Foto: Robert Sprang

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

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.

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.

Eligible to apply for a Thomas Mann Fellowship are intellectuals and innovative thinkers from non-academic fields such as culture, politics, media, and business, as well as writers and scholars in the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, technology, and economics. Applicants must be people who live or have lived in Germany for an extended period. Possession of German citizenship is not required.

Thomas Mann Fellowships aim at realizing and publicly presenting a transatlantic project on an overarching annual topic. 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 2024: Democracy and Vulnerability

Democratic processes are dynamic, inclusive, and human-centered but at times also messy, arbitrary, and even contrary to democracy itself. How should a democracy deal with its own vulnerabilities? What are the responsibilities of a democracy toward the most vulnerable in its populace? How do democracies need to evolve to deal successfully with increasing global levels of ecological, geo-political, and economic precarity? How much vulnerability can a democracy endure?

For 2024 we call for tender 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).

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 non-repayable basic monthly stipend of EUR 2,500 for Junior Fellows and EUR 3,500 for Senior Fellows 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 program directorate.
  • Project cost allowances upon the application to the on-site Program Director.
  • A modern furnished room with private bathroom and desk. In addition, all Fellows have access to a shared kitchen, numerous spaces, and a garden area for interaction with other Fellows and guests.


  • 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 (the possession of German citizenship is not required).
  • Valid health and liability insurance for the United States.
  • 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.
  • The application deadline for Fellowships in 2024 is February 16, 2023.
  • Reapplication is possible after 3 years at the earliest.
  • 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. Furthermore, the qualifications of the candidate regarding the profile of the Fellowship should be made comprehensible.
  • It is possible to apply for a Thomas Mann Fellowship as a pair with a joint project (Partner Fellowship). In this case, each person must complete a separate application form. The letter of recommendation must include both the qualifications of the two individual candidates and the joint 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 2024 was February 16, 2023. Applicants are expected to receive notification of the selection in June of 2023.


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 limited space, accommodating family members for an extended period cannot be guaranteed.
  • Visits can be arranged for stays of up to 14 days per quarter.
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.
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