Call for Applications: BARS/Wordsworth Trust Early Career Fellowships

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We would like to invite Early Career Researchers who are not in permanent employment to apply for a one-month residential Fellowship with the Wordsworth Trust at Grasmere. 

Two Fellowships are available in 2022.

Photo Credit: Gareth Gardner.

Wordsworth Grasmere is centred around Dove Cottage, the Wordsworths’ home between 1799 and 1808, where William wrote most of his greatest poetry and Dorothy wrote her Grasmere journals. Their lives and writings are at the heart of the Trust’s collection of over 68,000 books, manuscripts and works of art; the collection also encompasses wider Romanticism and the ‘discovery of the Lake District’ 1750-1850.

This Fellowship follows one of the most exciting and transformative times in the Wordsworth Trust’s history. Our major NLHF-funded project ‘Reimagining Wordsworth’, completed in 2021, seeks to raise awareness and change perceptions of Wordsworth’s life and work, furthering his own wish for his poetry to ‘live and do good’. The site has been transformed: Wordsworth Grasmere now has a redesigned and extended museum, a new learning centre, a newly interpreted Dove Cottage and two new outdoor spaces alongside an extensive programme of engagement and activities in Cumbria and beyond.

Photo Credit: Gareth Gardner.

The Wordsworth Trust is also committed to Arts Council England’s ‘Lets Create’ vision. We believe that by welcoming a wide range of influences, practices and perspectives, we can better understand our own collection and the stories it can tell, thereby enriching our public programmes. The purpose of this Fellowship is to help us achieve just that – to examine the site and collection from different perspectives, and to use these new perspectives and knowledge in public programmes – a display, an activity for visitors and / or perhaps an event.

The most recent example of something similar is (Re)Acting Romanticism: Disability and Women Writers created by Harriet McKinley-Smith, a PhD student at Oxford University. A visitor to the display in the Museum at Grasmere wrote: ‘Thank you for the disability exhibit. As a woman with an invisible disability, I have never felt more visible’. The impact of this Fellowship in doing something similar could be substantial, not only in helping us shape the direction of our public programmes, but in its potential to bring about positive change in the way people see our subjects, collections and themselves.

(Re)Acting Romanticism: Disability and Women Writers, a new community exhibition at Wordsworth Grasmere, was developed following a series of online workshops with women with disabilities who responded to writing by Dorothy Wordsworth, Mary Robinson, Frances Burney, and Susanna Blamire. Photo Credit: Gareth Gardner.

We are open to your suggestions for subjects to research. However, we would be very interested to receive proposals which might lead to interpretation and learning activities relating to the colonial links and legacies found within the Trust’s site and collections, and how the writings and art within the collection might help us develop a call to action to the climate crisis. 

We are open to discussing what form of activity / display would work best for the subject and audience you choose. You will receive advice and training (as much or as little as you wish) from the Collections and Learning team, led by Jeff Cowton (Principal Curator and Head of Learning). 

We particularly welcome applications from candidates that are under-represented, including candidates from low-income backgrounds, and/or candidates with disabilities (we are happy to discuss any reasonable adjustments that we can make).

The Fellowship provides on-site self-catering accommodation for one month; we would prefer the residency to take place as soon as is convenient to the applicant, ideally over the summer (a lovely time to be the heart of the Lake District!) The Fellowship also provides £350 towards travel and living expenses. All applicants must be members of BARS.

Photo Credit: Gareth Gardner.

Application procedure: on no more than two sides of A4, provide your name, email contact details, institutional affiliation (if relevant), current employment status, a brief biographical note, a description of your PhD thesis, details of the proposed research and audience based activity, and preferred period of residence (ideally summer or autumn 2022). The successful applicants will show enthusiasm for audience engagement demonstrated in initial ideas of their proposed project.

Send the application as an attached Word file to Jeff Cowton ( and  Dr Jennifer Orr ( no later than 15 June 2022. The successful candidate will be informed within two weeks.