Thomas Mann Fellowship

Space for transatlantic debates: The Thomas Mann House in Los Angeles

The Thomas Mann House in Los Angeles is a lively place for transatlantic debate, where innovative thinkers and outstanding personalities explore fundamental political, social, and cultural issues and concerns facing our world today and in the coming years.

Intellectual legacy of Thomas Mann

As a residency of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Thomas Mann House and its interdisciplinary programs are committed to the spirit of Thomas Mann: During his time in the United States, the writer intensively addressed questions regarding the roots of fascism, democratic renewal, freedom, migration, and exile in his literary works, lectures, and essays.

Fellowship program for socio-political dialogue

Along the lines of this socio-political work, the Thomas Mann House today is dedicated to the relevant questions of our time by bringing together German and U.S. stakeholders from different disciplines, intellectual and artistic traditions, and with different political views.

Who can apply for a Thomas Mann Fellowship?

Thinkers, creatives, and outstanding personalities from the fields of culture, politics, media, or business, as well as from the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, engineering, and economics, can apply for a Thomas Mann Fellowship. Candidates must live and work in Germany at the time of nomination or must show that Germany has been their main place of residence within the last decade. Possession of German citizenship is not required. German citizens living abroad can also apply.

For 2025, we announce the call for Junior and Senior Fellowships at the Thomas Mann House:

  • Junior Fellowships are aimed at innovative thinkers and intellectuals, who are at the beginning of their career. Applicants must already have a public visibility (e.g., in the form of publications, readings, and lectures).
  • Senior Fellowships are aimed at renowned innovative thinkers and outstanding personalities, who enjoy international recognition in their field. Applicants must have extensive public visibility (e.g., in the form of publications, awards, invitations to public presentations, and relevant media coverage).

What are the goals and expectations of the Thomas Mann Fellowships?

Thomas Mann Fellowships aim at realizing and publicly presenting a transatlantic project on 2025's annual topic "Across Boundaries". Engaging in an open dialogue with a broad public is a central goal of the Fellowship program. Therefore, in addition to very good English language skills, intellectual curiosity, and a willingness to engage in interdisciplinary dialogue, Thomas Mann Fellows are expected to actively engage with partners and institutions in Los Angeles, California, and the United States.

Annual Topic 2025: Across Boundaries

A flourishing democracy depends on a plurality of voices and inclusive cultures of communication. What are the implications for open societies when people identify as members of seemingly opposing communities? How can we avoid the alienation of large parts of the populace from democratic values and processes? What are creative and interdisciplinary approaches to enhance cultural, social, and digital institutions, structures, or practices for a more accessible and engaging public discourse? Up to which point is it desirable and beneficial to connect and communicate across differences?

Application Requirements and Selection Process

General Information

  • Fellowships are awarded for at least 3 and no more than 10 months.
  • Villa Aurora & Thomas Mann House e. V. will determine the length and timing of each individual stay after a careful review and coordination of all fellows’ requests.
  • Staff will assist fellows with the implementation of their projects, corresponding research, networking with partners and institutions in the United States, as well as presentations (e.g., lectures, workshops, and readings).

The Thomas Mann Fellowship entails:

  • a basic monthly stipend of EUR 3,000 as a contribution to living expenses,
  • a round-trip travel allowance of EUR 1,275 and a monthly mobility allowance of EUR 600,
  • the payment of travel and accommodation expenses incurred for the purpose of networking with partners and institutions within the USA upon the application to the on-site directorate,
  • child allowances (400 EUR per month for the first accompanying child, 100 EUR for every subsequent accompanying child),
  • a modern furnished room with private bathroom and desk (all Fellows have access to a shared kitchen, numerous spaces, and a garden area for interaction with other Fellows and guests),
  • project cost allowances upon the application to the on-site Director.


  • Proven competence regarding current issues in the field of culture, politics, economics, media, and/or science. A letter of recommendation as evidence is to be submitted in German or English.
  • Intellectual curiosity, interest in foreign disciplines, and willingness to engage in conversation beyond one's own discipline.
  • A very good knowledge of English, which enables oral and written exchange in the host country.
  • Living and working in Germany or proof of previous long-term residence in Germany in the last ten years (the possession of German citizenship is not required). German citizens living abroad can also apply.
  • Existing contacts with U.S. partners and institutions (desirable).
  • Willingness to contribute to a social and productive living environment.


  • The application for a Thomas Mann House Fellowship is performed online with the respective application form.
  • Reapplication is possible after 3 years. Your last application must therefore have taken place in 2021 at the earliest. This condition applies VATMH-wide and therefore also applies to applications for the Villa Aurora.
  • Students cannot apply. PhD candidates can apply. The marked spaces on the application form must be filled in German and English.
  • Each application must be based on at least one letter of recommendation in German or English written by a person with a public record of expertise in the field of the proposed project.
  • For an application to be considered, it needs to refer to the annual topic as well as to current transatlantic debates.
  • The qualifications of the candidate should be outlined and justified with regard to the profile of the Thomas Mann Fellowships.
  • Applications for the Thomas Mann Fellowship are also open to pairs working on a joint project (Partner Fellowship), with the stipulation that only two individuals can apply together. Each applicant in the pair must submit a separate application form. The recommendation letter should comprehensively address both applicants' individual qualifications and the merits of their collaborative project.
  • You or the recommending person can upload the letter of recommendation via the upload link provided to you in the confirmation email after submitting the application.


  • The applications are reviewed by VATMH’s office for completeness of the documents and the validity of the letters of recommendation.
  • An interdisciplinary advisory board appointed by the Board of Trustees of the Villa Aurora & Thomas Mann House e. V. reviews and evaluates the applications received and nominates the Thomas Mann Fellows for the following year.
  • The fellowships will be awarded by the Villa Aurora & Thomas Mann House e. V. after confirmation by the Board of Trustees, depending on the availability of the nominated candidates.
  • There is no legal entitlement to the award of a fellowship.
  • The decision is usually communicated to the candidates by e-mail or mail, but no reasons are given.
  • Upon acceptance, all selected candidates will receive a contract. The fellowship is only legally valid after the fellows have signed the contract.

Application Deadline

The application deadline for Thomas Mann Fellowships in 2025 was February 22, 2024. Applicants are expected to receive notification of the selection in June of 2024.


Does VATMH pay for substitute professorships?


  • VATMH cannot assume any costs for substitute professorships.
Is there an age limit for Junior Fellows?


  • No, there is no age limit for Junior Fellows.
When will I know if I have been selected for the fellowship/fellowship?


  • The decisive committee meetings are expected to take place in June/July. You will then receive feedback by probably the beginning of August.
What work spaces and work materials are provided by TMH?


  • all suites are equipped with desks, and there is also a workstation in Thomas Mann's former study, which can be used on a first come, first serve basis.
    It is possible to request access to the Getty Research Institute library at the following web address:
  • As a J-1 Scholar at the University of Southern California, the University can create a USC ID and a library card.
  • The library card can be used to access electronic databases as well as check out books at USC.
  • There is a large reading room in the Doheny Memorial Library on the USC campus that can also be used as a workstation. A visit to the USC campus is required to create your ID card, and it may take a few days to process.
  • password-protected wi-fi is available throughout the building.
  • a black and white printer is available in the building, color prints can be made upon request in the office in the adjacent building.
  • common office supplies can also be provided by the office upon request.
Can I bring my family or partner along?


  • Due to the space available at Thomas Mann House, guests can only visit for limited periods of time (usually up to 14 days within a quarter).

  • A long-term stay of family members in the TMH can unfortunately not be guaranteed due to the very limited space available. VATMH will of course be happy to advise you on renting additional living space for family members and will always endeavor to find flexible solutions for families within the scope of the institution's possibilities.

Does VATMH pay for the external accommodation of the family?


  • VATMH provides child allowances (400 EUR per month for the first accompanying child, 100 EUR for every subsequent accompanying child).
  • No additional funding for renting external living space for family members can be provided.
Still have questions? Feel free to reach out to us!


Fellowship Guidelines