fellows the needed time to meet their fellowships’ original goals. They will also provide time for fellows and host institutions to reflect upon the lasting impacts of the events of 2020 on research institutions, libraries, archives, and museums, adapting and expanding their projects to pursue emerging interests.

CLIR is an independent, nonprofit organization that forges strategies to enhance research, teaching, and learning environments in collaboration with libraries, cultural institutions, and communities of higher learning. In pursuing its mission, CLIR is committed to capitalizing on strategic opportunities, building trust, and cultivating effective leadership.

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