Request for Applications: Two Archival Fellowships | Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta (CLOSED)

India Foundation for the Arts
in collaboration with the
Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta

invites applications for

Two Archival Fellowships
Application deadline: Tuesday, May 15, 2018

This initiative is supported by TATA TRUSTS

India Foundation for the Arts (IFA) in collaboration with the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta (CSSSC) invites applications for Two Archival Fellowships under the IFA Archival and Museum Fellowships initiative for a period of one year, to support art practitioners and researchers to work with the different kinds of textual and visual material in the CSSSC Archive.

The Archival and Museum Fellowships of IFA have been initiated with the two-fold objective of providing arts practitioners and researchers with an opportunity to generate new, critical, and creative approaches to public engagement with collections in archives and museums, and to energise these spaces as platforms for dialogue and discourse. For more information, click here

About the IFA-CSSSC Fellowships:
Two Fellowships will be awarded for affiliation with the CSSSC Archive. The purpose is to provide art practitioners and researchers, with the opportunity to engage with the CSSSC archival collection in innovative and original ways, towards tangible outcomes such as an exhibition, film, or, performance at the end of the fellowship period. In addition to these outcomes, other expected outcomes should include about four curated public events such as talks and workshops themed around the material in the archival collection, during the fellowship period.

1. One Fellowship will be open primarily to art practitioners, and the intended project can cover any aspect of the large and diverse collection of the CSSSC Archive. Preference will be given to projects that promise to delve into the following - (i) the archive's collection of commercial art and advertising (ii) the archive's multi-genre photographic collections (iii) material relating to the histories of music and performance in the Archive.

2. One Fellowship will be open primarily to applicants with academic and research backgrounds, and the intended project will be encouraged to work with any one of the following aspects of the CSSSC Archive - (i) the sphere of private collecting and private collections of scholars and artists, from which the CSSSC Archive and special collections have emerged (ii) the urban and municipal history of 20th century Calcutta, that can be developed from the digitised records of the Kolkata Improvement Trust, that has freshly come into the Archive.

The recipients of both Fellowships will be required to spend a significant period of time at the CSSSC Archive.

About the CSSSC Archive:
The CSSSC Archive began in 1993 with the main purpose of microfilming a series of 19th and 20th century Bengali periodicals which were languishing in several library holdings. The interest in accessing a parallel body of pictorial and photographic genres from the same region and period led to the forming of a complimentary visual archive in 1996, with funding from IFA. The visual archive aimed to document, catalogue, and collate the scattered collections of various individuals, families, printing firms or small institutions, and trusts. The spread of the material the archive documented over the years has been defined by the collections it has accessed, bringing together an eclectic mix of pictorial, graphic, and photographic images, from an assortment of private and public collections in the city of Kolkata.

A wide variety of visual genres of 19th and 20th century Bengal are housed in the cultural history Archive of the CSSSC. This comprises a range of cultural products - illustrated books and journals; popular paintings and prints; posters and hoardings; cover designs, advertisements and commercial art productions; images from modern art, cinema and theatre; and last but not the least, changing forms of photography, both amateur and professional.

This collection offers interesting material on the manifold visual cultures of Bengal for the art practitioner, curator, or, researcher to re-visit, re-examine, and re-present anew in multiple and varied contexts. Such an archive of cultural productions of the past one and a half centuries has shown immense potential in facilitating new kinds of research and creative projects.

For more information on the background and history of the Archive, please visit

For more information about the CSSSC Archive, please contact Kamalika Mukherjee at

Applicant profile:
We seek applications from creative practitioners and academic researchers with previous curatorial experience and a strong interest in research and working with archives.

Practitioners who are Indian nationals or have been residents of India for five or more years are eligible to apply. To know more about our eligibility criteria please click here

Financial assistance and other support:
Each Fellowship provides an honorarium of Rs 2,00,000/- for the duration of one year along with access to research facilities within the CSSSC Archive. In addition, a work space will be provided by the CSSSC during this period, along with the opportunity to interact with the students and faculty at the Centre.

A separate budget will be provided for the final outcome.

Important dates:

  • The deadline for receiving applications is Tuesday, May 04, 2018.
  • Shortlisted candidates will be informed by end-May 2018.
  • Interviews with shortlisted candidates are expected to take place in Kolkata around the first week of June, 2018.
  • The Fellowship will commence from June 25, 2018 for a period of one year.

Application Process:
Your application must include:

  • A brief description of an exhibition you can develop from the collection at the Archive. The description should include your vision, approach, and possible outcomes of the programmes. The intention is to give us an idea on how you would like to approach this project.
  • A brief note on the public activities you could potentially develop from the collection at the Archive.
  • A letter of interest explaining how you would benefit from this Archival Fellowship. Please identify aspects of your practice and research that you think will be honed and developed during the course of the Fellowship.
  • A brief description of a project you have been involved with either as a curator, arts practitioner, or, researcher. This description should include the vision, approach, processes, and outcomes that have resulted from that project. This will need to be accompanied by the documentation of the project, which could include six to eight scanned or printed images with titles and date, DVD (maximum duration of four minutes), catalogues, artworks, performances, or reviews.
  • Your curriculum vitae.

Please address the soft copy of your application or any queries to Suman Gopinath at

Please also post the required documents in an envelope marked 'IFA-CSSSC Archival Fellowship' by Tuesday, May 04, 2018.

'IFA-CSSSC Archival Fellowship'
India Foundation for the Arts
'Apurva', Ground Floor,
No 259, 4th Cross, RMV 2nd Stage, 2nd Block
Bangalore - 560 094