The LA&M Visiting Scholars Program

The Leather Archives & Museum announces the annual LA&M Visiting Scholars Program for 2023. A stipend of $1,000 will be awarded to one recipient to conduct research using LAM’s unique archival collections. Up to an
additional $1,000 of travel reimbursement will also be provided to cover costs associated with visiting LA&M for research.

The award is available to individuals who are working on a specific project that can be supported by the LAM collections. Potential applicants include individuals with academic appointments, graduate students, and
independent researchers. This is a multi-disciplinary program and the LAM welcomes proposed projects that are based in the sciences, arts, and humanities.

LA&M seeks projects which will use its archival and research collections to create new scholarship related to the history and culture of leather, fetish, kink and BDSM. LA&M welcomes proposals that may include research
leading to publication, as well as creative and expressive projects, public programs or events that share the results of the research.

The Leather Archives & Museum Visiting Scholars program is made possible through a generous grant from Leather SINS and their Chicago-based event, Kinky Kollege.

Important Dates:

  • January 23, 2023 – applications begin
  • March 31, 2023 – application deadline
  • April 17, 2023 – notification of award
  • May 1, 2023 – April 30, 2024 – research project conducted

Application Process

Your complete application package must be emailed by the deadline and must include all of the following:

  • Applicant name, mailing address, phone number, email address and institutional affiliation (if applicable)
  • Current Curriculum Vitae or Resume
  • One letter of reference (submitted by the reference provider directly)
  • Project title and 200-300 word abstract that can be used publicly should your project be selected
  • Brief narrative responses to the following questions:
  1. What is the subject of your research?
  2. What is the scope of your project?
  3. What specific resources in LA&M collections do you plan to use?
  4. What is the anticipated product of your research?
  5. What contribution to current knowledge will this project make?
  6. If part of a larger project in progress, how much work have you completed?
  7. How did you hear about the Visiting Scholars Program at the Leather Archives & Museum? (This is for planning purposes only, and will not be used to evaluate applications.)

The application packet must be emailed to

by the applicant. The letter of reference should be emailed to the same address by the reference provider.

An email verification will be sent upon receipt of your application. All application materials must be received by 5pm central time, March 31, 2023.

The LA&M Visiting Scholars selection panel is composed of board members, interdisciplinary scholars, activists and LA&M staff. Your application will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Applicant’s demonstrated experience in related scholarly research or comparable projects
  • Anticipated success of project
  • Research subject supported by LA&M collections
  • Research in an underrepresented or marginalized area

Past Recipients

2010 Anthony Easton, University of Toronto
2011 David K. Johnson, Ph.D. University of South Florida

2012 Amber R. Clifford-Napoleone, Ph.D. University of Central Missouri

2012 Honorable Mention Steven Ruszczycky, University at Buffalo, SUNY
2014 Lily Emerson, University of Auckland, New Zealand
2014 Honorable Mention Ying-Chao Kao, Rutgers University
2015 Anna Robinson, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands and Central European University, Budapest, Hungary
2015 Honorable Mention Tara Burke, Independent scholar and art historian

2016 Francisco Ibàñez-Carrasco Ph.D. and Erica Meiners, Ph.D.

2016 Scott Herring, Indiana University
2017 Kirin Wachter-Grene, New York University
2018 Heather Raquel Phillips, University of Pennsylvania
2020 Michael Thomas Vassallo, Temple University
2022 Jay Sosa, Bowdoin College

2022 Honorable Mention Lucie Drdová, CARAS
2023 Alexandra Grolimund, University of Essex
2023 Honorable Memtion, Kassandra Sparks, UC Berkeley

Founded in 1991, the Leather Archives & Museum has become recognized worldwide as a significant center dedicated to the compilation, preservation, and maintenance of primary materials on the leather, kink, BDSM and fetish
communities and their cultures in both physical and electronic formats. Our museum galleries serve to present educational and historical material that highlights the silent histories of marginalized and under-represented
communities while the archives and library serve the needs of scholars, writers and artists.

The LA&M is located on Greenview Avenue in Chicago near Loyola University. The building houses the Teri Rose Library with holdings of over 3,000 books and 12,600 journals and periodicals, a 1425 sq. ft. archival storage
space, and eight exhibit galleries. the Guest Artist Gallery (GAG) with rotating exhibits that celebrate contemporary artists who inspire dialogues related to Leather, kink, BDSM and fetish and a community space used for
programming and special events.

The LA&M is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a charity under the 501 c (3) provisions of the Internal Revenue Code. Nearly all income is derived from the generous support of members and organizations within the
leather/kink/BDSM/fetish communities.

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