August 16, 2021

2021-2022 VRA Foundation Internship Award Recipient Announcement

The Visual Resources Association Foundation (VRAF) Board of Directors is pleased to announce the 2021-2022 VRAF Internship Award in visual resources and image management. This award is being generously funded by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.

Andrew Weymouth, a graduate student in the University of Washington’s MLIS program, is the recipient of the VRA Foundation’s Internship Award. He will receive $3,000 to work a minimum of 200 hours on a project for the Tacoma Public Library’s Northwest Room. Andrew’s work will involve the organization, description, and digitization of selected photographic negatives and prints from the vast Richards Photography Studio Collection, which was acquired by the library in 1989.  This collection, spanning 1917 through 1980, documents social and economic shifts in Washington State’s South Puget Sound region. The images depict a wide range of underrepresented Washington communities and significant local and national historic events, including the Puyallup Indian community and the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. The goal of this project is to digitize, describe, and provide free online public access to previously unseen, vulnerable materials that highlight the cultural diversity of this region and give expression to groups whose perspectives may not have been sufficiently recognized in the historical record. The project will contribute to the preservation of a vital visual resource for the city of Tacoma and Washington State, as well as provide insights into wider American historical movements through the lens of a single photographic studio that was continually active for over 60 years.

The Foundation felt that Andrew would be uniquely qualified to complete this important work for the Tacoma Public Library. With his background as a media archivist and his experience halfway through the Master of Library and Information Science program, Andrew has the necessary skills, knowledge, and enthusiasm to undertake this project to preserve and provide access to a remarkable collection, only a fraction of which has been digitized. Building upon his previous experience with oral history and digital archives projects in the state of Washington, Andrew is in a strong position to complete this internship successfully, attaining his professional goals in audiovisual archiving while contributing to a work of real cultural significance.

The Foundation is pleased to support the education and practical training of emerging professionals through this internship award. This year the VRAF Internship Award Committee received excellent applications for a variety of interesting and important projects which made the selection process difficult. The Internship Award Committee (Linda Callahan, Bonnie Rosenberg, Miriam Sappington, and Marcia Focht, Chair) appreciates the careful thought that went into every proposal. We are grateful to the Kress Foundation for its assistance and for recognizing the potential of this award to foster the next generation of visual resource professionals.

The VRAF Internship Award is part of the Foundation’s mission to advance awareness of important issues for effective digital information management (including intellectual property and copyright); encourage the application of professional standards, innovative technology, and metadata cataloging protocols; and to facilitate workplace training. VRAF supports a range of educational offerings to help ensure that such information reaches a diverse, global audience. For more information about the Visual Resources Association Foundation, its mission and projects, as well as giving opportunities, please visit https://vrafoundation.org or read the latest issue of our annual report.

Information & Application Procedures

Award Overview

The Visual Resources Association Foundation (VRAF) Internship Award provides financial support for graduate students preparing for a career in visual resources and image management. The award grants $4,000 to support a period of internship in archives, libraries, museums, visual resources collections in academic institutions, or other appropriate contexts. The recipient receives a stipend of $3,000 for 200 hours completed at the host site. A professional development component of $1,000 supports conference attendance or attendance at the Summer Educational Institute for Visual Resources and Image Management. The recipient receives a one-year complimentary student membership in the Visual Resources Association.

Candidates should apply after developing a project with a specific collection and prospective supervisor. The VRAF Internship Award Committee favors opportunities in which the intern may integrate skills acquired during the course of his or her academic training to manage a project from beginning to end, with the host institution receiving needed help in making valuable but hidden cultural collections visible. Projects that would not occur without funding for an intern may be given special consideration.

The VRAF Internship is generously funded by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. The VRAF Internship Award Committee consists of a VRAF Director as chair, a representative from the VRA Education Committee, a representative from the VRA Awards Committee, and the previous internship recipient.

Who May Apply

Students currently enrolled in, or having completed within the last 24 months, a graduate program in library or information science, art history, architectural history, architecture, visual or studio art, museum studies, or other applicable field of study may apply for this award. Applicants must have completed at least 10 credits of their graduate coursework before the application deadline, or demonstrate an equivalent combination of coursework and relevant experience.

Internship Description

One VRAF Internship is awarded per year. Priority is given to applicants who submit projects that support art historical or related visual cultural heritage research and scholarship. Although the award recipient need not hold US citizenship or be a permanent resident of the US, the recipient must select an institution in the United States to act as host for the internship. This institution must be approved by the VRAF Internship Award Committee. VRAF and VRA are not responsible for matching candidates with a host institution, but will gladly assist with the process. See the list of 2021-2022 host institutions, also available in a map version. Please note that this list is provided as a courtesy to applicants. Other institutions are also eligible to host VRAF interns.

This Internship Award is granted in conjunction with an academic year. The intern is required to work on site at their chosen host institution for a minimum of 200 hours. The intern will choose to initiate their internship in the fall, winter, or spring. The internship must begin within 30 days of the official beginning of the selected academic session of the participant’s home institution and be completed within one academic semester or two academic quarters. Exceptions are allowed by agreement between the selected intern and the VRAF Internship Awards Committee. In all cases, the internship must be completed within twelve months of the recipient being notified of the award.

The intern and the internship supervisor will complete brief evaluations of the internship experience. This report must be received by the VRAF Internship Committee by March 1 of the given academic year. The VRAF Internship Award will provide a stipend of $3,000 to the intern. Half of the award will be granted prior to the internship, with the remainder granted upon completion of the internship and receipt of a letter to the Chair of the VRAF Internship Committee signed by the internship supervisor and the intern stating that the 200 hours have been completed. If the recipient is not a US citizen, the VRAF is required by the IRS to withhold a percentage of this award.

A professional development component of $1,000 is available to support attendance at the annual VRA conference, other appropriate conferences, or the Summer Educational Institute for Visual Resources and Image Management. The recipient will be reimbursed upon submission of receipts and documentation. The award recipient will be formally recognized during the Awards ceremony at the VRA conference.

The recipient receives a one-year complimentary student membership in the Visual Resources Association.

Interns may have the option of receiving academic credit for the internship as part of their graduate course work but are responsible for making those arrangements themselves.

How to Apply

See the instructions posted on our How to Apply for an Internship Award page. Applications are due on July 23, 2021 (applications are now closed). The award recipient for 2021-2022 will be announced on August 16, 2021.