The Royal Anthropological Institute Library Fellowship

Amount: Maximum £1,500
Application Deadline: 20 October 2017, 5.00pm (GMT)
Themes for 2018: anthropology of the environment; anthropology of development; historical anthropology; anthropology of migration; anthropology of war and peace


The Royal Anthropological Institute invites applications for its 2018 Library Fellowship.  This year’s fellowship will be awarded as a memorial to the life and work of New Zealand-born social anthropologist and long-time RAI Fellow David C. Pitt (1938-2016).  Prof Pitt was a scholar of international stature.  He held degrees from the Universities of Auckland and Oxford and taught at institutions in the UK, Canada, New Zealand, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and the US.  In 1980 he joined the staff of the United Nations and settled in Geneva, where he continued to write and publish almost until the end of his life.  After Prof Pitt’s death in 2016, his family generously donated his extensive personal library to the RAI.  The themes for the 2018 RAI Library Fellowship accordingly reflect several of the subdisciplines most central to Prof Pitt’s thinking and to which he made innovative contributions.  Applicants are encouraged to propose research agendas that focus on one or more of these themes.

The overall aims of the RAI Library Fellowship are to increase awareness of the resources and collection strengths of the London-based Anthropology Library and to support scholarship germane to these resources and strengths.  Housed in the British Museum’s Anthropology Library and Research Centre, the Anthropology Library combines the holdings of two antecedent bodies: the Library of the Royal Anthropological Institute and the Ethnography Library of the British Museum.  As the sum of these two major collections, the Anthropology Library constitutes one of the world’s most extensive and historically significant repositories of resources for scholarship in anthropology.  It also continues, through a broad-scope acquisitions policy, to amass the latest leading publications in the field.  Today, the Library provides public and specialist access to over 120,000 volumes and around 4,000 periodical titles, ranging in date from the 16th century to the present.

The Anthropology Library has assembled especially strong holdings pertaining to the history of anthropology, material cultures from around the world, and regional ethnography and is particularly interested in funding research that draws on these specific resources.  For the 2018 award, the RAI Library Committee will consider proposals for research that, in ways relevant to the Library’s holdings, address the themes stated above.  For further details about the Library, please consult,_oceania,_americas/research_facilities.aspx

Terms of the RAI Library Fellowship

  • Fellows are expected to log a minimum of 80 hours in the Anthropology Library and Research Centre at the British Museum during its normal opening hours.
  • Fellowship awards offer funds up to a maximum of £1,500 for allowable expenses, such as travel, accommodation, and subsistence costs, to support the in-library research requirement.  It is the responsibility of the Fellow to submit evidence of expenses incurred in fulfilment of the in-library research requirement.  Applicants should be aware that costs, such as international travel and accommodation in London (if needed), may exceed the funds offered.
  • Any tax implications for the recipient must be determined and handled appropriately by the recipient.
  • The successful applicant will be made a Fellow of the RAI for the year of award.  For further information about the entitlements of RAI Fellows, see:
  • The Fellowship recipient may be invited to present his or her research in the RAI Research Seminar series.
  • The Fellowship recipient must submit a report describing his or her research in the Anthropology Library and Research Centre within two months of the conclusion of the award.
  • The Fellowship recipient must gift to the Anthropology Library a copy of any publication based on the research supported by the Fellowship.
  • An invitation to take up the Fellowship will be made subject to agreement on the dates for fulfilling the in-library research requirement.  Applicants should indicate their preferred dates in the covering letter submitted with their proposal.
  • The Fellowship should be taken up between 1 January 2018 and 31 December 2018.
  • Where applicable, the Fellow is responsible for ensuring he or she has the appropriate visa to support a research visit to the UK.

How to apply

Eligibility: Applicants must hold the Ph.D. or equivalent, but need not be affiliated with an institution.  Applicants do not need to be Fellows or Members of the RAI.

Please submit the following documents by 5.00pm (GMT) on 20 October 2017:

  • A one-page covering letter, giving your full contact details and stating clearly the preferred dates for in-library research.
  • A proposal for the work you intend to carry out, stating clearly how it relates to the 2018 themes and holdings of the Anthropology Library – to be no more than two pages (double-spaced, 12-point font).
  • Your CV.
  • One confidential letter of reference to be emailed separately by the referee before the deadline.

The documents should be sent by email to:

Amanda Vinson
Royal Anthropological Institute
50 Fitzroy Street
London W1T 5BT