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Mellon Community Fellowships in the Digital Apothecary

The Digital Apothecary at Northwestern University directed by Dr. Moya Bailey is seeking two Community Fellows to work on a collaborative project, Labs for Liberation. Qualified candidates are activists, artists, designers, cultural workers, access workers, and community scholars who do not necessarily have a formal academic affiliation. We are specifically looking for candidates whose work addresses disability justice, design justice, Black liberation and racial justice, gender and sexuality liberation, or related areas, or who aspire to add these frameworks to their existing work.

Fellows will have established skills in a relevant area, such as creative practice, community organizing, or app design. They may or may not have an art or design practice, but should be interested in working in a collaborative setting with others towards the goal of completing a specific project. Fellows with disabilities and experience with disability justice frameworks are encouraged to apply. This is a remote position.

Community Fellows will be members of the Critical Design Lab, a multidisciplinary collaborative of disabled artists, designers, and design researchers. They will work with the Labs for Liberation team of researchers, postdoctoral fellows, community fellows, and students. Labs for Liberation is a collaborative project with Vanderbilt University’s Critical Design Lab, directed by Dr. Aimi Hamraie. This project explores the “laboratory” form and structure as a space for integrating justice-centered frameworks into research and design. It is informed by methods from disability culture and community organizing.

Compensation is $50,000 for a period between June 2024–August 2025. There is an additional project budget. The position is funded by the Mellon Foundation.

Applications are due December 1, 2023. Interested candidates should note that there are also two positions in the Critical Design Lab. Please make sure that you are applying to the lab that you feel would be the best fit for you.


Each community fellow will work on a collaborative project (“Labs for Liberation”) with the Digital Apothecary and Critical Design Labs. Over the school year, they will also:

  • Complete an independent project of their own design related to Labs for Liberation, with a personal project budget. They will receive mentorship from Hamraie, Bailey, and other team members.
  • Help organize and teach at two summer schools (June 2024 and June 2025). Summer school responsibilities include providing reading recommendations, helping to plan the syllabus, teaching daily sessions for the duration of the workshop, giving students feedback in small groups, and evaluating completed student work.
  • Attend regular (remote) meetings with a collaborative cohort of postdoctoral fellows, student researchers, and other community fellows.
  • Produce website content, such as blog posts, zines, and social media, to document their project.
  • Present their project at an end-of-year event
How to apply

Applications will be open on October 2, 2023 and will be considered until December 1, 2023.

Interested candidates should submit application materials via this form.

  • A current CV or resume outlining your relevant background and experience;
  • A cover letter addressed to Dr. Moya Bailey, which describes:
    • Why you want to work with the Digital Apothecary, including showing familiarity with the Lab’s work and stating why you think you would be a good fit;
    • How this position fits into your professional, activist, or community goals;
    • The values that inform your work or that you hope to learn to integrate through this fellowship;
    • A brief statement of the project you hope to complete during the fellowship year
  • A work/art/project sample showing documentation of something you have completed in the past and are proud of. This could be a mini-portfolio, a short narrative, a gallery of images or videos, or something else.
  • A project proposal, which outlines the specific project goals, methods, timeline, and expected outcomes.
  • A proposed budget for this project. Imagine that you have $20-30,000 to carry out your project. How would you spend this money?
  • A list of three references that will be contacted should candidates progress through the application process. Please include names, email addresses, and a description of your relationship (such as “former collaborator,” “employer,” etc.)