Incubator Awards: Research Grants for Creative Artists

On Hiatus

We paused all Wilson Fellowships during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we look forward to accepting applications for the Incubator Awards in October 2022. Stay tuned for announcements in Fall 2022.

The guidelines below are available for reference. Check out all Wilson fellowship opportunities on our Fellowships page.

Award Overview

The University Libraries invite current undergraduate and graduate students to apply for the Incubator Awards: Research Grants for Creative Artists.

The Incubator Awards provide financial and research support for students using historical and rare library materials at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill towards projects in the arts. Students are encouraged to follow their curiosity and use archival and special collections items as source material and/or inspiration; projects do not need to rely exclusively on materials in our collections. Recipients will receive a small stipend, instruction in special collections research practices, and support from library staff as they conduct their artistic research. The Incubator Awards aim to foster engagement with UNC’s rich cultural and historical resources and encourage students to pursue new directions, topics, or methods in their work and creative process.

Students from all artistic disciplines are invited to apply for individual ($1000) or collaborative group (up to $3000) awards. Grant recipients will present their work in a program showcase to be held in April.

Projects may include, but are not limited to:

  • Artists’ books
  • Costume or set design
  • Creative fiction, non-fiction, or poetry
  • Dance choreography and performance
  • Documentary film or videos
  • Music composition or performance
  • Drawings, paintings, installations, sculptures, or videos
  • Performance of historical music or drama
  • Plays or screenplays

Learn about past recipients and their projects:


The Incubator Awards are not being offered for the 2021-22 academic year, but will return for 2022-23. Stay tuned for announcements in Fall 2022.

  • Submission form opens October 1,
  • October 23: Proposals due by 11:59pm (submit through online form)
  • November 15: Grants awarded; all applicants will receive notification of their status on or before this date
  • April (date TBD): Incubator Awards Showcase

How to Apply

UNC-Chapel Hill undergraduate and graduate students are eligible to apply for an individual ($1000) or group (up to $3000) award.

Proposals are due via the online form before midnight on October 23.

Proposals must include:

  • Short summary (300-450 words) of a clearly defined project
  • A brief (about 250 words) statement of research goals to be accomplished in Wilson Library. This might include types of materials you want to investigate, types of information you are looking for, and how you will use this research in your work.
  • Name and contact information of a faculty sponsor
  • For group awards, please identify the role of each member of the group
  • Optional: drawings or other non-textual elements in addition to the written summary

Up to six grants will be awarded. Priority will go to proposals leading to thesis work or other projects developed with faculty or departmental support. Awards will be made based on the feasibility and strength of the proposed projects.

Questions? Contact Alice Whiteside (Art Librarian) at, Elizabeth Ott (Curator of Rare Books) at, or Matt Turi (Manuscripts Research and Instruction Librarian) at