Fund for Ethnology in Leiden

About FEL

The Fund for Ethnology in Leiden (FEL) tries to improve our shared knowledge and awareness of the marvels of the world’s visual and material culture, and to enhance collaboration between Leiden University, National Museum for Ethnology (Museum Volkenkunde), and other international centres for the study of world heritage. The Fund was an independent foundation and has been discontinued since 2018. It is now an earmarked fund at the Research Center for Material Culture. The Fund continues to support the annual and public Adriaan Gerbrands Lecture, the RCMC/FEL Junior Fellowship and the RCMC/FEL Distinguished Fellowship.

Adriaan Gerbrands Lecture

The Adriaan Gerbrands Lecture is an annual public lecture by a laureate chosen for his or her contribution to the broad international field of the study of visual and material culture. The lecture celebrates the memory of Adriaan Gerbrands, who pioneered the combination of ethnographic film and material culture studies in the translation of cultural differences in aesthetic production during his career as museum curator (1947-1966) and professor of cultural anthropology (1966-1987) in Leiden.

The lecture is initiated by the Fund for Ethnology in Leiden and organized by the Research Center for Material Culture in collaboration with the Institute for Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology (Leiden University) and the Beeld voor Beeld Documentary Film Festival.

A jury annually selects the laureate from among several nominees, on the basis of a theme jointly agreed upon by the organizers. Themes covered by the speakers may include cultural heritage (tangible and intangible), indigenous media, repatriation, ethnographic photography and film in the broadest sense, museum studies, material culture studies, music, multimediality and alternative media.

RCMC/FEL Fellowship program

There are two RCMC/FEL Fellowship programs. The first one is for distinguished researchers which is on invitation only, and the second one is for junior researchers which is an open call.

The RCMC/FEL Distinguished Fellowship program seeks to bring international researchers to Leiden who will contribute to the research agendas of both the RCMC and Leiden University, to generate ideas for new museum practices, contribute to the scholarly offerings for students, further the research agenda of both academics at the university and researchers and curators at the museum. Where possible, they will contribute to the development of joint research projects. 

Distinguished fellows will be proposed by both museum and university partners and will be chosen based on their work in relation to the interrelated research themes of the RCMC. The first Distinguished Fellow was James Clifford in 2016. Ghassan Hage was the Distinguished Fellow in 2018. 

The RCMC/FEL Junior Fellowship* program provides financial support to talented junior researchers interested in conducting (ethnographic) research or publishing on the collections of the Tropenmuseum, Museum Volkenkunde, Afrika Museum and Wereldmuseum. Students and researchers with a background in museum studies, anthropology, archaeology, art history or related disciplines can apply.

*From 2012 to 2016, the RCMC/FEL Junior Fellowship program operated as the Dr. Steven Engelsman Grants.

Fonds voor Etnologie in Leiden