Vernacular Architecture Forum’s Ambassadors Awards program provides funding for groups of students, accompanied by faculty sponsors, to attend the VAF annual conference. The program seeks to enhance VAF’s recruitment of students, to diversify VAF’s membership and broaden interest in its work, to support academic programs that teach vernacular architecture, and to increase VAF’s visibility on campuses.
A selection committee will choose Ambassadors Award recipients based on the strength of a written proposal, giving special consideration to the stated program goals. North American institutions are eligible to apply and may send both undergraduate and graduate students to the conference. The monetary value of awards is determined at the discretion of the committee, and will depend on such factors as travel distance to the annual conference site, number of students involved, total applications accepted, and total funds available. Allocations per institution are limited to $2500 overall, with a maximum of $500 per student. VAF encourages (but does not require) award recipients to apply for matching funds from their home institution.
Students attending the conference as part of an Ambassadors Award group are expected to act as “Ambassadors” for the VAF, working to promote the study, documentation, and preservation of ordinary buildings and landscapes both during and after the event. At the conference, they are encouraged to make use of social media to inform audiences at their own institutions and beyond about unfolding events and experiences. Following conference attendance, each group must also submit a written summary of their conference experiences to the VAF fellowship chair. Select summaries, and a group photograph, will be published in the Vernacular Architecture Newsletter.
Ambassadors Award recipients are not eligible for the award in the subsequent year.
To apply, please submit a two to three page proposal that helps the selection committee learn more about your program or department, its relationship to vernacular architecture, and your reasons for wishing to bring students to the next VAF conference. The proposal may be submitted by one or more students, or by their faculty sponsor. If a student or students submit the application, a letter of support from the faculty sponsor must accompany it.
The first page of your proposal should include: Institution and program or department applying, faculty sponsor, address, telephone number, e-mail address, and the names of the students who will attend the conference, if possible.
Consider the following questions in your proposal:
a) In what ways is your program involved in the study of vernacular architecture? Include course descriptions, lists of field studies, workshops, seminars, student initiatives, etc.
b) Why do you wish to send a group of students to the next VAF conference? How would conference attendance complement the activities, coursework and goals of your program? What other reasons motivate your program’s interest in having students attend the conference?
c) How many students do you propose to send? By what process will you select them?
d) How you envisage your students’ attendance at the VAF will generate further interest in the VAF on your campus or in the local community? Please specify the ways in which selected students would act as "Ambassadors" for the VAF upon their return to campus. (Ideas we have come up with include a departmental brown bag to share their experiences of the annual meeting, speaking at the local Rotary Club or preservation group, coordinating a day of fieldwork, and submitting paper proposals for the following year’s annual conference). We encourage and welcome other ideas of how students can act as ambassadors for the VAF.
Each application must include a budget for projected expenses and income related to sending students to the annual conference. An estimated budget should include travel to the conference site, housing, conference registration, and any miscellaneous expenses. Ambassadors Awards are designed to cover conference registration costs (basic registration, tours, VAF membership, banquet) or under special circumstances when conference registration is low in comparison to travel and lodging, other approved expenses. Full-time faculty, who act as sponsors accompanying the Ambassadors, are not eligible for funding. When estimating conference expenses, use registration and other fees from previous conferences as a guideline.
Please submit an electronic copy of your application in PDF format to:
Paula A. Mohr at firstname.lastname@example.org
Or mail three paper copies to:
Paula A. Mohr
Chair, Fellowships Committee
7005 Horton Avenue
Urbandale, Iowa 50322
For the 2013 Conference in Gaspé, Quebec, Canada, the Ambassadors Awards application deadline is February 1, 2013.
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