The UNDO Fellowship

Collaborative research
for new practices in
documentary art

UnionDocs is assembling four pairs of artists and writers/editors to expand radical filmmaking practices and research new languages of documentary cinema.
This fellowship aims to support and study inventive methods of nonfiction filmmaking, seeking to understand how such work operates in the world and engages with progressive social movements.

Program Details & Deadlines

Fall 2021– Fall 2022

Program Dates

July 22, 2021

Applications Open

July 29, 2021
2PM [ est ]

Information Session

Aug 4, 2021

Application Deadline (part 1)

Sep 16, 2021

Application Deadline (part 2) 


Fellowship Award


Each fellow will receive $20,000 for their participation in the yearlong program, which includes a seminar at Doclisboa 2021 in Portugal, a retreat at EMPAC at Rensselaer in Troy, New York, and a symposium in Fall 2022. Funding comes with participation requirements, but is otherwise unrestricted for the artist fellows. Funding for the writer fellow includes a fee for an original work of authorship, a fee for the editing of a short publication or reader on the research question, a budget for commissioning articles for this reader, as well as a stipend for general program participation.

This fellowship is for North American artists and writers and will be conducted in English. Applications are accepted through a nomination process.

A Shared Proposal

Through a match-making process led by UnionDocs, a nominated critical writer, editor, programmer or curator will be invited to apply together with a nominated documentary artist, proposing a central question to motivate a regular intellectual and creative exchange over the fellowship period. 

This collaboration should root in the artist’s film practice and offer resources for the further development of their projects, aesthetics, and methodologies. Workshopped through a series of in-person gatherings and remote seminar discussions, the proposed focus of research will ultimately inspire a collection of writings that will be published in a small reader and activated through an UNDO Study Group.

Seeking Documentary Artists

with a celebrated body of work demonstrating significant formal experimentation.
with one or more current works-in-progress that continue or expand their practice.
with enthusiasm to engage a critical dialogue on their work alongside the work of others, especially concerning how it operates in the world and how it impacts social movements.

Seeking Writers

with established research skills and exemplary published work.
with a significant interest in artful and experimental documentary film, though writers from disciplines beyond film studies or film criticism are strongly encouraged to apply.
with experience working in an editorial capacity and interest in experimental pedagogies

Participation Requirements

All fellows must join two convenings in person; travel and lodging will be provided.

Public Seminar at DocLisboa in Lisbon, Portugal | October 22-27 2021.
Private Retreat  | Fall 2021
Public Symposium October 2022, at EMPAC at Rensselaer in Troy, New York

All fellows must be able to:

Publish an informal exchange at least once each month in a notebook for documenting the ongoing dialogue and research, open only to the other fellows. 

For the artists, this is meant to express steps in their process (test footage, research material, production notes or sketches, a list of questions or concerns to inspire research).

For writers, this is meant to build towards the final publication (a draft outline, historical examples and references, notes on readings, or critical responses to other works).

Join monthly video conferences to share progress and challenges, and offer feedback and critique.
Engage the design and production of a public curriculum that will open the questions, topics and ideas in the fellowship research. This activity will culminate in person at the symposium with an UNDO STUDY GROUP in 2022.


Writers are invited to immerse themselves in the creative practice of the artists with whom they are partnered. They will seek to understand the ways the artist’s work has operated in the world, study the theoretical underpinnings and historical precedents, learn how their methods and aesthetic devices pick up on and depart from those that have come before. 

For the writing/editor fellow, the final goal of this engagement is the publishing of a brief reader, a compendium of writing, interviews, excerpts and ephemera that approaches the research question proposed from multiple angles. A $5000 commissioning budget has been allocated from the award to be distributed at the discretion of the editor, to produce this collection of work, which will be published in a special volume by UnionDocs, but also may be distributed by other publications.

The fellow will be expected to author both an overall introduction to the reader and the central essay (~2,500 words). Our target for the reader is a collection of at least 4 works of writing, 1 interview or panel transcript, and comparable explorations of the topic with a publishing deadline at the end of 2022. That said, the form of this final publication is not confined, and we encourage ideas around different possibilities for distribution. 

Funding for The UNDO Fellowship
generously provided by