Bodleian Visiting Fellowships

Bodleian Visiting Fellowships in Special Collections are awarded to promote research based on archival, manuscript, and printed books collections of the Bodleian Libraries. Approximately 25 awards are made each year to researchers external to the University of Oxford whose projects require use of these collections. Scholarship pursued within the fellowship research projects generates publications and may also be formally and informally disseminated through presentations or displays in the Libraries.

Fellowships may be awarded for a visit of one University of Oxford term, or for a shorter stay of at least one month.

Find out more about past awards.

For more information about the Bodleian Libraries' special collections, visit the online guides and finding aids for the collections.

Eligibility and selection criteria

Academic and non-academic researchers may apply. Scholars pursuing postdoctoral research are welcome to apply. Current DPhil students should note that:

  • you must have submitted your thesis before the deadline for Visiting Fellowships applications
  • you must have been awarded the DPhil before taking up the Fellowship

Applications are also welcome from those outside academic study who have relevant experience, for instance three years’ employment in the field of the proposed research.

On occasion, fellowship opportunities are offered for musical or artistic residencies. These are clearly signposted.

In most cases, priority will be given to candidates residing outside of Oxford and to applicants who have not recently completed an Oxford degree.

In every case, the selection committee will consider:

  • the demonstrated need to consult specific items or collections within the Bodleian Libraries' special collections;
  • the potential of the candidate to contribute to the research culture of the libraries and the University, and especially the potential for future research collaboration with the Bodleian Libraries; and
  • the benefits of the award within the invited Fellow’s research career.

Applications must include a brief statement of plans for engagement with the research community in Oxford and beyond.

Certain named fellowships are offered to researchers in particular professions or scholars from particular geographic areas. Please consult the descriptions of named fellowships.

Terms of the fellowship awards

Funds of up to £2,200 per month are available to support the eligible costs of research visits. Depending on the method of disbursement and your UK tax status, award funds may be subject to UK tax and National Insurance and the actual amount disbursed may be lower.

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. See term dates for advice on University of Oxford term times, where relevant.

In some cases, a visa may be required to travel to the UK. You should make yourself aware of the requirements before accepting the fellowship invitation. Please consult the University’s webpages for international visiting researchers for guidance, and check the UK government website. You are responsible for securing the appropriate UK visa.

Note that non-UK or non-Irish applicants who are not in full employment with an academic institution during the proposed visit period may require a sponsored UK visa and must apply for a visit of a minimum of 3 months.

Once a research proposal has been accepted for invitation, 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.

The Bodleian Libraries will receive printed acknowledgement in any and all publications resulting in whole or in part from research carried out during the period of the fellowship.

The fellow will provide the Bodleian Libraries with a written report on the completion of their fellowship.

How to apply

Deadline: Friday 2 December 2022, 5pm GMT

Applications must be sent by email to fellowships@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.

Applicants should review the list of named fellowships. Any special conditions of eligibility or additional application requirements for particular named fellowships are clearly stated there. Unless otherwise stated, eligibility for all fellowships is described in ‘Eligibility and selection criteria’ and the application process is the same for all fellowships, described in this section.

Applications must include:

  • the application form completed online, including the proposed dates of your visit.

In addition, the following documents must sent by email to fellowships@bodleian.ox.ac.uk as separate PDFs:

  • Your curriculum vitae, no more than 3 pages.
  • The project description, not to exceed 1,200 words, to include:
    • the significance of the research project in your field of study or activity
    • a detailed explanation of how research in Bodleian Special Collections will advance the project
    • an indication of intended outputs, such as publication, exhibition or another publicly accessible form
    • a detailed list of the specific Bodleian Libraries materials to be consulted (not included in the word count)
  • Two letters of recommendation: these must be tailored to your individual application for a funded research visit to the Bodleian Libraries. Recommendations may be sent directly from the referees to the Bodleian Libraries at fellowships@bodleian.ox.ac.uk, but in all cases the applicant’s name must be in the subject line.

Your application will be forwarded to the appropriate selection committee by decision of the Bodleian Libraries.

Available Bodleian Visiting Fellowships for 2023–24

Sassoon Fellowship in Diasporic South Asian and Black History

This fellowship encourages researchers to come to Oxford and use Bodleian Libraries collections to advance their research in the histories of the South Asian, African and Caribbean diasporas. Fellows will normally be invited during one University of Oxford term. The fellowship is offered in association with Somerville College.

African Studies Fellowship for Scholars from Sub-Saharan African Universities

Open to a scholar currently affiliated with a university in Sub-Saharan Africa to study the history of this region, making use of the Bodleian’s major holdings of African and Commonwealth archives, including papers from many who served in the Colonial Service. The archives also include papers of workers in agriculture, education and medicine, as well as engineers and missionaries. Organisational archives include those of the Anti-Slavery Society, the Africa Bureau, the Fabian Colonial Bureau and the Anti-Apartheid Movement. Fellows will normally be invited during one University of Oxford term. This fellowship is offered in partnership with Oriel College and the Rhodes Trust.

Eligibility note: Open to a scholar currently affiliated with a university in Sub-Saharan Africa (see list of countries).

Ann Ball Bodley Fellowship in Women’s History

This fellowship encourages researchers to come to Oxford and use Bodleian Libraries collections to advance their scholarship in women’s history, of any geographical area and historical period. Fellows will normally be invited during one University of Oxford term. This fellowship is offered in association with Hertford College.

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.

Albi Rosenthal Fellowship in Music – call for composers

Deadline: Tuesday 3 January 2023

There is a separate application process for this award. For further particulars and application form, email fellowships@bodleian.ox.ac.uk before 2 December 2022.

In 2023–24 the Bodleian Libraries are additionally inviting applications to the Albi Rosenthal Fellowship in Music by composers who will take up a special commission in partnership with the Oxford Lieder Festival, commemorating the work and influence of Franz Kafka.

A opportunity for a composer to engage with the Bodleian Libraries’ collections of Kafka manuscripts, through a composition to be commissioned by the Oxford Lieder Festival for performance in autumn 2024, with texts drawing from or inspired by the published or private writings of Franz Kafka. A proposal must describe the approach to be taken to creating a song cycle with texts seen through the lens of Kafka’s work or influence. The fellowship should be taken up during one University of Oxford term, in autumn 2023 or between January and March 2024.

Applicants to the call for composers are not required to hold a doctoral degree.

Humfrey Wanley Fellowship

Supporting 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.

The Peter Selley Fellowship for Members of the Book Trades

The Peter Selley Fellowship provides support for a member of the rare book trades to carry out research in the special collections of the Bodleian Libraries. Applicants must be pursuing a career in book or manuscript auctions or the antiquarian book trade. The fellowship honours the memory of Peter Selley, a rare book specialist and auctioneer who worked at Sotheby’s in London for 28 years. If you are eligible for this award, please indicate this clearly in your CV.

Eligibility note: Open to members of the book trades.

Bahari Visiting Fellowship in the Persian Arts of the Book

This fellowship supports research using the Bodleian's Persian and Islamic Collections. Basic records for a large part of the Bodleian's Islamic manuscript collections may be found on the Fihrist website.

Applicants for these fellowships must include with the application form and other materials an article-length example of their written work. For 2023–24 Bahari Visiting Fellowships, applications are especially invited for research connected to the collection of letters by Amin al-Dawlah (1844–1904), Grand Vizier to the late Qajar Court, which have recently been donated to the library.

The Sloan Fellowship in Photography

This fellowship encourages researchers to come to Oxford and use Bodleian Libraries collections to advance their research in the history of photography and photographic books. The fellowship is offered in association with Trinity College, Oxford.

Carr-Thomas-Ovenden Fellowship in English Literature

This fellowship supports a research visit by a scholar of English literature. Preference will be 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.

Sassoon Fellowship

Supporting scholarship in any field appropriate to the Bodleian Libraries' special collections.

Byrne-Bussey Marconi Fellowship in the History of Science, Technology 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.

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.