MDOCS Storytellers' Institute

Visiting Fellows Application

We are taking a short rest from our open call process in order to re-group after two years of virtual/hybrid institutes and to focus on including the community-based collaborations that are part of the Mellon-funded MDOCS Co-Creation Initiative. Read more here!

Applications will re-open in the fall of 2022 for the 2023 institute. You can read about what we typically ask for in an application below.

This hybrid artistic-academic experience combines the freedom and space to work on independent projects with the fulfillment of mentoring the next generation of practitioners in the beautiful setting of Saratoga Springs. The institute brings together professional artists, storytellers and documentarians (Visiting Fellows) with Skidmore College students, faculty, and staff members (Skidmore Fellows) in a month-long community organized around an annual theme. More than a residency, time is dedicated to independent work and Institute activities –– seminars, critique sessions, opportunities to share work with the public, networking events, skill-building workshops, and group outings ––– all related to the theme. We are multi-disciplinary and encourage non-fiction practitioners working in all mediums –– sound, painting, photography, sculpture, film, video, word, performance, installation, etc. –– to apply.  One of the highlights of the Institute is MDOCS Forum, a weekend-long conference combining festival presentations of artistic work with symposium-style conversations around the annual theme. Visiting Fellows will have the opportunity to present their work at Forum alongside an international group of makers, scholars, activists and students. 

This year our theme is Co-Creation: Delights, Discontents & Dislocations –– This is a call to all collaborators, collectives and co-creators of knowledge! To those coming from activism, community organizing, and collective power building. To those willing to transgress artistic boundaries and academic disciplines in the urgent name of shared agency and more inclusive institutions! Read more about the theme here.

“My work has intersected with the work of other Fellows in surprising and often beautiful ways. I’ve started thinking about myself and my performance work in a fundamentally different way as a result of this month, and I can’t wait to go even further into these new projects and bring new perspectives to old projects.” Micaela Blei, Visiting Fellow ’19


The Institute runs from June 1 – July 2, 2021 on the Skidmore College campus in Saratoga Springs, NY. Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, the 2021 Storytellers’ Institute may happen virtually. If you choose to apply, please be prepared for either a virtual or in-person Institute experience. Application Deadline is December 15th.


  • Applicants must have a non-fiction-based practice and propose a non-fiction-based project. 
  • Because of this year’s theme, applicants must be members of collaborative teams that span artistic or academic mediums/disciplines, or single applicants who propose projects that are collaborations with other artists, communities or institutions. 
  • Applicants must have an interest in teaching and learning. 
  • Accepted Fellows are expected to fully engage with Institute events and be in residence for its duration (except for non-Forum weekends). If a Fellow is not in residence for the full Institute, their stipend will be reduced. Please take a look at the schedule from a past Storytellers’ Institute here and expect that the 2021 Institute will follow a similar schedule. 

What you need to apply:

  • A completed application, which includes a work sample that demonstrates your experience in non-fiction creative work. This can be written word, video, photography, audio, performance, etc.
  • One letter of recommendation sent to before the deadline or your application will not be considered.

Fellowship includes:   

  • Community and feedback from a renowned group of multidisciplinary artists/storytellers/documentarians
  • $2500 honorarium
  • Travel stipend of up to $500 (only if in person)
  • Public presentation/exhibition opportunities  
  • Access to production equipment
  • Room and board for the duration of the Institute (only if in person)
  • Workspace access to Skidmore facilities (only if in person)

Hear from our past Visiting and Skidmore Fellows about what the Institute meant to them!

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