Research Associate Program

Each year, the Center hosts a cohort of local and international scholars and activists for three to eight months, providing office space, access to Five College resources, and cultivating a community in which feminist work can flourish.

The Five College Women’s Studies Research Center’s longstanding Research Associate Program is an opportunity for scholars, activists, and creators to be in residency as a cohort; have dedicated space, time, and resources to undertake individual projects of interest; and experience the vibrancy of feminist knowledge production across the Five College Consortium. While in residency, Research Associates engage in weekly programming at the FCWSRC and participate in special events and happenings across the Five Colleges, which include: Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. 

The FCWSRC provides Research Associates with office space and access to resources across the Five College Consortium and surrounding area, including important archival and museum collections. Research Associates—in residence for a semester or academic year—have opportunities to connect with leading scholars; workshop and present their projects; explore opportunities, events, and collaborations throughout the Five Colleges; and build feminist community across discipline, methodology, and geography.

2024-25 Research Associate Program

Applications are now closed for the 2024-25 Research Associate Program. Applicants can expect to be notified of the outcome of their application by March 15, 2024. Those who are interested in learning more about the Research Associate Program to apply in future years are invited to review the most recent Call for Applications and information session slideshow, linked below.

Call for Applications

The below sections contain the same information as our downloadable 2024-25 Call for Applications. You can access a PDF copy of the Call for Applications here.

Founded in 1991, the FCWSRC is a vibrant site of local, national, and international engaged, intersectional feminist scholarship, cultural production, and activism from diverse perspectives. The FCWSRC has a rich history of supporting transnational work and recognizing the diverse pathways and plurality of forms that feminist creative and academic scholarship can take. Located on the campus of Hampshire College, the FCWSRC is supported by the Five College Consortium, which includes Hampshire College, Amherst College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Since 1966, the five institutions have been recognized for their cooperation and innovation in higher education. The Consortium boasts one of the largest concentrations of feminist scholars anywhere in the world. The FCWSRC has hosted over 450 semester and year-long visiting scholars as part of its Research Associate Program and welcomed many other guest speakers to the Five Colleges.

The Center's hub at Hampshire College includes dedicated, quiet office space for Research Associates; a large seminar room; a community lounge; a flex office; and expansive outdoor space. Over the course of a semester or full academic year, Research Associates undertake their projects within an interdisciplinary feminist community, participating in regular weekly programming and special events across the Five College Consortium. Associates also share knowledge about their areas of specialization through workshops or symposia. An Associateship offers access to writing accountability groups; professional development workshops; networking opportunities with leading scholars and feminist makers; and surrounding area libraries, archives, and resources.

Research Associates are expected to establish the Center as their work-home for the duration of their appointment. A typical Research Associate week is as follows:

Mondays/Wednesdays: Morning co-working time with the FCWSRC Writing Community or Research Associate cohort; weekly Research Associate check-in and work-in-progress session

Tuesdays/Thursdays: Self-defined: work on-site, at local archives or libraries, attend events on other campuses, etc.

Fridays: Reserved for workshops, time outdoors, and local excursions and/or independent research

Travel, housing and living expenses are the responsibility of Research Associates. While we are unable to provide funding, the Center is committed to supporting feminist scholars who are seeking funding to support their Research Associateship.

We recognize that travel or relocation for an extended period of time may not be possible for many different reasons. In addition to the Research Associate Program, the Center co-hosts scholars and creatives who are visiting the area to work with Five College faculty, conduct research using local resources, give guest talks, or collaborate with others in the area. We welcome inquiries about possibilities for shorter term visits at this form.

The Center is committed to supporting engaged, intersectional feminist scholarship and values diversity in terms of background, experience, geography, discipline, perspective, and practice. Faculty, doctoral students approaching the end-stages of their degree, activists, practitioners, artists, and independent scholars are encouraged to apply. Applicants’ work should be situated within and informed by the expansive fields of women’s and gender studies, feminist studies, and/or queer and trans studies. We welcome projects engaging with specialist and emerging areas of inquiry, as well as community-based or creative forms of knowledge production and circulation. Local (to the Five College area), non-local U.S.-based, and international applicants are invited to apply.

December 12, 2023, 1-2pm EST: Information session via Zoom with the Director, Program Coordinator, and current Research Associates. Register here.

January 23, 2024, 10-11:30am EST: Application consultations, featuring individual conversations with the Director and Program Coordinator. Registration forthcoming.

February 1, 2024, 11:59pm EST: Priority deadline for 1) scholars applying for the 2024-25 academic year and 2) prospective 2025-26 Research Associates applying for funding for which a conditional acceptance or host invitation letter is required. Scholars requesting a letter of institutional support for a funding proposal after the priority deadline must contact the Center to arrange submission of the same application materials. Unfortunately, we cannot review materials from May to September.

March 15, 2024: Notifications of acceptance are distributed to applicants; in April accepted applicants attend a pre-orientation information session via Zoom.

A complete application includes the following items submitted on Interfolio: 

  • Online application forms
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Project proposal

On the online application form, you will be asked the following information:

  • Name and contact information
  • Current position/title and institution/organization (or indicate unaffiliated/independent status), as well as work contact information, if applicable
  • If you are an alum of the Center, please provide the year/semester of your Associateship
  • Desired time of residency (fall 2024 semester, spring 2025 semester, or full academic year)
  • Title of the project
  • Project abstract (between 100-150 words)
  • Project key terms
  • A brief professional bio (under 150 words)
  • An explanation of sources of funding (grants, fellowships, self, etc.) and whether funding is confirmed or applications are in-progress
  • For scholars whose research involves collection of data from human subjects (via interviews, questionnaires, surveys, etc.), please indicate whether the project has been approved by an appropriate ethics committee or Institutional Review Board
  • Contact information for two professional references (references may be contacted following an initial review of applications)
  • For international applicants who would require J-1 visa sponsorship:
    • Country of citizenship
    • How the English proficiency requirement for a U.S. visa will be met (documentation from an English language institution or degree program, TOEFL score, or anticipated interview with FCWSRC Director)
  • Any additional information that you would like to share with the selection committee

The project proposal can be up to three pages in length, single spaced. The proposal should provide a description of:

  • the project in detail, including objectives, methodologies employed, and a breakdown of the work that the applicant plans to undertake at the Center.
  • the project’s contribution to and significance in the fields of Women's and Gender Studies, Feminist Studies, and/or Queer and Trans Studies.
  • how undertaking the project while in residence at the Center would benefit your project and broader scholarship. Applicants might consider engagement with museum or archival resources, interactions with specific local networks of Five College scholars and collaborators, having dedicated space, time, and community, etc.
  • how you envision contributing to the feminist communities of the Center and across the broader Five College campuses. The Center is interested in cultivating a thriving network of feminist thinkers across generation, rank, institutional affiliation, field, and background, in both formal and informal capacities. Applicants may consider writing about potential intellectual contributions (ideas for workshops, reading groups, presentations, etc.) or more informal contributions to fostering feminist community. 

Research Associate Testimonies

"The Center has been a perfect environment for me to read and reflect and revisit my relationship to the written word, a place to develop new ideas and revisit existing ones through exchange with other Research Associates and members of the community. Particularly the engagement with others who have a completely different area of expertise and focus has helped me sharpen my own thoughts. The engagement with others at different moments in their career has helped me reflect where I stand and where I want to be. Other standouts from my time: having meaningful side conversations over a cup of coffee or lunch in the communal space; knowing that someone is there when you get to campus; stepping outside my office, picking an apple from the tree and sitting down to enjoy the beautiful view from Hampshire campus into the hills; going for a walk in the Hampshire woods with a colleague after lunch, enjoying the fresh air and the conversation; enjoying thoughts, recommendations for books and recipes for yummy food with the other Associates; being able to enjoy everything the Five College libraries have to offer, including enjoying the support of the extremely helpful and friendly staff in the Hampshire library; enjoying the community, picking healthy veggies and garden flowers at the Hampshire Farm through a membership in their CSA has been a highlight of my week; and getting to know and enjoying the differences in focus, 'style and culture,' student body and campus environment between the Five Colleges."

— Silke Steinhilber, Independent Consultant, based in Germany (2022-23 Research Associate)

"I particularly enjoy our Wednesday cohort meetings when we review each other’s works-in-progress and provide constructive feedback, or just allow the meeting to breath and take on a life of its own, ideas bursting from all angles. Through these interactions, I have found myself examining and re- examining my own approach to engaging feminist thinking in my life both inside and outside of the classroom and as I continue to explore ways to incorporate feminist theory in my scientific and creative work. Besides the much-appreciated mental stimulation from my colleagues and administrators at the Center, the physical space provided by the Center is another wonderful perk of this fellowship that I am always raving about to whoever would listen! Lack of access to physical space or a conducive work space can easily become a barrier to creative writing, so as someone hoping to write some poetry this year, I do not take for granted my large office with tall book shelves and extra storage space that suits my current busy schedule juggling TA work with the fellowship and my dissertation work. It’s been a great experience so far and I feel honored to have been considered for the Associateship during what I hope would be my last year of grad school."

— Ruthfirst Ayande, Doctoral Candidate, UMass Amherst (2022-23 Research Associate)

"I have found the ideal community for finishing my dissertation and for engaging in feminist praxis. In our weekly meetings at beautiful Hampshire College—where you’ll connect with nature and hear the birds sing as soon as you get out of your car or the bus—I have received the most thoughtful comments on my writing while feeling nourished and supported not only through my peers' voices and hugs when needed, but also with hot coffee and seasonal snacks. Discussing the complexities of our present while indulging in the best cider doughnuts in the country has made this space a home. In our monthly lunches, I have had the opportunity to meet with feminist scholars, artists and activists from the area; it is really a productive and generous transgenerational space in which I have asked more senior and experienced scholars awkward questions about academia and life in general that I would not ask elsewhere."

— Ever Esther Osorio Ruiz, Doctoral Candidate, Yale University (2022-23 and 2023-24 Research Associate)

Frequently Asked Questions

We encourage scholars who are applying to funding programs that require host institution letters or conditional acceptance to apply to the Research Associate Program one year in advance, noting the specific funding application plans and requesting a deferral in their application materials. If accepted into the program, the Center will provide a preliminary acceptance letter and/or letter of support. The scholar will then be required to confirm their acceptance in-sync with the next application cycle.

In addition to our Research Associate Program, we welcome inquiries from feminist scholars who are interested in spending time at the FCWSRC for a short period of time. These visits are typically co-hosted with academic departments, faculty, or organizations across the Five College Consortium to support scholars who are visiting the area to work on a particular aspect of a project, collaborate with Five College faculty, staff, and/or graduate students, or participate in a specific initiative or event. During such a short-term visit, we welcome scholars to join the FCWSRC's weekly Write Together, attend events across the Five Colleges, and schedule quiet working time in our flex office space. Scholars interested in a short-term visit should complete our Short-Term Visit Inquiry Form.

Doctoral students in the later stages of their degree are welcome to apply. Graduate students in the earlier stages of their degree are very welcome to participate in events at the Center which are open to the broader community.

The Five College area is home to a number of art museums, galleries, and notable special collections. We invite you to explore the resources page on our website to learn more about the gems unique to the Consortium and the surrounding area.

We want the Research Associateship and cohort community to be a generative and engaged space in which needs are being met and work-lives feel balanced. The most important thing is likely taking note of the weekly programming schedule as class schedules, work schedules, and care arrangements are being preliminarily settled for the fall. We keep most programming to Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, with the vast majority of Research Associate programming concentrated on Mondays and Wednesdays.

The Research Associate Program is best suited for when you have dedicated time to devote to scholarship or creative work. Those teaching full time or holding full time positions are encouraged to apply to the Research Associate Program when they have a course release available, are on sabbatical, or have positions in which they are able to organize time to be present and participate fully as a member of the Research Associate cohort. There are a number of opportunities to become involved in the FCWSRC outside of the Research Associate Program. We encourage those looking to become involved to look into our hybrid Feminist Writing Community, complete our Work-in-Progress Interest Form, make use of our flex office for a change of scenery, and explore possibilities of a shorter-term visit to the FCWSRC and Five College area.