The 2023 Forge Project Fellowship is now closed. The 2024 open call will be announced early next year.
Forge Project, a Native-led arts and decolonial education initiative on the unceded homelands of the Muh-he-con-ne-ok in Upstate New York, is pleased to announce its open call for applications for its 2023 funded fellowship program for Indigenous artists, scholars, organizers, cultural workers, researchers, and educators.
About the Fellowship
Forge Project is seeking a 2023 cohort of six Indigenous individuals that represent a broad diversity of cultural practices, participatory research, organizing models, and geographical contexts that honor Indigenous pasts as well as build Native futures.
Two of these Fellowships will be awarded to members of the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians in recognition of the peoples whose homelands Forge Project is situated within and to encourage site-specific and relational projects. Each Forge Project Fellow will receive a total of $25,000 toward their practice and will have full access to the Forge Project site, libraries, and lending collection of living Indigenous artists during a residency stay of up to three weeks.
The Forge Project space consists of two structures designed by Ai Weiwei in collaboration with HHF Architects. The larger of the two buildings consists of four equal-sized boxes, where Forge Project hosts its public programming, including special-topic talks with Fellows. Parallel to the main building is a Y-shaped building; the upper floor features a circular skylight that illuminates a central art gallery, and houses a fluid living and studio space for Fellows.
2023 Fellows will have the opportunity to present their work to the local Forge Project audience on site as well as a wider international audience via social media. Fellows will work one-on-one with Curator of Indigenous Programs & Community Engagement Sarah Biscarra Dilley (Northern Chumash) to develop public programming, to make connections and build contacts, and for mentorship or support during their stay.
A: We designed this fellowship for Indigenous individuals working to honor Indigenous pasts as well as build Native futures, and this eligibility requirement is intended to ensure that this is who the fellowship serves. While we do not seek to be gatekeepers of Indigeneity, Forge Project recognizes that we are working within the limits of oppressive systems—including consumptive logics of white supremacy and capitalism—that operate with repressive boundaries and entangle choices that are antithetical to our overall mission.
This year, the eligibility requirements have been expanded to include members of state recognized tribes as well as existing eligibility for members of federally recognized tribes, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian peoples, and First Nations, Métis, and Inuit. We recognize that there are many distinct political realities that impact who is included within these designations and are actively working toward expanding access that is aligned with these lived experiences and tribal sovereignty.
We welcome feedback on how our application process can be more accessible and legible beyond the structures of occupying state(s), as well as firmly accountable to the relational and political practices of Indigeneity, kinship, and belonging. The first part of the application includes space for feedback—if you have the capacity and interest, please consider including information on your tribal community’s unique political and social context to better support inclusion and nuance in future applications and residency guidelines.
A: Applicants must be an enrolled member or citizen of a state or federally recognized American Indian tribe or Alaska Native corporation, or of Native Hawaiian ancestry, a Canadian First Nations (status or non-status), Metis or Inuit to apply for the 2023 Forge Project Fellowship. Applicants may be asked to provide documentation of their Native citizenship or ancestry to confirm eligibility. At least two Fellows will come from the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians.
A: If you are mixed-race and also meet the qualifications above, then you are eligible to apply.
A: Our eligibility requirement is to be enrolled in a state or federally recognized tribe. We encourage you to fill out the first part of the application, which provides space for feedback and will allow us to assess our application guidelines for next year.
A: Unfortunately, at this time, we are limiting the fellowship to individuals enrolled in Indigenous nations occupied by the United States and Canada. We encourage you to fill out the first part of the application, which provides space for feedback and will allow us to assess our application guidelines for next year.
A: Fellows are invited to stay in residence at Forge for up to three weeks to make use of the studio, library, and lending collection and be on the land. We also understand that many of our fellows have full-time careers, families, and other responsibilities. Forge’s Curator of Indigenous Programs & Community Engagement Sarah Biscarra Dilley (yaktitʸutitʸu yaktiłhini [Northern Chumash]) will work with fellows to determine residency dates that work best for them.
A: Each Forge Project Fellow will receive $25,000 USD toward their practice and will have full access to the Forge Project site, libraries, and lending collection of living Indigenous artists during their fellowship. 2023 Fellows will also have the opportunity to present their work to the local Forge Project audience on site as well as a wider international audience via social media. Forge covers return travel, local transportation, accommodations, and all meals while fellows are in residence.
The cash award is unrestricted and can be used however you wish. Please note that this award is considered taxable income by the IRS.
A: The Forge Project fellowship is intended to support Indigenous cultural workers broadly. The Fellowship supports artists, writers, musicians, scholars, organizers, activists, researchers, cultural practitioners, educators, and others who represent a diversity of expertise, participatory research and organizing models, and geographic contexts.
A: The Forge Project fellowship does not require you to have a specific project in mind. You can apply with a project, a goal, or simply use the time to deepen your practice.
The Stockbridge-Munsee Community Fellowship does require that you apply with a specific project in mind that furthers the initiatives of the Cultural Affairs Department at Stockbridge-Munsee Community. For more information about the Cultural Affairs Department, please visit their website.
Stockbridge-Munsee tribal members are also welcome to apply without a project proposal. In this case these applications will be evaluated as part of the 2023 Forge Fellowship but will not be considered for the Stockbridge-Munsee Community Fellowship. Please review the application guidelines for more information.
A: Two letters are required from your references. Submittable will send an email with the contact information that you provide to each of your references, who can then upload their reference letters directly to Submittable. Applications without letters of recommendation will be considered incomplete. Please note that all letters of reference must be received in Submittable on the application due date of Wednesday, February 15, 2023, by 11:59 PM EST.
A: No. The 2023 Forge Project Fellowship will be reviewed by a panel of five distinguished jurists.
A: No. The 2023 Stockbridge-Munsee Community Fellowship is reviewed by a panel of three distinguished jurists, one of whom is a member of Stockbridge-Munsee Community.
A: Feel free to reach out to Curator of Indigenous Programs & Community Engagement Sarah Biscarra Dilley (yaktitʸutitʸu yaktiłhini [Northern Chumash]) at email@example.com or Editorial Projects Manager Frances Cathryn at firstname.lastname@example.org for one-on-one guidance. Forge Project is also hosting an information webinar Monday, January 20, at 6:30 PM ET via Zoom for a general overview of the process, what we’re looking for in an application, a quick statement writing how-to, plus an open Q&A to answer all your questions. Register online here.
A: Please email email@example.com with any other questions. Forge Project is also hosting an information webinar Monday, January 20, at 6:30 PM via Zoom for a general overview of the process plus an open Q&A to answer all your questions. Register online here.
The 2022 Forge Project Fellows are Catherine Blackburn (Dene); Laura Ortman (White Mountain Apache); Rainer Posselt (Stockbridge Munsee Band of Mohicans); Sara Siestreem (Hanis Coos of The Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians); Tania Willard (Secwepemc Nation); and Ilegvak, Peter Williams (Yup'ik).
The Forge Project Fellowship 2022 applications were reviewed by a juried panel of six distinguished Native scholars, artists, writers, and former Fellows: Misty Cook, Sky Hopinka, Dr. Rose Miron, Dr. Jolene Rickard, Dr. Meranda Roberts, and Dr. Anton Treuer.
Catherine Blackburn was born in Patuanak, Saskatchewan, of Dene and European ancestry and is a member of the English River First Nation. She is a multidisciplinary artist and jeweler, whose common themes address Canada's colonial past that are often prompted by personal narratives. Inspired by her late Setsuné’s (grandmother) incredible talent of garment making, hide-tanning, and adornment, her work grounds itself in the Indigenous feminine and is bound through the ancestral love that stitching suggests. Through stitchwork, she honors her cultural history, using these techniques and materials as “storiers” while challenging perspectives of contemporary Indigenous experience.
A soloist musician, composer and vibrant collaborator, Laura Ortman (White Mountain Apache) creates across multiple platforms, including recorded albums, live performances, and filmic and artistic soundtracks. She has collaborated with artists such as Tony Conrad, Jock Soto, Raven Chacon, Nanobah Becker, Okkyung Lee, Martin Bisi, Jeffrey Gibson, Caroline Monnet, Tanya Lukin Linklater, Martha Colburn, and In Defense of Memory. An inquisitive and exquisite violinist, Ortman is versed in Apache violin, piano, electric guitar, keyboards, and amplified violin, often sings through a megaphone, and is a producer of capacious field recordings.
She has performed at The Whitney Museum of American Art and The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal, The Stone residency, The New Museum, imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, The Toronto Biennial, and the Centre Pompidou, Paris, among countless established and DIY venues in the US, Canada, and Europe. In 2008 Ortman founded the Coast Orchestra, an all-Native American orchestral ensemble that performed a live soundtrack to Edward Curtis’s film In the Land of the Head Hunters (1914), the first silent feature film to star an all-Native American cast. Ortman is the recipient of the 2022 United States Artists Fellowship, 2022 Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists, 2020 Jerome@Camargo Residency in Cassis, France, 2017 Jerome Foundation Composer and Sound Artist Fellowship, 2016 Art Matters Grant, 2016 Native Arts and Culture Foundation Fellowship, 2015 IAIA’s Museum of Contemporary Native Arts Social Engagement Residency, 2014-15 Rauschenberg Residency, and 2010 Artist-in-Residence at Issue Project Room. She was also a participating artist in the 2019 Whitney Biennial. Ortman lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Rainer Posselt (Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians) has worked with Native youth, food-sovereignty initiatives, and currently works in public and mental health, including conducting various community needs assessments for the Menominee tribal epidemiology department and for the urban Indian community in Milwaukee. He designs and administers surveys, conducts focus groups, and examines epidemiological data to identify current mental health services needs for Native people in Milwaukee. Posselt's Master’s thesis will examine how historic trauma has affected the attachment patterns of Native American adults. This theoretical relationship has never been quantitatively examined with regards to Native American historical trauma. His study aims to elucidate some of the relationships between historical trauma and how it is transmitted by demonstrating that a high burden of historical trauma cognitions and related symptoms result in the development of anxiety or avoidant attachment within members of Indigenous communities.
Sara Siestreem (Hanis Coos) is a multi-disciplinary artist from the South Coast of Oregon, whose practice includes painting, photography, printmaking, weaving, and large-scale installation. Her work also branches into education and institutional reform. Siestreem created a weaving program for the Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw people and teaches collegiate studio arts and theory at PNCA and MFA program at the Institute for American Indian Art.
Her work has been exhibited at Museum of Northwest Art, Missoula Art Museum, Hallie Ford Museum, Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, The Whatcom Museum of Arts, The University of Oregon Museum of Natural and Cultural History, the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts, The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, The Evergreen Longhouse, Spaceworks Gallery, Crossroads Carnegie Arts Center and many others. Her work figures in public and private collections internationally.
Tania Willard (Secwepemc Nation and settler heritage) works within the shifting ideas around contemporary and traditional as it relates to Indigenous art, often working with bodies of knowledge and skills that are conceptually linked to her interest in intersections between Indigenous and other cultures. Willard has worked as an artist in residence with Gallery Gachet in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, the Banff Centre's visual arts residencies, fiction and Trading Post, and as a curator in residence with grunt gallery and Kamloops Art Gallery. Willard’s curatorial work includes Beat Nation: Art Hip Hop and Aboriginal Culture (2012-2014), co-curated with Kathleen Ritter, Vancouver Art Gallery (and national tour), featuring 27 contemporary Indigenous artists. Most recently she was one of a team of co-curators for Exposure: Native Art and Political Ecology at the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, Santa Fe, NM (2021). In 2016 Willard received the Award for Curatorial Excellence in Contemporary Art from the Hanatyshyn Foundation as well as a City of Vancouver Book Award for the catalogue for the exhibition, Unceded Territories: Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun. Willard's ongoing collaborative project BUSH gallery, is a conceptual land-based gallery grounded in Indigenous knowledges and relational art practices. Willard is an Assistant Professor at University of British Columbia Okanagan in Syilx territories (Kelowna, BC).
Ilegvak, Peter Williams (Yup’ik) is a culture bearer, artist, designer, filmmaker, and educator based in Sheet'ká (Sitka), Alaska. His hand-sewn works repurpose skin from self-harvested traditional foods, bridging worlds of Indigenous art, fashion, and subsistence. Ilegvak completed artist residencies at Santa Fe Art Institute and Institute of American Indian Arts, and has guest lectured and/or taught skin sewing at Yale University, Stanford University, UCLA, Portland Art Museum, and Alaska State Museum, among others. His art has been shown at museums and galleries across North America. His presentations at New York Fashion Week and Fashion Week Brooklyn in 2015 and 2016 led to profiles in The Guardian and The New York Times. He produced the documentary Harvest:Quyurciq, which received a Native Peoples Action project grant. In 2018-2020 Ilegvak became a Cultural Capital Fellow, a Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellow, and received an Individual Artist Award Project Grant from Rasmuson Foundation. In 2021 he received an NDN Collective Radical Imagination Grant and, in 2022, United States Artists Fellowship. Ilegvak's professional and personal work is increasingly focused on climate change and its disproportionate effects on Indigenous peoples.
Forge Project's annual fellowship launched with a cohort of four individuals selected by Heather Bruegl (Oneida/Stockbridge-Munsee). In addition to direct financial support, fellows will make use of the Forge Project property to devote time to their practice. The inaugural Forge Project Fellows are Chris T Cornelius (Oneida), Sky Hopinka (Ho-Chunk Nation/Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians), Jasmine Neosh (Menominee), and Brock Schreiber (Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohicans).
Jasmine Neosh (Menominee), is a writer, student researcher, and advocate for environmental justice, Indigenous sovereignty, climate change education and culturally-informed, place-based sustainability. She is currently working on a field guide to restore knowledge loss surrounding food systems and native plants.
Brock Schreiber is a member of the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohicans. He’s a student and teacher of Mã’eekuneeweexthowãakun. He writes books for children to inspire their imaginations. When he's not trekking in the wilderness with his family, he’s fulfilling his responsibilities as a Tribal Council Member. He grew up on the Stockbridge-Munsee Reservation in rural Wisconsin, where he and his wife are now raising their beautiful children.
Sky Hopinka (Ho-Chunk Nation/Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians) was born and raised in Ferndale, Washington and spent a number of years in Palm Springs and Riverside, CA, Portland, OR, and Milwaukee, WI. In Portland he studied and taught chinuk wawa, a language indigenous to the Lower Columbia River Basin. His video, photo, and text work centers around personal positions of Indigenous homeland and landscape, designs of language as containers of culture expressed through personal, documentary, and non-fictional forms of media. He received his BA from Portland State University in Liberal Arts and his MFA in Film, Video, Animation, and New Genres from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and teaches at Bard College.
His work has played at various festivals including ImagineNATIVE Media + Arts Festival, Images, Wavelengths, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Sundance, and Projections. His work was a part of the 2016 Wisconsin Triennial and the 2017 Whitney Biennial and the 2018 FRONT Triennial. He was a guest curator at the 2019 Whitney Biennial and was a part of Cosmopolis #2 at the Centre Pompidou. He was awarded jury prizes at the Onion City Film Festival, the More with Less Award at the 2016 Images Festival, the Tom Berman Award for Most Promising Filmmaker at the 54th Ann Arbor Film Festival, the New Cinema Award at the Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival and the Mary L. Nohl Fund Fellowship for Individual Artists in the Emerging artist category for 2018. He was a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University in 2018–2019 and Sundance Art of Nonfiction Fellow for 2019, and is a 2020 Guggenheim Fellow.
Chris Cornelius is a citizen of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin and an Associate Professor of Architecture at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He is the founding principal of studio:indigenous, a design practice serving Indigenous clients. Cornelius was a collaborating designer with Antoine Predock on the Indian Community School of Milwaukee. Chris is the recipient of numerous awards and honors. Including the inaugural Miller Prize from Exhibit Columbus, a 2018 Architect’s Newspaper Best of Design Award, and an Artist residency from the National Museum of the American Indian. Chris has been exhibited widely including the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale. Cornelius is the Spring 2021, Louis I. Kahn Visiting Assistant Professor at Yale University.