Every year one Rome Fellowship is offered to allow an individual the unique opportunity to undertake three months of dedicated research and work on a visually focused topic relating to cultural contact, exchange and influence between Britain (including its historical Empire and Commonwealth) and Italy, whilst being based at the British School at Rome (BSR).

The award is open to scholars, researchers, curators and other galleries, libraries, archives and museums (GLAM) professionals, from immediately post-doctoral to those internationally recognised in their field of expertise. Whatever their background and current position, all applicants are expected to demonstrate a readiness to engage with Rome's art and archive collections, the BSR's own collections and/or the city as an architectural and cultural artefact.

The Paul Mellon Centre is an educational charity that champions new ways of understanding British art history and culture. Through all areas of our work, including our grants and fellowships programme, we promote activities that enhance and expand knowledge of British art and architecture. As an institution, we pledge ourselves to ensuring that the histories of British art are enriched and made more relevant to a broader range of people in the future. The inclusion of voices, narratives and experiences that have been marginalised or excluded in the past will have a transformational impact on the future of the Centre and upon British art studies. Accordingly, the Paul Mellon Centre particularly welcomes applications from those who are under-represented within the academic field of the humanities in the UK.


The three-month Rome Fellowship based at the British School at Rome is designed to:

Facilitate original, focused and exciting research into a topic relating to British-Italian cultural contact, exchange and influence of any period from the medieval era to the contemporary. The subject area, disciplinary focus and approach may vary, but projects need to be centred on visual materials and themes, will demonstrate a rigorous understanding of the critical and historical issues, and will engage directly with local art and archive collections, the BSR's own collections and/or the city as an architectural and cultural artefact.

Recent Rome Fellow projects have focused variously on architectural and art-historical themes, on the classical heritage of Rome and its representation in film and photography, and relations between literature and aesthetics. Specific examples include:

  • Robert Turnbull Macpherson and his photographic vedute of Rome in comparison to works of other photographers in his time
  • Gothic revival atop the heirlooms of antiquity: Villa Mills and the Palatine Hill, ca.1818–1926
  • Henry Fuseli in Rome: defining a new, heroic style for British art

The British School at Rome

For one hundred years, world-class researchers and contemporary artists have been nurtured at the British School at Rome, bridging the intellectual and cultural heart of Rome and Italy with creative and academic researchers from Britain and the Commonwealth.

Each year the BSR offers outstanding researchers and artists the opportunity to join the community living and working in Rome. The BSR hosts around thirty individuals at any one time including those studying or practising visual arts, architecture, archaeology, art history, history and all periods of Italian studies. The dynamic and inspiring community in Rome is a cohesive one, including communal dining, day trips, workshops, lectures and events on site and further afield in Rome and Italy.

The BSR is also home to rich research collections composed of a specialist library, archives and graphic collections. The most significant include:

The Photographic Collection
Made up of nearly a hundred thousand items (including calotypes, glass negatives, lantern slides, 35 mm film and postcards) the Photographic Collection preserves material ranging from the 1850s to the end of the twentieth century, on subjects covering Greek, Roman as well as medieval and Renaissance Italian and European art and architecture from the collections of Robert Macpherson, John Henry Parker, Peter Paul Mackey, Thomas Ashby, John Bryan Ward-Perkins and others.

The Archive

The administrative archive consists of records documenting the BSR’s own activities since 1901 including material relating to awardees, institutional charters, papers of council, directors’ correspondence as well as material relating to the history of the fine arts programmes, exhibition records and lectures. We also keep private archives and papers donated to the BSR.

Rare Book and Special Collections

At the heart of the BSR’s vast Rare Book Collection are over a thousand volumes acquired by Thomas Ashby, which reflect his research interests and focus on early guidebooks to Rome, bound editions of early engravings (with an ample collection of Piranesi prints), Italian topography, history and archaeology. This collection has since been enhanced by donations including an important group of early guidebooks to Rome.

Additional information can be found on




"In addition to the extensive academic benefits, these were equalled by the extraordinary intellectual, creative, and supporting environment of the BSR"

Tommaso Zerbi, Rome Fellow 2021


The Rome Fellowship provides residential accommodation and meals at the British School at Rome for three months (as well as benefits such as Italian language lessons and assistance in gaining access to resources not normally open to the public).

For applicants employed by an organisation, institution or university there will also be an honorarium of £3,000 and up to £8,000 towards replacement staff costs, if required.

The Centre does not pay full economic costs.

For independent scholars there will be an honorarium of £7,000.

There may be additional support available for applicants with specific access needs. If this is something you would like to explore, please contact the Grants Manager.

If a fellow accepts full-time employment during the period of the Rome Fellowship, the Centre will request an appropriate reimbursement of the award.

The Fellowship is designed to be taken as full time for three months however split tenure could be considered depending on the BSR’s timetable.


This fellowship is designed for an individual to work on a visually focused topic relating to Anglo-Italian cultural contact, exchange and influence, of any period from the medieval era onwards.

Applications are welcome from scholars, researchers, curators, archivists and GLAM professionals, from immediately post-doctoral to those internationally recognised in their field of expertise. Applicants must have been awarded their doctorate by the closing date for applications.

All applicants are expected to demonstrate how they will engage directly with local art and archive collections, the BSR's own collections and/or the city as an architectural and cultural artefact. Applicants should demonstrate the value of being in Rome for the duration of the three months by providing specific details of the archives/collections/sites with which they wish to engage. Projects utilising the BSR’s own archives and historical records would be especially welcome. For more details about these please contact the BSR Head of Research Collections, Professor Raphaële Mouren: r.mouren@bsrome.it

Applications are open to individuals from any country, with fluency in English and who must be either competent in the Italian language or have a willingness to engage with it. Italian language lessons are provided on site at the BSR during the residency.

The Rome Fellowship would normally be taken during one of the following three periods: late September to late December; January to March; April to June. Exact dates will be agreed with the British School at Rome. The fellowship cannot be deferred to a later academic year nor can it run concurrently with a fellowship awarded by another institution.

For further questions on eligibility please contact the Grants & Fellowships Manager.


The next round of recruitment for the Rome Fellowship will be in Spring 2023.

Applications for the 2023 awards are now open. The closing date is 31 January 2023.

To apply for a Rome 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. The option to provide the referee details will be available once the application is submitted. We will then contact the nominated referee with details on how to submit their reference which must be completed through our online system and must be no more than five hundred words.

The referees should have first-hand knowledge of the applicant’s academic career and the subject area for which funding is being sought. The Advisory Council would like to be informed of the originality of the subject matter and the applicant’s suitability to pursue such research.

Fellowship Requirements

Within six months of completion of the Rome Fellowship the fellow must submit a final written report which will be circulated to the British School at Rome. Fellows are also invited to submit a short research report for publication in the Papers of the British School at Rome.