The Paul Mellon Centre Archives & Library Fellowship (previously named the Research Collections Fellowship) was established on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Paul Mellon Centre in 2020.

The successful Fellow will be required to use the Centre’s Archive and Library Collections to explore an aspect of the development of art history as a discipline in the UK in the 20th century. The Centre’s collections are rich in materials relevant to this topic. They reveal much about the networks of art historians who shaped the field. They also provide plentiful information on how they conducted their research and writing.

The Fellowship is an award of £10,000 for a period of 12 months. During this time the Fellow will be required to carry out detailed research using the Centre’s Archive and Library Collections. For applicants based abroad there is also an additional travel bursary to cover international flights/trains to London if required. Any accommodation and subsistence should be taken from the £10,000 award.


The Paul Mellon Centre is a specialist repository and the only institution in the UK recognised by the National Archives as actively collecting the papers of art historians. It currently holds over 36 Archive Collections including the papers of some of the early pioneers in the field, including Paul Oppé, Ben Nicolson, Oliver Millar and Ellis K Waterhouse. The Centre also holds the libraries of some of these key individuals.

The Fellowship must focus primarily on the Paul Mellon Centre’s Archive Collections, with reference to relevant published material in the Library Collections. It may draw upon relevant collections held in other institutions where appropriate.


The Paul Mellon Centre Collections Fellowship is an award of £10,000. This is paid as a lump sum to the Fellow.

For international applicants and those based far outside of London there is a travel bursary available if needed.


The Fellowship is open to scholars at all levels. However, it is envisaged that the successful applicant would normally hold a PhD or have relevant experience.

The Fellowship is designed to cover the period July 2022–June 2023. The successful Fellow is expected to spend as a minimum the equivalent of 6 weeks at the Centre throughout the year. There is no requirement for the Fellow to give up any existing job or research work: this Fellowship is designed to sit alongside existing commitments.


The Paul Mellon Centre Archives & Library Fellowship is next offered in our Spring 2022 round of funding. Applications will open 22 November 2021 and close on 31 January 2022.

To apply for the Fellowship you must use our online system at Once registered you will be able to fill out the online application form (an example of which can be downloaded below) and provide the details of two referees. Once the application is submitted we will contact the nominated referees with details on how they submit their referencse which must be completed through our online system and must be no more than 500 words.


  • At the beginning of the Fellowship, the Fellow will be expected to visit the Centre and work with Research Collections staff and the Deputy Director of Research to produce a research proposal
  • A minimum of 6 weeks spent at the Paul Mellon Centre, working with the Archives and Library collections
  • Two progress reports must be submitted to the Centre: the first, 3 months into the Fellowship; the second, after 6 months
  • An 8,000–10,000 word essay must be submitted at the end of the Fellowship, with the view to it providing the basis for a British Art Studies article or feature
  • The Fellow must give a related talk at the Centre shortly after the Fellowship has ended
  • The Fellow may be asked to contribute their research on the Archives and Library collections to produce one of the Centre’s tri-annual Drawing Room Displays

For any questions, advice or an informal chat regarding our Archives and Library please contact Charlotte Brunskill here.