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15th Annual BMI Fellowship

The Woody Guthrie Fellowship is an annual research program open to scholars pursuing topics or themes related to American folk music progenitor Woody Guthrie. First established in 2005, the program offers an unprecedented opportunity for in-depth exploration into the many facets of Guthrie’s life, legacy, and contribution to American and world culture.

A prolific singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, Woody Guthrie was not only one of the most influential musicians in American history, but also one of the most prominent cultural activists of his generation. Much of his vast body of work advanced social commentary on democracy, human rights, and economic equality, epitomized by his folk classic “This Land Is Your Land.”

The BMI Foundation, in cooperation with the Woody Guthrie Center, annually awards up to $5,000 for scholarly research at the extensive Woody Guthrie Archives, a paper-based research repository located in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Archives currently house over 15,000 items—the largest collection of Woody Guthrie primary resource materials anywhere in the world—including Guthrie’s original songwriting notebooks, journals, manuscripts, photographs, correspondences, personal papers, scrapbooks, artwork, and audio recordings. Scholars pursuing research related to Guthrie’s life, historical context, creative works, and musical legacy, as well as his philosophical, political, or humanistic ideals, are encouraged to apply for this prestigious fellowship.

For over a decade, the program has funded a variety of extensive research projects culminating in books, essays, lectures, curricula, public performances, artwork, and other classroom materials that illustrate Guthrie’s lasting cultural impact. Past recipients include award-winning journalist Bart Bull, filmmaker and author Sandra Hale Schuman, and producer and professor Billy Yalowitz.

We are pleased to announce the 2020 Woody Guthrie Fellowship recipients Andy Teirstein and Stephen Moore. The 15th Annual Fellowship provides research support to scholars pursuing topics or themes related to American folk music progenitor Woody Guthrie. We look forward to hosting them both at the Woody Guthrie Archives in Tulsa, OK later this year.

Stephen Moore is a current PhD student in history at the University of California, Riverside.  He earned an MA in history from California State University, Long Beach, where his master’s thesis centered on Folk Revivalism in the late 1950s.  Stephen’s work explores how music was understood and categorized in the public sphere and how discussions of folk music intersect with ideas about identity.  His current research examines folk music in the context of Cold War culture.

Composer and scholar, Andy Teirstein, is inspired by the rich and diverse folk roots of modern culture. His music has been described by The New York Times as “magical” and “superbly crafted.” Teirstein has developed, written, and directed numerous musical theater pieces, including the award-winning show Woody Sez, depicting the life of Woody Guthrie. He is currently an Arts Professor at Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, and Director of the Global Institute for Advanced Study Working Group Translucent Borders, which explores the role of dance and music at cultural and geographic borders.

Congratulations, Stephen and Andy!

Applications submissions are currently closed; please stay posted for the next application cycle.

In order to be eligible for the Woody Guthrie Fellowship, all applicants must have a project-based research topic that:

  1. Leads to the creation of an original scholarly publication or product (i.e. book, article, etc.).
  2. Is sufficiently extensive as to require a suggested minimum of two weeks of research at the Woody Guthrie Archives.

Join the waitlist for the next application cycle here