We offer fellowships to predoctoral, postdoctoral, and senior postdoctoral scholars involved in cultural heritage, ethnomusicology, museum studies, and more. Fellows work directly with staff in our office in Washington, D.C., with access to Smithsonian archives, collections, and other resources. Applicants are welcome from the United States and around the world.

Folklife fellows have produced films, documentary recordings, Folklife Festival programs, and books as a result of the residency, for example, Introduction to American Folk Music, a textbook by professor Kip Lornell, and Making People's Music: Moe Asch and Folkways Records by Dartmouth dean Peter Goldsmith.

Fellowships are very competitive and are awarded annually through the Smithsonian’s Office of Fellowship and Internships.

Smithsonian Fellowship Opportunities


We are currently accepting applications for Rigzin*, a two- to four-week cultural leadership program in the United States available to Tibetans in China engaged in culture or the arts. Rigzin is a Tibetan word that refers to someone with knowledge of traditions. Applicants may be visual artists, filmmakers, dancers, and musicians, or people who have traditional knowledge, such as herding, farming, traditional medicine and ecological knowledge, or other traditional skills in oral performance (debating, storytelling, riddling, speech giving), felting, tent making, weaving, embroidery, etc.

During their stay in the United States, Rigzin participants may:

• Present their work at museums, universities, and cultural institutions
• Connect with artists, scholars and cultural heritage and museum professionals
• Attend cultural exhibitions, performances and lectures
• Visit Smithsonian collections related to their work

To apply, submit the form below and other materials to CFCH-STAR@si.edu by March 30, 2017.

Download English
Download Chinese (中文)
Download Tibetan (བོད་ཡིག)

Previous Rigzin Awardees
Nima and Dawa Dakpa, bronze artists
Shide Nyima, filmmaker, actor, and poet

*Formerly known as the Smithsonian Tibetan Artist in Residence (STAR) Program.

Fellow Alexandro Hernández (right) presents a Peruvian “scissors dance” performance by Steve Cotaquispe at the 2015 Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Photo by Evan McGurrin, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives

Related Blogs

Five on the Black Hand Side
Five on the Black Hand Side: Origins and Evolutions of the Dap

By LaMont Hamilton, 2014 Smithsonian Artist in Residence Fellow

The Blue Tablecloths of Georgia: New Life of an Old Tradition
The Blue Tablecloths of Georgia: New Life of an Old Tradition

By Nana Meparishvili, 2015 Carnegie Research Fellow

Tibetan Folklore in Film: An Interview with Shide Nyima
Tibetan Folklore in Film: An Interview with Shide Nyima

By Zoe Tribur, 2016 Research Fellow