The Architectural League of New York and its online publication focused on building cities, Urban omnibus, have partnered with the Urban Design Forum to call for applications for the New City Critics Fellowship Program. Launched on February 3, the call is seeking a total of five critics from underrepresented backgrounds who will form the inaugural cohort of the 18-month program, which the launch announcement says seeks to “empower new, fearless and to challenge the ways we design, plan and develop our cities” through mentorships, guest lectures, networking and the production of new work for publication in Urban omnibus and other leading publications covering cities and the built environment.
New City Critics was created in honor of the late Michael Sorkin.
The process is open to applicants from all walks of life across a range of mediums – writers, scholars, designers, artists, advocates, curators, organizers, podcasters, organizers, photojournalists, and more. – although all potential scholarship recipients must live or work in New York. Metropolitan area of the city for the duration of the program and demonstrate a commitment to “producing critical work and projects on the urban experience and design of cities” for consideration. As Urban omnibus explained, “New City Critics is for people who don’t see themselves or their experiences reflected in the fields of criticism, city planning and design today.” The ever-diminishing field of architectural criticism and urban thought has always been dominated by a handful of critics who are largely older, white, and male. New City Critics’ goal is to expand this field through the support of invaluable new voices:
“New City Critics is for a critique of city design and development that reflects the people who live in cities. We need a more informed and sustained examination of city-making in the media beyond small professional circles, for wider audiences. Housing, workplaces, infrastructure, public spaces and monuments define the contours of our lives. They demand critical attention and critical imagination expressed through new formats and in new forums. Our goal is to equip a new generation of critics with new skills and a meaningful network, to design and deliver powerful projects and advance the work they want to see in the world.
An online information session will be held on February 28 for those interested in learning more. The application period ends on March 23 at 11:59 p.m.
Starting next June and running through October 2023, New City Critics’ inaugural cohort will meet twice a month for evening sessions during which they will develop and practice new editorial projects or engage in conversations with a diverse list of guest speakers. The duration of the program will be divided into two phases: during the first, the fellows will prepare an editorial project to be published in Urban omnibus; the second phase will be to prepare a second major article for another publication, with networking support provided by The Architectural League and Urban Design Forum.
Sessions are expected to be held in person unless future public health mandates require a move to a virtual or hybrid format, and each selected Fellow will receive a $15,000 stipend for attendance as well as a travel or research of $2,000. A stipend of up to $2,500 will also be provided to help cover project expenses.
Candidates for the inaugural cohort will be selected by members of the New City Critics Advisory Board. Members include Garnette Cadogan, Tunney Lee Distinguished Lecturer in Urban Planning at MIT’s School of Architecture and Planning; artist, writer and podcaster Dario Calmese, who in 2020 became the first black photographer to grace the cover of vanity lounge; Vinson Cunningham, writer and theater critic at the new yorker; braked editor and A the old Sukjong Hong, and Los Angeles Times arts and urban design columnist Carolina Miranda.
You can find more information about the application process and the program itself here.