CCA Virtual Fellowship Program

The CCA is welcoming applications for two virtual fellowships, each held for a six-week-period, one beginning between March and May 2021 and the other between September and December 2021. The format of the fellowship supports our long-term investment in thinking through how already digitized and accessible CCA Collection material can generate new historical configurations, timely interpretations, and a broader reach within architectural research. The Virtual Fellowship Program will run alongside our Research Fellowship Program to increase the accessibility of the CCA Collection.

Building Matter

The theme for the inaugural 2021 Virtual Fellowship Program is Building Matter. It asks researchers, curators, artists, and other cultural producers to consider how architects and other designers have relied on practices of the manipulation, extraction, projection, and inhabitation of planetary matter. From the Greek classical elements of earth, air, water, and fire to chemical elements scattered across the periodic table, designers have reconfigured and shaped the compositional elements of our planet through the projective needs of building. This process has resulted in so-called new materials—from alloys to solar panels to synthetic woods—that foreground the malleability of matter and the broader consequences of a human-led manipulation of ecological systems.

Applicants are welcome to propose research projects that encompass any time period or geography, as they intersect with our Collection—from Gianni Pettena’s speculative Ice House series to the Minimum Cost Housing Group’s fabrication of concrete sulphur bricks. Projects can engage with any event, narrative, or object in which the process of building matter—architecture being made through materials, but also earthly materials made for the purposes of an architectural intervention—is opened up as contingent and historically specific.

We are interested in an array of questions:
• What constitutes an appropriate material scale of analysis for architects and architecture historians to apprehend the limits of earth-based matter?
• How do processes underlying the constitution of matter tie together disparate, often regional iterations of global design movements?
• Does matter inscribe and articulate its ecological points of origin?
• Can matter-driven architecture histories point to the limitations and harm enacted by chemical manipulation?

Application Requirements

Applicants to the Virtual Fellowship Program should undertake an initial survey of our Collection—processed archival material, Prints and Drawings, library materials, and our Photography collection—and briefly describe the specific objects they will mobilize in order to critically examine the theme of Building Matter. Fellows can put CCA Collection material into conversation with material held elsewhere, however, they should then draw connections across fonds with a view to creating a body of digitized material that will ground their research within the CCA Collection. Fellows will ultimately work in close cooperation with our reference librarians, cataloguers, and archivists to build upon their proposed project.

Applications must include:
• a written summary (500 words) addressing how the applicant will mobilize particular objects within the CCA Collection to address the theme
• a schedule of work that extends over the six-week period
• the names and contact information for two references (for shortlisted candidates)
• and a curriculum vitae (not to exceed ten pages).

Deadline: 8 February 2021 at 5pm (EST)

All applications must be submitted online through the CCA application portal.

Guidelines and Terms

In order to activate the CCA Collection at a distance, Virtual Fellows will commit to collaborate with CCA staff to refine and curate a selection of objects related to modes of elemental design and write a critical essay for the CCA website that, alongside the object selection, serves as an open-access resource for future research. Fellows will commit to working twenty-five hours per week on their project over the six-week period, for which they will each receive a CAD 5,000 honorarium, with the additional benefit of tailored research assistance provided by the CCA Collection team.

We welcome applicants working on topics that examine how design maintains ties to racialized sites and bodies, mobilizes notions of futurity premised on the resurgence of historically marginalized groups, and, more generally, demonstrates how the CCA Collection should be read intersectionally and transversally through the lens of critical historiography. We particularly encourage projects from early career researchers who hold a PhD and/or equivalent professional experience.


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