2018 UCLA Activist-in-Residence Program

2018 Activist-in-Residence Program

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With a shared commitment to advance democracy through research and alliances with civil rights organizations and progressive social movements, the UCLA Asian American Studies Center and the Institute on Inequality and Democracy at UCLA Luskin have partnered to offer UCLA's Activist-in-Residence Program during the 2018 Winter and Spring Quarters.

For nearly 50 years, the UCLA Asian American Studies Center has enriched and informed not only the UCLA campus, but also regional, national, and global communities about the long neglected history, rich cultural heritage, and present condition of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in our society.

Launched in 2016, the Institute on Inequality and Democracy has adopted a similar mission to join the growing call for rigorous analysis of the processes through which inequality has been produced and sustained. We support research developed in partnership with social movements and community-based organizing. With an emphasis on decolonizing the university, the Institute is committed to creating new models of public scholarship for students, especially undergraduates.

Our organizations recognize that the work of social change is demanding. It is our objective to help sustain the activists, artists, and public intellectuals involved in this work through the UCLA Activist-in-Residence program. We believe this collaboration will help strengthen the infrastructure of social transformation by providing leaders/activists with the time and space to recharge and to reflect upon a complex challenge facing their communities, while also allowing UCLA students to develop or strengthen their own commitment to social justice.

Specifically, the goals of this program are to:

  • Provide artists, community activists and public intellectuals the opportunity to explore or study a complex issue and perhaps to imagine new approaches or scholarship that will improve the lives of people in their community.
  • Increase the participation of progressive thought leaders, shapers, and shakers 1) at every level of government 2) in nonprofit organizations and 3) in groups that influence public policy and grassroots organizing.
  • Encourage collaborative teaching and learning communities that create new models of public scholarship and engagement for undergraduate students. For example, developing narratives that intersect the personal with political empowerment and link students' lives to broader social processes, thereby "turning the university inside out."

Program Dates and Award

The 2018 residency will take place during Winter Quarter from January 8 - March 31, but Residents may extend their appointment through Spring Quarter, June 30. Each Resident Activist will receive a part- time UCLA appointment, a $7500 stipend, and may receive up to $2500 in research support through expense reimbursement (E.g., to host workshops with UCLA students and community residents, to hire a UCLA research assistant, etc.). In addition, the Fellows will receive office space at the Luskin School of Public Affairs, paid parking and campus access to UCLA Library research facilities. This residency does not include benefits.

Two fellows for the 2018 Activist-in-Residence program will be selected - one for the UCLA Asian American Studies Center and one for the Institute's Irvine Fellow on Urban Life. Interested individuals may apply for only one of the following fellowships:

  • The UCLA Asian American Studies Center Fellow: This fellowship is made possible through the Yuji Ichioka and Emma Gee Endowment in Social Justice and Immigration Studies. The fellow will focus on addressing social inequality in Asian American and Pacific Islander communities by participating in a variety of events, such as presentations, class visits, workshops, panels, activist projects, video projects, and Center meetings.
  • The Irvine Fellow on Urban Life is a residence program funded by the James Irvine Foundation established to bring to the Institute scholar-activists who will undertake social movement research and pedagogy directly concerned with equity at the urban scale -- preferably in one or more of the following themes:
    • Housing Justice in Unequa lCities
    • Decarcerating Los Angele sand Other Cities
    • Indebted: Organizing Debt in the Age of Finance

While the Irvine fellow is not required to teach a course, we encourage student engagement through workshops, class visits, community meetings or field research.

Fellow Profile

Applicants should be highly motivated individuals seeking to expand perspectives and networks to impact progressive social change. Successful applicants will have at least five years of relevant movement-building or related work experience and a demonstrated interest in filling the gaps that exist between traditional public policies and underserved low-income, immigrant, and communities of color. If currently employed, applicants should secure written support from a supervisor affirming their participation in the program's activities. At this time, we are only able to offer the program to those already residing in the Los Angeles region. We hope to expand our reach in the future.


The UCLA Activist-in-Residence program is designed for people who are mid- or later in their career and who have demonstrated leadership in nonprofit and community-serving organizations. Interested applicants should:

  • Be 18 or older.
  • Live and work in Los Angeles region.
  • Be available part-time during the residency period (January 8 - June 30, 2018).
  • Currently work full-time or have recently held a senior leadership position at a community group or government agency that works for underserved low-income, immigrant, and communities of color.
  • Be committed to working for social justice.
  • Be committed to building a cross-disciplinary network of leaders and scholars.
  • Present a clearly articulated statement about what s/he hope to gain from the fellowship and what issues you would like to explore. For example, how resources would be used for reflection and renewal, in addition to working on and addressing a complex challenge in her/his field.
  • Be able to converse in English and/or provide translator for all group meetings.
  • Not be a current UCLA or university student or employee.

Application Process

Before applying, please be sure you meet the criteria and can fulfill the requirements of the program. Each application must include the following:

  • Cover letter that includes your contact information and indicates to which fellowship you are applying: The UCLA Asian American Studies Center Fellow or The Irvine Fellow on Urban Life.
  • Personal statement: No more than 500 words indicating the reason(s) why you are applying for this residency, what you hope to gain from the experience or what questions you hope to explore, and how your background is relevant to your goals. We are also interested in learning your plans on disseminating any work produced during the residencies that fulfills a community outreach and/or public scholarship agenda.
  • Resume.
  • Contact information for two (2) current references. If applicable, include a letter of recommendation from the applicant's employer indicating endorsement of the residency proposal.
  • Application deadline: Wednesday, November 1, 2017, 5 pm. Applicants will be notified by December 4, 2017.

Application materials must be submitted by the deadline as a single PDF portfolio to the following email address: challengeineq@luskin.ucla.edu. In the subject heading, please enter: 2018 UCLA Activist-in- Residence Program + the name of the fellowship (Asian American Studies Center Fellow or The Irvine Fellow on Urban Life).

If you have any questions regarding eligibility or the application procedure, please contact Asian American Studies Center at melanyd@ucla.edu or the Institute on Inequality and Democracy at guihama@luskin.ucla.edu.




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