Diane Dammeyer Fellowship in Photographic Arts and Social Issues

Applications for the 2022/23 Fellowship are now open!
Deadline May 23, 2022

The Diane Dammeyer Fellowship in Photographic Arts and Social Issues creates a space for a socially engaged photographer or photo-based practitioner to immerse themselves in a Chicago community to produce a new and compelling body of photographic work. The fellowship allows the artist to create an authentic partnership between themselves and a Chicago based community partner/organization. This serves the larger goal of the fellowship, which is to use the photographic practice to elevate public collective awareness of social, economic, and cultural issues to inspire positive social change.

Columbia College Chicago is partnering with Centro Romero to host the 2022/2023 fellow.

In addition to their work with a community partner in the greater Chicago area, the fellow will also spend significant time at Columbia College Chicago, where they will connect with Photography Department faculty members and students. The fellowship will culminate with a public presentation, exhibition and/or publication of the fellow’s newly created body of work at the completion of the fellowship period.

Because of the dynamic nature of the fellowship, a concentrated commitment is required during the months of September through to May. Fellowship hours will vary, as will the activities in which the fellow will be immersed. It is an advantage if the fellow resides in Chicago during the term of the award; however, if this is not possible the applicant must provide a draft detailed schedule of when they plan to be on location in Chicago. It is required that applicants align their projects with Columbia College Chicago's academic calendar to ensure maximum exposure to the college’s student population. The fellowship in 2022/2023 will take place between Tuesday, September 6 - Friday, May 12.

A fellowship award will be granted to the successful applicant. Please refer to the FAQ section on this site to view the breakdown of the award.

Talented individuals who have completed an MFA in photography or in another related creative field or have a BA backed up with 5 years of post degree creative practice and who are committed to active immersion with a Chicago community partner/organization and Columbia College Chicago are encouraged to apply.

The fellowship is funded by former Columbia student, Diane Dammeyer. Diane's experience as a photographer for Heartland Alliance inspired her to create both an undergraduate scholarship and a postgraduate fellowship. Diane's vision is to assist artists as they conceive empathetic creative projects to elevate social justice community organizations and the people they support.


Melissa Ann Pinney ’77, Guggenheim Fellow, Receives 2021-22 Diane Dammeyer Fellowship

“Track Team, Ogden International High School” 2021; Photo by Melissa Ann Pinney


Columbia College Chicago is proud to announce the recipient of the 2021-22 Diane Dammeyer Fellowship in Photographic Arts and Social Issues as Melissa Ann Pinney.

Pinney, who is a Columbia alum and part-time faculty member, is well known for colorful documentary style images of ordinary situations showing the social construction of American female identity. She has work included in the permanent collections of museums including The Art Institute of Chicago, J. Paul Getty Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Museum of Modern Art, among others. Pinney has exhibited her work nationally and internationally and has received numerous grants from the Illinois Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Diane Dammeyer Fellowship in Photographic Arts and Social Issues, the first fellowship of its kind at Columbia, was established in 2014 by alumna Diane Dammeyer. The fellowship was created from Dammeyer’s interest in photography and passion for social justice.

The fellowship creates a space for a socially engaged photographer to produce a compelling and dynamic body of work highlighting human rights and social issues. Pinney is the seventh fellow given the opportunity to develop a new body of work in partnership with Columbia’s Photography department while immersing themselves within a Chicago community.

“Ms. Pinney has proven her capability in conveying the nuanced experiences of her subjects,” said Ross Sawyers, Chair of Columbia’s Photography Department. “Our community will benefit a great deal from watching Ms. Pinney develop her work with local public school students as she endeavors to share their engaging stories.”

“I’m honored to receive the Dammeyer Fellowship and thrilled to begin work in partnership with the renowned Photography Department of Columbia College Chicago, the Ogden International Schools, and Senn High School,” said Pinney.

get to know about Melissa's photography here: http://www.melissaannpinney.com/

Read more about our Past Dammeyer Fellowship recipients.

We acknowledge the generous support of the Heartland Alliance team, especially Betsy Leonard, for helping in the initial years of this program. We also thank Professor Emeritus Judy Natal of the Photography Department for her dedication to the stewardship and fellow mentorship of the foundational years of this initiative. We are very grateful to Filter Photo for hosting some of our completed projects. And above all, we thank Diane Dammeyer for her vision and funding for this important initiative of the Photography Department at Columbia College Chicago. We are very appreciative of the team and community at Centro Romero to host the next fellow.

2015 Dammeyer Fellow Feresheteh Toosi by Phil Dembinski

Applications for the 2022/23 Fellowship are now open!
Deadline May 23, 2022

The Diane Dammeyer Fellowship in Photographic Arts and Social Issues creates a space for a socially engaged photographer or photo-based practitioner to immerse themselves in a Chicago community to produce a new and compelling body of photographic work. The fellowship allows the artist to create an authentic partnership between themselves and a Chicago based community partner/organization. This serves the larger goal of the fellowship, which is to use the photographic practice to elevate public collective awareness of social, economic, and cultural issues to inspire positive social change.

Columbia College Chicago is partnering with Centro Romero to host the 2022/2023 fellow.

In addition to their work with a community partner in the greater Chicago area, the fellow will also spend significant time at Columbia College Chicago, where they will connect with Photography Department faculty members and students. The fellowship will culminate with a public presentation, exhibition and/or publication of the fellow’s newly created body of work at the completion of the fellowship period.

Because of the dynamic nature of the fellowship, a concentrated commitment is required during the months of September through to May. Fellowship hours will vary, as will the activities in which the fellow will be immersed. It is an advantage if the fellow resides in Chicago during the term of the award; however, if this is not possible the applicant must provide a draft detailed schedule of when they plan to be on location in Chicago. It is required that applicants align their projects with Columbia College Chicago's academic calendar to ensure maximum exposure to the college’s student population. The fellowship in 2022/2023 will take place between Tuesday, September 6 - Friday, May 12.

A fellowship award will be granted to the successful applicant. Please refer to the FAQ section on this site to view the breakdown of the award.

Talented individuals who have completed an MFA in photography or in another related creative field or have a BA backed up with 5 years of post degree creative practice and who are committed to active immersion with a Chicago community partner/organization and Columbia College Chicago are encouraged to apply.

The fellowship is funded by former Columbia student, Diane Dammeyer. Diane's experience as a photographer for Heartland Alliance inspired her to create both an undergraduate scholarship and a postgraduate fellowship. Diane's vision is to assist artists as they conceive empathetic creative projects to elevate social justice community organizations and the people they support.


Melissa Ann Pinney ’77, Guggenheim Fellow, Receives 2021-22 Diane Dammeyer Fellowship

“Track Team, Ogden International High School” 2021; Photo by Melissa Ann Pinney


Columbia College Chicago is proud to announce the recipient of the 2021-22 Diane Dammeyer Fellowship in Photographic Arts and Social Issues as Melissa Ann Pinney.

Pinney, who is a Columbia alum and part-time faculty member, is well known for colorful documentary style images of ordinary situations showing the social construction of American female identity. She has work included in the permanent collections of museums including The Art Institute of Chicago, J. Paul Getty Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Museum of Modern Art, among others. Pinney has exhibited her work nationally and internationally and has received numerous grants from the Illinois Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Diane Dammeyer Fellowship in Photographic Arts and Social Issues, the first fellowship of its kind at Columbia, was established in 2014 by alumna Diane Dammeyer. The fellowship was created from Dammeyer’s interest in photography and passion for social justice.

The fellowship creates a space for a socially engaged photographer to produce a compelling and dynamic body of work highlighting human rights and social issues. Pinney is the seventh fellow given the opportunity to develop a new body of work in partnership with Columbia’s Photography department while immersing themselves within a Chicago community.

“Ms. Pinney has proven her capability in conveying the nuanced experiences of her subjects,” said Ross Sawyers, Chair of Columbia’s Photography Department. “Our community will benefit a great deal from watching Ms. Pinney develop her work with local public school students as she endeavors to share their engaging stories.”

“I’m honored to receive the Dammeyer Fellowship and thrilled to begin work in partnership with the renowned Photography Department of Columbia College Chicago, the Ogden International Schools, and Senn High School,” said Pinney.

get to know about Melissa's photography here: http://www.melissaannpinney.com/

Read more about our Past Dammeyer Fellowship recipients.

We acknowledge the generous support of the Heartland Alliance team, especially Betsy Leonard, for helping in the initial years of this program. We also thank Professor Emeritus Judy Natal of the Photography Department for her dedication to the stewardship and fellow mentorship of the foundational years of this initiative. We are very grateful to Filter Photo for hosting some of our completed projects. And above all, we thank Diane Dammeyer for her vision and funding for this important initiative of the Photography Department at Columbia College Chicago. We are very appreciative of the team and community at Centro Romero to host the next fellow.

2015 Dammeyer Fellow Feresheteh Toosi by Phil Dembinski

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Page last updated: 20 May 2022, 10:07 AM