Foto: Monacensia

The Thomas Mann House in Los Angeles is a lively place for transatlantic debate, where outstanding personalities explore fundamental political, social, and cultural questions of the present and the future in exchange with each other. The U.S. Applications for Junior and Senior Fellowships for stays of 3 up to 10 months at the Thomas Mann House are now being accepted.

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 America, the writer intensively addressed questions about the roots of fascism, democratic renewal, freedom, migration, and exile in his literary works, lectures, and essays. Following on from this socio-political work, the Thomas Mann House today is dedicated to the relevant questions of our time. It brings German and American stakeholders from different disciplines, intellectual, and artistic traditions, and with different political views into conversation. Fellowships and events facilitate encounters and intellectual exchange.

Writers, thought leaders, and intellectuals from non-academic fields such as culture, politics, media, and business, as well as scholars in the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, technology, and economics who live or have lived in Germany for an extended period of time are eligible to apply. Possession of German citizenship is not required.

Fellowships are for the realization and public presentation of a specific transatlantic project on "The Political Mandate of the Arts." Open dialogue with a broad public is a central concern 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 and intensively engage in exchange locally and beyond California, and to network with partners and institutions in the United States. The selection process also requires that each application be accompanied by a strong letter of recommendation.

The Political Mandate of the Arts

The freedom of art is one of the imperatives of every democracy. But what is the role of art when democracies come under pressure? Against this background, is it legitimate to speak about a political mandate of the arts? On which social issues can artists and cultural workers give new impulses?

  • The Junior Fellowships are aimed at people who are at the beginning of their career. Applicants must already have their first publications and public visibility (e.g. in the form of public readings, lectures, participation in conferences, etc.). Junior Fellowships are endowed with 2,500 EUR per month.
  • Senior Fellowships are aimed at renowned experts who enjoy international recognition in their field. Applicants must already have extensive publications and broad public visibility (e.g., in the form of numerous publications, awards, invitations to public presentations, and relevant media coverage). Senior Fellowships are endowed with 3,500 EUR per month.

General Information

  • Fellowships are awarded for at least three and no more than ten 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, such as 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 directorate.

Requirements

  • Proven competence with regard to 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 and 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 USA
  • Existing contacts with U.S. partners and institutions (desirable)

Application

  • The application for a fellowship at the Thomas Mann House is possible for a stay in the respective following year.
  • The application deadline for fellowships in 2023 was March 17, 2022.
  • Students cannot apply.
  • The marked spaces on the application form must be filled in in German and English.
  • Each application must be based on at least one letter of recommendation in German and English written by an expert with a public record of publications in the field of the proposed project.
  • The application as well as the letter of recommendation should reflect the relevance of the planned project for both sides of the Atlantic, and its classification as fundamental for our time. Furthermore, the qualifications of the candidate according to the profile of the Fellowship should be stated and justified.
  • It is also possible to apply for a 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.

Procedure

  • The applications are reviewed by the association'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.
  • There is no legal entitlement to the award of a fellowship.
  • 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.
  • The decision is usually communicated to the candidates by e-mail or post, 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 2023 was March 17, 2022. Applicants are expected to receive notification of the selection in mid-July.

Application Form

The application form will be available in December.

FAQ

Can I bring my family or partner along?
  • Unfortunately, at present, family members cannot be accommodated inside the Thomas Mann House for longer periods of time for building restrictions and due to local official requirements. Visits by family members to the house are possible by arrangement for stays of up to 14 days within a quarter.
Does VATMH pay for the external accommodation of the family?
  • VATMH does provide child allowances, however, no additional funding for renting external living space for family members.
  • VATMH is happy to assist in finding suitable accommodation.
Does VATMH pay for substitute professorships?
  • VATMH cannot assume any costs for substitute professorships.
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