Clark Fellowship Overview

The Clark offers between ten and sixteen Clark Fellowships each year, ranging in duration from one to ten months. National and international scholars, critics, and museum professionals are welcome to propose projects that extend and enhance the understanding of the visual arts and their role in culture.

Stipends are dependent on salary and sabbatical replacement needs. Housing in the Institute's Scholars' Residence, located across the street from the Clark, is also provided.

Fellows are furnished with offices in the library, which contains a collection of 200,000 books and 700 periodicals. The Institute's collections, its library, visual resources collection, and the Fellows program are housed together with the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art. The Clark is within walking distance of Williams College, its libraries, and its art museum. The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) is a ten-minute drive away.

Candidates must have a Ph.D. or equivalent professional experience. The Clark does not award pre-doctoral fellowships, and given the intense competition for fellowships, we do not normally make awards to those who have received their Ph.D. within the last four years.

Terms of Appointment


Applicants should hold a Ph.D. or demonstrate equivalent professional experience. They may come from the academic or museum worlds, or from other professional backgrounds, and may be residents of any country. They may be employed, full- or part-time, or be independent historians, curators, and/or critics.

Application Procedure

All applicants must complete an application form, available on this website.


Fellows may come to the Clark for any period between one and ten months. Between six and eight Fellows are in residence at any one time.


Fellowships are awarded on a scale related to need and earnings, up to a maximum rate of $60,000 per year. Travel to and from the Clark will also be reimbursed for the scholar and an accompanying family member. Clark Fellows’ tax liability to the United States government will be considered in accordance with the tax regulations of the Internal Revenue Service on a case-by-case basis.


It is expected that all Fellows be in good standing with the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service and have authorization [a J-1 Visa] from the INS that permits a Fellow to engage in the activities for which he or she has been designated a Clark Fellow. In applicable circumstances, the Clark can facilitate this standing by providing Fellows with the documents required to initiate the authorization process.


Fellows are normally provided with an apartment in a recently refurbished and expanded late-nineteenth-century house across the street from the Clark. Six apartments are available, ranging in size from one to two bedrooms, with additional common spaces. Each apartment is fully furnished and linked to the Clark’s computer network. Accommodation and services, except long-distance telephone, will be provided by the Institute. Pets are not permitted in the Scholars’ Residence. No smoking is permitted inside any Clark building.


Fellows are provided with an office in the Institute, accessible from 8 am until 11 pm (early closing times on weekends). In addition to having telephone, fax, and photocopy equipment, all offices are connected to the Clark’s computer network. Information technology support for the Clark network is available in-house. Each Fellow’s workspace includes a Dell PC running Windows XP and the Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint). All of the Clark’s personal computers are on a local area network that provides e-mail, internet access, and laser printing.


Fellows have access to the open shelves of the Clark Library, which has strong holdings in post-medieval European art, with 200,000 books and 700 periodicals as well as extensive slide and photograph collections. They will also have full access to other libraries through Interlibrary Loan and Electronic Document Delivery. The libraries of Williams College, including the main library, for which each scholar will have a borrower’s card, and the Chapin Rare Book collection, are a half-mile away.

Art Collections

Fellows have access to the Clark’s collections of paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, photographs, silver, ceramics, and furniture from 10 am to 5 pm, Tuesday through Sunday. Objects not on public display can often be viewed by appointment. The Williams College Museum of Art is nearby, and the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) is located in North Adams, a short distance away.

Research Assistant

With advance planning, fellows may request the assistance of a student from the Graduate Program in the History of Art, co-sponsored with Williams College.


Fellows are expected to reside in Williamstown, to have lunch or dinner with other Fellows twice a month, and to participate in the intellectual life of the Clark, typically presenting one public lecture and/or a small individual seminar during their stay (those Fellows who stay a month or less may be exempted).


Proposed projects may include contributions to a seminar in the Graduate Program. Fellows will be able to take advantage of the opportunity for exchange with a number of associated institutions, which include the Williamstown Art Conservation Center (housed at the Clark); Williams College, with its museum and many academic departments; and MASS MoCA.

Guidelines for Application

Scholars may propose topics that relate to the visual arts, their history, practice, theory, or interpretation. Any proposal that contributes to understanding the nature of artistic activity and the intellectual, social, and cultural worlds with which it is connected is welcome.

Subjects of investigation might come from any period, from prehistory to the present, and from anywhere in the world. Projects can be focused on works in any medium and can employ any methodological approach. Attention, however, will be given to proposals that promise to deepen, transform, or challenge those methods currently practiced within art history or that have the prospect of enhancing an understanding of the role of images in other disciplines in the humanities.

Special Clark Fellowships

A number of special fellowships are also offered, as seen below: 


The Beinecke Fellowship, endowed by the chair of the Research and Academic Program Trustee Committee, Frederick W. Beinecke, is awarded to a noted senior scholar for one semester.


Clark Curatorial Fellowships are awarded to museum curators and provide a forum for exchange with academic counterparts.


In conjunction with the Oakley Center for the Humanities and Social Sciences at Williams College, the Clark offers a fellowship for a scholar in the humanities whose work takes an interdisciplinary approach to some aspect of the visual. The selected fellow will have an office at the Oakley Center, be housed at the Clark scholars' residence, and participate fully in the rich intellectual life of both advanced research institutes.


Funded by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, this fellowship is particularly directed to scholars whose work engages critically with the literature of art “before the era of art history” (i.e., before the formation of a discipline of art history in the mid-nineteenth century). The Clark seeks applicants whose focus might be theoretical or aesthetic treatises, anecdotes, histories, translations of texts, artists’ writings, or other material that might broadly be described as part of the literature of art or the pre-history of art history. Although the importance of the very act of uncovering and publishing such material to scholarship is obvious, the Clark-Kress fellowship is awarded to a scholar who is able to engage with it in such a way as to make its relevance and importance visible to the larger field of art history.


The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute combines a public art museum with a complex of research and academic programs, including a major art history library. The Clark is an international center for discussion on the nature of art and its history.

Fellowships are awarded every year to established and promising scholars with the aim of fostering a critical commitment to inquiry in the theory, history, and interpretation of art and visual culture. In addition to providing an opportunity for sustained research for fellows, outside of their usual professional obligations, the Clark encourages them to participate in a variety of collaborative and public discussions on diverse art historical topics as well as on larger questions and motivations that shape the practice of art history. 

Online Application

Application Procedure

Applicants are required to complete an online application form, available below. All materials must be submitted in English.


All application materials must be received by October 15.