Graduate Summer Research Fellowship

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The National Trust for Historic Preservation is seeking graduate students for its Summer 2018 African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund Research Fellows program. As Research Fellows, selected students will contribute to a new research project from the National Trust’s Preservation Green Lab focused on affordability and risk of displacement in cities with significant African American populations. Researchers from the Preservation Green Lab will use a variety of data sources to assess how building characteristics and recent changes to the built environment influence residential and commercial affordability and risk of displacement. Whereas the Preservation Green Lab’s primary focus will be on statistical analysis and the development of interactive maps, the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund Research Fellows will produce qualitative narratives that describe neighborhood change “on the ground” and incorporate the experiences of neighborhood residents, business owners, and workers.

A total of ten Research Fellows will be selected and will be tasked with conducting case study research in neighborhoods with significant African American history. One Fellow will be selected for each of the following study cities and will be tasked with studying one or more neighborhoods in their respective city. Preservation Green Lab researchers will assist in identifying neighborhoods with especially significant histories and recent changes, based on the preliminary analysis of the broader project. Study cities and locales for Fellows include:

  • Atlanta
  • Birmingham
  • Chicago
  • Los Angeles
  • Louisville
  • New York 
  • Oakland
  • Philadelphia
  • St. Louis
  • Washington, D.C.

Case study methodologies can be tailored according to the methodological interests of each Fellow, but potential methods may include one or more of the following:

  • Community interviews
  • Historical research and analysis
  • GIS analysis 
  • Cognitive mapping
  • Survey research

This Fellowship program will run from June 12, 2018 to August 12, 2018, but Research Fellows may elect to complete their case study research on their own schedule so long as they participate in regular check-in calls with the Preservation Green Lab research team.

At the conclusion of the Fellowship program, Research Fellows will deliver a 4-5 page case study narrative, as well as a 4-5 page paper on their methodological approach and experiences conducting the research. These narratives will be shared via the National Trust’s website. Edited research narratives will also be incorporated into the National Trust’s national research report on the challenges of affordability and risk of displacement in cities with significant African American populations and in neighborhoods with significant African American histories, to be released in early 2019.

As part of the Fellowship, the ten selected Research Fellows will be paid a $5,000 stipend and will have reasonable travel and accommodation expenses covered for participation in the National Trust’s PastForward San Francisco conference in November 2018.

Individuals studying Urban Planning, Public Policy, Historic Preservation, Geography, African American Studies, History, Sociology, Anthropology, or related fields are encouraged to apply. Individuals with personal or professional connections to African American communities or community organizations, especially communities or community organizations in their selected study city, are preferred. Students at the graduate level are strongly preferred.

If you are interested in serving as an African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund Research Fellow, please submit a cover letter, resume, contact information for two to three professional or academic references, and a sample of past work to Mike Powe, Director of Research, at m. Please be sure to include mention of the study city you would like to research. Materials must be received by April 30, 2018.


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    Kayleigh Haskin
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