Community Fellowship Opportunity

From the Personal to the Planetary: Interaction, Activism and Futures

The Brigstow Institute and Cabot Institute for the Environment’s new Personal to the Planetary (P2P) Community Fellowships will bring together eight talented environmental actors, drawn from researchers, community groups, the voluntary sector, individuals or artists from a variety of professions and disciplines for a deep and sustained engagement around the climate emergency, and discussions about how voices usually absent from these debates can be brought to the fore. 

These P2P Community Fellowships each provide £5,000 to cover an individual’s time only (VAT inclusive). Additional resources will be made available for events and to support the group over the duration of the P2P Community Fellowship. 

Key points 

  • Deadline: 10:00am, 19th February 2024 
  • Funding available: £5,000 per fellowship (VAT inclusive) 
  • Number of fellowships available: a total of eight P2P Community Fellowships positions (four academic fellowships drawn from the University of Bristol only, four fellowships for those beyond the university) 
  • Timescale of fellowships: fellowships begin June 2024 for 10 months with some flexibility.   

Background 

The Brigstow Institute and Cabot Institute for the Environment are collaborating on an initiative called From the Personal to the Planetary: Interaction, Activism and Futures. The initiative seeks to activate a broad range of people and stakeholders in considering climate change and responding to the climate emergency. Our approach is co-creative, inter-sectional and embraces the idea that impactful research requires open channels, different perspectives, and ideas.  

The initiative so far has engaged people through excursions and conversations with critical friends. A film has been produced by artists Close and Remote and filmmaker Jon Dovey that reflects upon the excursions , and we have been considering the next steps for the initiative.

Through the activities so far it has become clear that time is a crucial facilitator of strong interdisciplinarity working and thinking. This P2P Community Fellowship model has emerged as an opportunity to give people time to think and engage with others. 

The P2P Community Fellowships 

We will support the P2P Community Fellowships over 10 months to creatively encourage interdisciplinary and community collaborations through this initiative and to develop a core inter-disciplinary group to provide deep and sustained engagement in this initiative. 

There is potential for radical interdisciplinary thinking as well as co-produced and creative approaches. We recognise that working across boundaries takes more time and can also require relationships over longer periods rather than short-term episodes of interaction typical of a small research project. These P2P Community Fellowships aim to create a wide-ranging community of thinkers and environmental actors that can effect change. 

Areas of focus for the P2P Community Fellowships 

Each fellowship should consider the following questions as part of their work: 

  • How do you engage more people in this conversation? 
  • How do we collaborate? 
  • How do we tell stories? 
  • How do we understand complexity/intersectionality? 

We want to engage a group of curious people wanting to deeply consider the issues leading to transformation, change or action. They will explore the challenge of working together across boundaries around different lived experiences, societal challenges, disciplinary disconnection and professional practices. They also might consider scale – exploring how the magnitude of the planetary crisis potentially disempowers people from feeling they can take action on the climate crisis. This is exacerbated by the challenges of working across different scales of research and of action. The P2P Community Fellows will have time to work within communities and to also come together as a cohort. 

Expectations and indicative outputs 

We would expect at least one blog post from each P2P Community Fellow, and joint outputs as appropriate and in discussion with the cohort. The latter, for example, might include creation of a network, collaborative research bids, academic writing and creative outputs leading to, for example, an exhibition/showcase/public event. 

P2P Community Fellowship cohort model 

We will use a cohort model that will also enable honest and open sharing of ideas and the emergence of possible new threads of activities that can then be taken forward afterwards.  

The cohort meetings offer a space to share ideas, offer peer support and re-imagine futures. These will be a mix of facilitated experiences or excursions, and a space to co-curate future meetings. These are a mandatory expectation of the fellowships. The proposed dates for the cohort meetings are: 

  • Thursday 6 June 2024 (whole day residential (including overnight)) 
  • Wednesday 14 August 2024 (tbc) 
  • Monday 4 November 2024 (tbc) 
  • Tuesday 4 February 2025 (tbc) 
  • Saturday 26 April 2025 (tbc) 

Apart from the first meeting, these will be a mix of whole and half days. 

The cohort meetings will be an important part of the process for sharing ideas, exchanging knowledge and consolidating learning. They are likely to be less based on reporting/discussion but more experiential in nature and will take place every two to three months over the duration of the fellowship. We also want to co-curate some of the cohort days with the fellows or respond to the fellows’ suggestions for activities to bring the cohort together most effectively. 

We will be continuing the relationship with P2P creative associates, Close and Remote, to ensure continuity from previous activities to the fellowships. They will also work flexibly with us and the P2P Community Fellows to create the spaces that enable the fellows to explore ideas without limiting new avenues of enquiry or outcomes. 

Other support that we will offer the P2P Community Fellows includes: 

  • Admin support – Brigstow can provide tailored admin support for fellows to assist fellows with collaborative and co-produced work  
  • Honorary Associate status for fellows drawn from beyond the university. This allows access to the University’s buildings, libraries and/or IT systems 

The P2P Community Fellows 

We are looking for P2P Community Fellows who: 

  • Have a keen interest in the climate emergency and a track record of research/practice in this area 
  • Are willing to engage in creative approaches and critical making (critical thinking with hands-on, creative activities) 
  • Value that knowledge creation lies everywhere and not just within the university setting 
  • Are people with ideas for creating networks that are planned and run equitably and fairly 
  • Have a key interest in understanding the complexities of engaging a wide range of people and communities with the climate crisis 
  • Are willing to engage with the cohort of recruited fellows, through cohort meetings and other activities, to share knowledge, co-create and actively contribute to your peer network. 

Eligibility 

To be eligible to receive the P2P Community Fellowship you must: 

  • Have an established practice (academic, community, creative) that uses co-produced and interdisciplinary approaches 
  • Have the right to work in the UK for the period of the fellowship
  • Be based in Bristol or the surrounding area and happy to attend cohort meetings in Bristol 

Those applying from the University of Bristol should already be employed there but can be from any Pathway (1, 2 or 3). 

The funding 

We recognise that people’s time is valuable and that the fellows will need to take time out to engage with the fellowship. Each P2P Community Fellow will receive a total of £5,000 funding to support direct salary (day rates) or backfill to enable the fellows to fully engage in with the P2P Community Fellowship. This will include the cost of attendance at the five cohort meeting days and is inclusive of VAT so please cost accordingly. 

There is also an additional £4,000 to be shared by the cohort for workshops and activities and to support specific access needs. This amount will be reviewed once the Fellowships start and when activities are agreed. 

Before you apply 

Applicants from the University of Bristol will have to complete a Worktribe costing prior to applying and receive approval from your Head of School. These Fellowships will provide £5,000 to cover staff time only e.g., teaching or related duties. All applicants must discuss this with their Head of School (or representative) in advance of submitting an application and agree how the £5,000 will be used to free up the applicant’s time such that they can carry out the fellowship. Your costing specialist will be able to help, but please follow the Brigstow-specific guidance at https://www.bristol.ac.uk/brigstow/research-admin/worktribe/

How to apply 

The deadline for application is 10:00am, 19th February 2024.  

To apply, send a covering letter and CV to hello-brigstow@bristol.ac.uk.  To ensure a fair assessment process, the covering letter and CV should not exceed three sides of A4, and no smaller than font size 12. If you prefer to apply in alternative media, then there is the option to do a video submission. This should be no longer than 5 minutes and needs to be sent to us as an MPEG video file or YouTube private link. You should ensure you cover the same information as you would in a covering letter and CV. 

We have not suggested a structure for how you should frame your covering letter/ video as we are seeking a mix of approaches. We ask that you consider the guidance carefully, the focus of the fellowships and the wider aims of the initiative and provide the assessment panel with a good understanding of the skills and experience you bring. In your letter of support/ video, please ensure that you indicate how you meet the eligibility criteria and the criteria for the fellowships more generally and indicate any access needs you have. 

Applicants from the University of Bristol: Please note that you cannot submit your application to Brigstow before the costing and finance approvals (including from your Head of School) within the university are completed. Please include your Worktribe reference in your covering letter.  

The assessment process 

Applications will be considered by a panel drawn from the Brigstow Steering Group, from our wider community of Brigstow award holders from beyond the university sector and a member of the Cabot Institute for the Environment’s Leadership team. 

The panel will be looking to appoint fellows to cover a range of backgrounds and career stages, with varying experience, approaches and expertise. 

The assessment panel will meet late in February and applicants will be informed of the outcomes by 8th March 2024. 

Questions from potential candidates

Do you have a question about this fellowship opportunity? This page contains answers to the queries we have had so far. 

Personal to the Planetary Community Fellowships Information Webinar

We held a webinar and Q & A around this opportunity on 31 January 2024, 1pm - 2pm.

Watch the webinar here:

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