Call for Applications: Emerge Summer 2024 Hybrid Disability Studies Workshop for Disabled Activists, Artists, Cultural Producers, Filmmakers, and Academics

October 25, 2023

Call for Submissions: Emerge Summer 2024 Hybrid Disability Studies Workshop for Disabled Activists, Artists, Cultural Producers, Filmmakers, and Academics (APPLICATIONS CLOSED)


The Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability at San Francisco State University proudly announces Emerge, a three-year initiative made possible thanks to a generous grant from the Mellon Foundation. This support will allow the Longmore Institute to lead a four-week workshop for 10 emerging Disability Studies scholar-activists, held three consecutive summers at San Francisco State University with an option for hybrid participation.

Why is this Fellowship program occurring?

Emerge seeks to promote scholar-activism, the bridges and relationships that allow academics, activists, and creatives to better support each other in the shared pursuit of social change. This initiative will cultivate relationships among the next generation of Disability Studies leaders, further diversify the conversation, and promote more scholar-activism in the field.

Who are we looking for in a prospective Fellow?

This Fellowship is designed to be fertile ground for early career, emerging leaders within disability studies. We are seeking people who have the passion and ideas to grow into the next generation of culturemakers and, due to access hurdles around connecting to community and/or mentorship, would benefit from this opportunity to help move in that direction. We want to ensure that prospective Fellows benefit from the structure and design of the program and that the professional experience and desired career growth are a match for what the Fellowship has to offer.

Broadly we are defining “early career, emerging leaders” as people who have engaged in 2-4 years** of work within disability studies and who are ready to elevate their work/practice to a new level. We believe strong applicants for this Fellowship have enough experience necessary to develop a project, write a budget, think about resources, and see it through. For more clarity, if you visit the Ford Foundation’s Disability Futures Fellows, we are looking for applicants who have the passion and ideas to grow into these sorts of leaders, but currently are a ways off from this level of impact and reach in their career and without the connections or structures of support to reach this level on their own. This means that we will turn away many incredible applicants who have brilliant proposed projects, but are deemed less in need of this catalyst for their journey. 

Some examples of people who we would most like to see apply for the Fellowship:

  • You are in a Master’s program at a university/institution where there is no disability studies program/scholars. 
  • You're an academic, pre-qualifying exams, and your advisor is not versed in disability studies
  • You have had the opportunity to facilitate a workshop or offer a guest lecture, but you aren’t established in that role, regularly offering paid trainings, consulting, etc.
  • You have performed a piece of work or had your art shown (in a gallery, exhibition, showcase), but you do not have regular access to those platforms.
  • Your work as an activist has largely been following someone else’s lead and you’re ready to play a bigger role. 

Some examples of people who may be overqualified for the Fellowship:

  • If you're in a PhD program and/or you’re in a higher education program with established, consistent mentorship.
  • If you currently have a mentor within disability studies or disability justice.
  • If you're coming from a non-profit background, having held a leadership role (i.e. significant institutional power within the organizational chart).
  • If you are well connected within your artistic practice and/or organizing work and regularly partner with disability justice rooted organizations/communities.

**Please note: All applicants must identify as disabled and be working in an area that centers on disability intersections with race, gender, sexuality, incarceration record, and/or immigration status. Additionally, we recognize that the lived experience of disabled people is an invaluable asset to the growth and expansion of disability studies. We are specifically quantifying the number of years worked in the field to determine “early career” because inviting in assessment of years of lived experience within disability will not reliably reflect the skills necessary to execute a proposed project for this program.

What does the Fellowship program entail?

Each Emerge cohort will consist of scholars, artists, filmmakers, or activists whose work enriches the field of Disability Studies with projects that explore disabled people’s experiences intersecting with further marginalization by race, gender, sexuality, incarceration, or immigration. Each group of ten will be invited to San Francisco on the basis of their 2-4 years’ experience in disability-related scholarship, arts/culture/filmmaking, and/or disability justice activism. The cohort will engage in an intensive summer workshop to collectively cultivate their respective projects and build community with other disabled scholar-activists. The summer will culminate in a virtual symposium presenting their finished works to the broader Disability Studies community.

They will receive financial support in the form of a $10,000 honorarium for associated costs with their proposed project and to compensate their labor of being in the workshop, as well as travel stipend/lodging/meals for the visit to San Francisco (If you cannot join us in person because of safety or accommodation needs, a digital means of participation will be provided). 

Additionally, Fellows will receive professional development support for working on new projects grounded in scholar-activism in three formats:

  1. Facilitated shared group learning, reflections, skill sharing, and co-working with cohort mates.
  2. An assigned project mentor for weekly meetings during the summer intensive workshop and monthly meetings for ten months following the summer session.
  3. Opportunities to connect with leaders in disability scholar-activism in arts, scholarship, and activism exploring what scholar-activism means to them and the challenges they face in their work today. 

Where does the Fellowship program take place?

We are currently developing a plan for the 2024 program format building off the experience of the 2023 cohort. The plan is to extend an invitation for the cohort to stay in San Francisco for one week the final week in June 2024 as a hybrid format, soft launch of the program, specifically for community building and orientation. Any Fellows who cannot attend in person will be included via Zoom and other remote access technology features.

When does the Fellowship program happen?

Fellows must be available for Monday - Friday, 1:00-4:30pm PT (plus 3 hours of independent work each day, determined individually by each Fellows’ chosen personal schedule), during the following times:

  1. June 24 - June 28 [Hybrid, in-person program orientation/soft launch]
  2. July 8 - August 2 [Virtual Summer intensive workshop]
  3. August 16 [Culminating Virtual Symposium]

This commitment will include time for independent work on your proposed project as well as frequent meetings with the Emerge cohort and invited guests. Once the workshop concludes, fellows agree to participate in monthly check in calls with Emerge cohort from August 2024 to May 2025, time TBD based on cohort availability. 

How do I apply to be considered for a spot in the Fellowship?

Fellows will be selected by a four-member, disabled, BIPOC selection committee bringing together people with disabilities who represent the similarly diverse fields that we are hoping our Emerge cohort will represent. Fellows will be selected based on their past accomplishments, proposed individual projects, expressed commitment to scholar-activist practice, and the perceived impact from participation in the Emerge opportunity.

If you’d like to discuss your specific needs before applying, contact We look forward to working with you to make this program accessible and have budgeted for ASL, live captioning, and partial financial support for personal care assistant support). 

Other questions?

Please see our FAQ answer sheet here: 

A Live Q&A occurred on November 15. Access the recording here:
Passcode: Emerge2024!

View the transcript here:


To be kept in the loop about Emerge 2025, please fill out this interest form:

Inquiries, contact Emerge Program Director Alex Locust, or 415-338-6010.

***Please do not contact our selection committee. Also, please note that Alex will not serve on the committee, so please refrain from reaching out unless you have a legitimate need for assistance with the application process.