Qatar National Library Fellowship Program


Clock tower and shuyoukh masjid

Qatar National Library (QNL) is launching its inaugural research and documentation fellowship program in Qatar and invites applicants to the six-month residential program to research historical materials about Qatar.

The QNL Fellowship Program welcomes applications from academics, historians, independent researchers, photographers, and filmmakers with established achievements in their fields of research and interest. Scholars pursuing doctoral, postdoctoral, or advanced research are also encouraged to apply. Documentarians with photography and filmmaking talents are invited to draw inspiration from QNL’s collection, as well as create engaging and pertinent content directed at the wider community by documenting Qatar’s history.

This invitation to apply for the fellowship is only open to researchers and documentarians living in the country. It will focus on Qatar’s history based on certain pre-defined topics. Recipients of the fellowship are expected to focus their time on researching QNL's collection and/or documenting the rich history of Qatar.

Terms of the Award

  • The fellowship is awarded for a period of six months.
  • A stipend of QAR 6,000 per month will be provided to the fellows.
  • Fellows shall be responsible for obtaining all required licenses, permits, permissions and other authorization to use any photographs, copyrighted materials or other property, as well as any rights belonging to third parties that are used for the project.

Fellowship Topics for 2024

  1. A Historical Analysis of the Seasonal Cycle and Lifestyles of the Qatari People in the Pre-Oil Era: A Sustainability Perspective
  2. The Kashta Tradition: Its Historical Significance and Role in Qatari Society
  3. The Changing Urban Landscape of Qatar: An Examination of Souqs, Architecture, and Social Life
  4. The Development of Architecture in Doha: A Historical Perspective
  5. The Historical and Cultural Significance of Traditional Games in Qatar
  6. Western Travel Literature and Perceptions of the Gulf/Qatar: A Critical Analysis
  7. Mapping Photographic Collections in Qatar: An Analysis of Practices around Photography and the Role of Different Studios
  8. The Evolution and Impact of Aviation in Qatar: A Historical Study

Obligations of QNL

  • A research space at QNL and internet access.
  • Access to QNL’s Heritage Library collection (as per guidelines and procedures).
  • Introductions to QNL staff members who will recommend resources from the collections.

Obligations of the Fellowship

All fellows are required to sign an agreement to participate in the fellowship and permit QNL to publish all or parts of their work in the Qatar History Project (Thakira), as well as abide by the following, based on the type of fellowship they apply for: 

  • Written Research Fellowship:

        o Submit one research paper of a minimum of 6,000 words within three months of completing the fellowship. The research paper must be reviewed by an external reviewer before submission. The fellow must share the name, title, and contact details for the reviewer by the fourth month of the fellowship.

  • Documentation Fellowship:

        o Submit the output of the fellowship in the form of photographs, films exhibitions (digital or physical), etc. 

        o Submit a final report of 1,000 to 3,000 words on the project, detailing the thought processes behind the works.

  • All Fellows:

         o Attend and actively participate in scheduled open discussions about the research projects with other fellows.
         o Engage in scheduled sessions with QNL librarians and staff on their use of QNL’s collections.
         o Deliver a public presentation, which may be live-streamed, based on their fellowship research.
         o Arrange for monthly progress meetings as per the submitted milestones set in the project schedule.
         o Acknowledge QNL in presentations or publications of the works resulting from the residency. 
         o Grant QNL the first right to publish the projects where appropriate, including repackaging the content in different formats. For papers submitted for publishing, these will be subjected to editorial changes where necessary. Where works are not published or used by QNL, the work must acknowledge the support of QNL in all future uses.
         o Prepare and share feedback and analysis of the fellowship experience within one month of the end of the fellowship period.

Who Can Apply?

Applications are open to researchers, and documentarians based in Qatar specializing in photography and filmmaking. They should possess relevant credentials and have an established record of achievement in their chosen field.

Applicants must be able to dedicate at least 20-25 hours per week to the project and be proficient in either Arabic or English.

Specific requirements for each type of fellowship includes:

  • Written Research Fellowship:

          o A postgraduate degree 

  • Documentary Fellowship

          o A postgraduate degree or professional experience in historical/anthropological videography and photography.

What to Submit

Each applicant must submit:

  • A completed online application form.
  • A detailed proposal that does not exceed 1,000 words that includes the following:

           o An outline of the selected topic or theme of research.
           o Description of the intended outcome of the project, including the form of output (written research, photographs, filmed interviews, documentary, etc.), and the possible platforms where this output can be showcased.
           o Key milestones and estimated time needed for each milestone.
           o How the selected projects will provide new perspectives on Qatar’s history.

  • A curriculum vitae (CV) that includes the following information (if applicable):

           o Highest educational qualification received.
           o Details of research awards or residencies previously and concurrently held.
           o Details of professional seminars, conference papers, or public lectures presented (if any).
           o A list of major publications and exhibitions participated in (if any).
           o Details of any other past or current involvement in creative projects.

  • A portfolio of at least two (2) previous writing samples (for Written Research Fellowship applicants) or documentary or creative work (for Documentation Fellowship applicants) that demonstrate the applicant’s capability.
  • Reference letters from two referees (academic referees are required for written research fellows) that should address the following:

           o The applicant’s qualifications, ability and experience.
           o The quality of the applicant’s previous works.
           o The applicant’s demonstrated capacity to complete projects within a reasonable time frame, and the feasibility of the project in terms of available resources and time or other constraints.
           o Whether the project will make a substantial contribution to knowledge in the field.
           o Contact details.

All information related to education or professional experience will be accepted in digital photocopied format when attached at the time of application. However, once awarded the fellowship, the original or certified copy must be presented for verification.

Important Dates

Applications should be submitted through the online form here by 20 August 2024. Late or incomplete applications will not be accepted. Shortlisted applicants may be invited for an interview. Notification of acceptance or rejection will be sent by 26 September 2024, and the fellowship shall commence on 6 October 2024.

Selection Criteria

Applicants will be assessed based on the following criteria:

  • Unique approach to the fellowship topics.
  • A strong track record of research and creative achievement demonstrated through a portfolio of previous work and referees’ letters. For photography and filmmaking projects, applicants must possess the requisite skills and software to independently develop and deliver the project. 
  • An effective concept and project plan explaining the relevance of the Library collections and the Qatari landscape to the project, and how they will be utilized to achieve the objectives of the work and fellowship.
  • The proposal must be achievable within the six-month timeframe.