Call for Junior Fellows

RCMC/FEL Junior Fellowship

RCMC/FEL Junior Fellowship

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.

Junior Fellowship

Students (BA, MA, PhD) and early career scholars (i.e. +5 years since obtaining their PhD) scholars with a background in museum studies, anthropology, archaeology, art history or related disciplines can apply. We offer four stipends in total, each of max € 1,500. The types of activities we support are related to conducting (ethnographic) research and/or publishing on the museum collections.  

We appreciate creativity and innovative ideas. Activities we do not support are for instance the organisation of symposia and travel to conferences to present work.

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

Call for applications

Unfortunately, due to Covit-19, we cannot run a Junior Fellowship round for the 2021-22 year. We have still to host the Junior Fellows from 2019-20 and 2020-21. We very much apologize for this inconvenience. To be sure to attend to the needs of the Junior Fellows from the past two years, we must put the application process on hold. Thank you for your understanding.



This fellowship is co-sponsored by the Foundation for Ethnology in Leiden (FEL), which also co-sponsors the annual Adriaan Gerbrands Lectures.

The jury

A jury will read the applications and select four Junior Fellows. The jury members for 2020-21 are: 

  • Mariana Françozo (Associate Professor of Museum Studies at the Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University);  
  • Wayne Modest (Head of the Research Center for Material Culture and Professor of Material Culture and Critical Heritage Studies (by special appointment) in the faculty of humanities at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam);
  • Peter Pels (Professor of Anthropology and Sociology of Africa, Leiden University);
  • Kitty Zijlmans (Professor of Contemporary Art History and Theory/World Art Studies, Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society) 

2020 Grantees

  • Callum Fisher, Centre for Anthropological Research on Museums and Heritage (CARMAH), Institute for European Ethnology, Humboldt University of Berlin, Working title of dissertation and project: “From Provenance to Potentiality: Museum Practices and Dispersed Collections,” with a focus on the dispersal of the objects in Hamburg’s former Godeffroy Museum.

  • Robert Flahive, Ph.D. Candidate, Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought (ASPECT), Virginia Tech, Working dissertation title: “Rethinking the Histories of Colonialism and Modernism through Architectural Preservation,"' with a focus on the relationship between architectural preservation, modernist architecture, and colonialism. For the RCMC Junior Fellowship, Flahive studies the Van Nelle Factory in Rotterdam.

  • Valentina Gamberi, Independent Researcher; Project: “Abandoned Chinese Gods: Sacred Waste in Museums, Temples, and Carvers’ Studios.”
  • Amélie Roussillon, University of East Anglia (Norwich), Project: “Research on the Abelam (Papua New Guinea) collection acquired by Carel M.A. Groenevelt on behalf of the Museum voor Land- en Volkenkunde (Wereldmuseum, Rotterdam) between 1959 and 1962.”
  • Emily Teo, Research Fellow at the National Museum of Singapore; Visiting Postdoctoral Researcher at the Gotha Research Centre of the University of Erfurt, Project: “Pictorial  representations of the flora and fauna of the Dutch East Indies in the holdings of the Tropenmuseum.”

2019 Grantees

  • Mary Caton Lingold – will do research on African musical instruments collected in Suriname in the 1770s by John Stedman and housed at the Museum Volkenkunde.
  • Roberto Costa – will cast light on Asmat tradition of wooden crucifixes while providing information on the religious items of the Asmat collection held at the Tropenmuseum.
  • Amélie Couvrat Desvergnes – will study the materiality of the Indian Northwestern drawings and paintings (Pahari and Punjab) from the Museum Volkenkunde.
  • Carlee Forbes – will research late 19th and early 20th century objects collected in the Congo and currently held at the Museum Volkenkunde, Afrika Museum and Wereldmuseum.

2018 Grantees

  • Willem van Wijk – Will conduct comparative research on the representation of African art in South-Korea and the Netherlands.
  • Adiva Lawrence – Will make a comparative study on museums and exhibitions from different contexts contribute to "re-archiving" black history and memory, with a focus on the memory of slavery.
  • Jaimee Comstock-Skipp – Will rethink typologies and labels in her research: Cataloguing Persianate Arts of the Book in the Nationaal Museum van Wereldculturen.
  • Rab Messina – Will analyse how designs can be made more sustainable for a wider audience by bringing technology and design closer together.
  • Caroline Fernandes Caromano – Will research Amazonian Flames in European Houses which is an investigation of Fire as a Museum Object in ethnographic and archaeological collections from the Amazon in European museums.

2017 Grantees

  • Sebastiaan van ‘t Holt - Practice of ayahuascashamanism in the Netherlands and Peru
  • Giulia Golla Tunno - The presence and role of “art” within three national colonial museums in Europe
  • Sita Reddy - The Hortus Indicus Malabaricus as a botanical book and as an ethnographic object