Bodleian Visiting Fellowships

Applications for Bodleian Visiting Fellowships will be accepted beginning Friday 1 October 2021, with a submission deadline of noon GMT on Tuesday 30 November 2021.

Application guidelines

The fellowships support scholars in any field of study and from anywhere in the world to undertake research in the Bodleian's special collections.

Our special collections hold outstanding resources for scholarly study and discovery. These include:

  • classical papyri
  • medieval and renaissance European manuscripts
  • ancient and modern manuscript and printed material from the Americas, Asia, Africa, Australasia and Oceania
  • rare printed books
  • literary, political and historical papers
  • personal and institutional archives relating to the history of science, technology and medicine
  • printed ephemera
  • music
  • maps

See available fellowships for details of fellowships in specific subjects, or for researchers from particular professional groups.

The Bodleian Libraries seek to fund researchers external to the University of Oxford who will benefit from access to the collections and who will contribute to the research culture of the Bodleian and of the wider university during their residency.

Applications for all fellowships should clearly convey the training and professional experience of the researcher; the significance of the project for research in the applicant’s field of study; the need for access to Bodleian Libraries special collections; and the outcomes to be expected during and after the fellowship period.

Visiting Fellowships at the Bodleian Libraries will be awarded for visits of one month or more. For short-term fellowships of this kind, applicants should consider a visit of between one and three months. Note that the Bahari Fellowships are available for visits of up to six months.

You should apply for the period of time which is most suitable for your project. Selection committees will judge applications based on a realistic estimation of the time required to examine materials and to engage with the scholarly community.

There is more opportunity for engagement with the research community in Oxford during the University terms. However, it is understood that academic schedules vary. Fellowships with college affiliations should normally be taken up during termtime. For information, see the dates of Oxford terms.

Eligibility and selection criteria

Bodleian Visiting Fellowships are intended for applicants external to the University of Oxford. In most cases priority will be given to candidates from outside of Oxford and to applicants who have not recently completed an Oxford degree.

Academic and non-academic researchers may apply. You should be either an academic researcher of postdoctoral level (or have completed all requirements for the PhD at the time of application) or have equivalent experience in a role related to your field of research. When fellowship opportunities are offered to arts practitioners, these are clearly signposted.

In every case, the selection committee will consider the potential of the candidate to contribute to the research culture of the libraries and the University; the demonstrated need to consult specific items or collections within the Bodleian Libraries' special collections; and the potential of the project to increase awareness of the collections or to develop innovative research methods. Applications must include a brief statement of plans for engagement with the research community in Oxford and beyond.

Terms

Bodleian Visiting Fellowships are available for one month or more, to be agreed at the time of invitation of the successful applicant.

Most of the Visiting Fellowships provide up to £1,800 per month for expenses of the research visit. It is the responsibility of each fellow to ensure that allowable expenses are covered by the funds available. Applicants should be aware that accommodation costs in Oxford may exceed the funds offered. Depending on the method of disbursement and your UK tax status, award funds may be subject to UK tax and NI.

An invitation to take up a fellowship will be made subject to agreement on the dates of the visit. Applicants should indicate their preferred dates on the application form. Bodleian Visiting Fellowships should normally be taken up during the year between 1 August and 31 July.

Bodleian Libraries Visiting Fellowships are open to scholars of any nationality. In some cases, a visa may be required to travel to the UK for this purpose. You should make yourself aware of the requirements before accepting an invitation. Please consult the University’s webpages for international visiting researchers for guidance, and check the UK government website. If you require a visa in order to take up a fellowship in the UK, you are responsible for securing the appropriate UK visa and, once a proposal has been accepted, award of the fellowship will be conditional on fulfilling this requirement.

The Bodleian Libraries do not assume responsibility for securing housing for fellows. We will, however, offer assistance by providing guidance to local listings of rooms or houses for rent.

Applicants may receive only one Special Collections Visiting Fellowship within a period of five years.

How to apply

Applications are submitted by email and must include:

  • the application form (DOCX)
  • project description, not to exceed 1,500 words, and consisting of: description of the project and its significance (approx. 1,000 words); description of the specific Bodleian Libraries special collections to be consulted and the plan of research for the fellowship period (approx. 400 words); brief proposal for engagement with the research community through an in-person workshop or online presentation (approx. 100 words).
  • curriculum vitae of no more than three pages.
  • two letters of recommendation: these must be tailored to your individual application. Letters may be sent directly from the referees to the Bodleian Libraries at fellowships@bodleian.ox.ac.uk, but in that case the applicant’s name must be in the subject line.

Your application will be forwarded to the appropriate selection committee and will be considered for any fellowship for which you are eligible. You are advised to read the details of available fellowships.

Applications for Learned Societies Fellowships and Centre for Digital Scholarship Fellowships are outside of this selection process. See the details at those linked webpages.

Application decisions

You will not receive comments on your application from the reviewers. The deliberations of the selection committees are confidential.

Successful and unsuccessful applicants for Bodleian Special Collections Fellowships will be notified in early March.

Available Bodleian Visiting Fellowships for 2022–23

Humfrey Wanley Fellowships

This fellowship supports a period of research in the rare books and manuscripts collections of the Bodleian Library. The fellowship is named after Humfrey Wanley (1672–1726), assistant librarian at the Bodleian from 1695 to 1700, founding member of the Society of Antiquaries, a pioneer in the study of palaeography and library-keeper to Robert Harley, and Edward Harley, Earls of Oxford, two of the greatest book and manuscript collectors of their day.

Sassoon Fellowship

This fellowship supports scholarship in any field appropriate to the Bodleian Libraries' special collections.

Sassoon Fellowship in South Asian and Black History

This fellowship, offered in partnership with Somerville College, encourages researchers to come to Oxford and use resources collected by the Bodleian Libraries from any place or period to research the histories of the South Asian, African and Caribbean diasporas.

Byrne-Bussey Marconi Fellowship in the History of Science and Communication

For research into any aspect of the history of science, technology and business innovation using the archive, manuscript, object and rare book collections of the Bodleian Libraries and the History of Science of Museum. Applications are especially encouraged from researchers investigating the history and science of wireless communication and the wireless industry. The fellowship is offered in memory of Douglas Byrne and of Gordon Bussey, FRHS, who worked to secure the preservation of the Marconi Archives, now in the Special Collections of the Bodleian Libraries.

The Sloan Fellowship in Photography

This fellowship supports a research visit by a scholar in the history of photography. In addition to the archive of William Henry Fox Talbot, the Bodleian holds photographs within nineteenth- and twentieth-century colonial missionary archives; archives of other photographers; photographically-illustrated books; and those within the papers of individuals, famous families or organisations. Fellows will be affiliated with Trinity College, Oxford, during their research visits.

Carr-Thomas-Ovenden Fellowship in English Literature

This fellowship supports a research visit of one University of Oxford term by a scholar of English literature. Preference is given to projects relating to the Romantic period, where the Bodleian’s collection of manuscripts, printed books and secondary literature is remarkable in its strength and depth.

David Walker Memorial Fellowship in Early Modern History

This fellowship supports a period of research into any aspect of Early Modern history, of broad geographical scope, using the archive, manuscript and rare book collections of the Bodleian Libraries. The fellowship is offered in memory of David Walker, whose postgraduate study was undertaken at Lincoln College, Oxford.

Albi Rosenthal Fellowship in Music

This fellowship provides support for research in the music special collections of the Bodleian Libraries. The Bodleian Libraries’ music collections are among the largest in the country and contain printed music from the 16th century onwards and large numbers of music manuscripts from medieval times to the present day. The fellowship is offered in memory of Albi Rosenthal, one of the greatest dealers in music manuscripts, archives and rare books of the 20th century.

The Peter Selley Fellowship

The Peter Selley Fellowship provides support for a member of the rare book trade to carry out research in the special collections of the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford. Applicants must be pursuing a career in book or manuscript auctions or the antiquarian book trade. The fellow would join an interdisciplinary community of visiting fellows based in the library and will receive travel and subsistence funds to enable them to come and pursue their own research using the Bodleian’s collections, and other collections in Oxford. The fellowship honours the memory of Peter Selley, a rare book specialist and auctioneer who worked at Sotheby’s in London for 28 years.

Bahari Fellowship in the Persian Arts of the Book

The main focus of any research proposal for this fellowship should be on an aspect or aspects of the Bodleian's Persian and Islamic Collections.

For a description of the collections, please see the Middle Eastern manuscripts and rare books webpages. Basic records for a large part of the Bodleian's Islamic manuscript collections may be found on the Fihrist website.

Further particulars for Bahari Fellowships only:

  • the length of stay may be up to six months
  • applicants are asked to submit an article length example of their written work with their application materials
  • the value of the award for those coming from outside Europe and North America is £2000 per month