The Monument Lab Fellowship program returns with a new cohort of 2024 fellows

The Monument Lab Fellowship program returns this year with a new cohort of monumental thought leaders around the theme and practice of “bearing witness.” As an integral part of our work, the Fellows Program is designed to gather and support leaders from the disciplines of public art, public history, poetry, civics, law, new media, ecology, and/or education in developing breakthrough ideas that aim to shift mindsets and realities in the field of monument changemaking. This year’s Fellows are free to pursue a new project or further develop an existing public-facing project already in their pipeline that can be brought forward through a Monument Lab partnership.

The Monument Lab fellowship program was created in 2019 to recognize and support individuals around the country whose ongoing projects addressed long term inequities in monuments and engage new creative approaches to public art, history, and memory. Across two previous cohorts, the Fellows participated in dialogues around questions of how to memorialize the past as a means to foster new narratives and offer critical and creative memory interventions in public spaces. 

The 2024 Fellowship cohort is composed of four fellows whose work, through reimagining of the act of commemoration, poignantly and powerfully embodies the ethos of “bearing witness.” Through an internal nomination and vetting process, we have selected four cross-sector monument changemaker fellows this year: 

  • Artist, activist, and research-architect Imani Jacqueline Brown is adopting an "ancestors'–eye–view" to investigate the entanglements between antebellum Black burial grounds in Louisiana's 'Cancer Alley' and sacred groves across the African continent.

  • Author and organizer Alexis Pauline Gumbs, inspired by Audre Lorde’s last writings, is conducting listening sessions with hurricane survivors and climate refugees toward imagining ecological shoreline monuments. 

  • Poet, translator, and physician Fady Joudah is completing a collection of essays titled Palestine in English and a memoir of Palestinian stories titled the remainder is in your life, and is exploring collaborations with playwrights and filmmakers toward “mystic memory.” 

  • Visual artist Cannupa Hanska Luger is designing a war memorial to the millions of buffalo slaughtered through U.S. westward expansion.

The 2024 fellowship will be 6 months long, running from May 1, 2024 to November 1, 2024. Each fellow will receive a $20,000 personal award and $15,000 in exploratory funds for their project. They will produce a final report in the form of a proposal, plan, essay, or another format to share or carry their project forward.

Major Support for the 2024 Monument Lab Fellowship program is provided by the Mellon Foundation.