RaD Lab + Outside the Walls FAQs

RaD Lab + Outside the Walls Fellowship

Important notes about this fellowship opportunity

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RaD Lab + Outside the Walls Fellowship

Frequently Asked Questions


How are you defining radical imagination and social justice?

We begin with the understanding that everything is political, especially art. We also begin with the understanding that race is a social construct that is used as a way to categorize and exclude individuals based on their skin and cultural identities. While we understand race to be a social construct, we also understand that ALAANA individuals are systemically underrecognized and under-resourced.


The fellowship is a radical act a part of undoing the oppression based on racial and cultural identities and its many intersections. In this vein, we consider radical imagination to be imagining a racially just world that is collective in spirit and involves community. It recreates a reality that dismantles systemic structures that privileges white supremacy, whiteness, homogeneity, and patriarchy. What is borne out of dismantling the status quo leads us into a radical way of being.


Projects will strive to: integrate the arts and social consciousness with grace and intention into community life; interweave personal and collective issues; privilege different ways of knowing; expand narrow versions of identity; and prioritize ideals of collaboration.


Some of the leaders we are inspired by, whose acts of resistance, social justice, and love help frame this work include Angela Y. Davis, bell hooks, Bernice A. King, and Toni Morrison. Please see below for some of their guiding words:


Angela Y. Davis: “You have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world. And you have to do it all the time.”


bell hooks: “Our living depends on our ability to conceptualize alternatives…”


Bernice A. King: “Social justice is love applied to systems, policies and cultures.”


Who is eligible for a Research & Development (RaD) Lab+Outside the Walls Fellowship?

The fellowship is for ALAANA Chicago-based artists, creatives and nonprofits whose practices, values, and missions align with racial justice. Additionally, potential fellows consider research, collaboration, and community integral parts of the whole. ALAANA is a term used to identify African, Latinx, Arab, Asian and Native American individuals and communities. This program is to support those who identify as such.

For this program, we are defining eligibility as follows:

  • Artist: an individual who has a consistent practice of research and making cultural work that may fall into or intersect with traditional visual art such as painting, sculpture, photography or drawing in addition to an individual who pushes the boundaries of contemporary art through the media of video, movement, sound or experimental music production.
  • Creative: an individual who has a consistent practice of research and making cultural work that may be in the form of exhibitions, design, deejaying, or self-taught alternative culture making.


Individuals eligible for the fellowship are:

  • 18 years old and older
  • Making and creating for at least three years
  • Live and work in Chicago


Individuals not eligible for the fellowship are:

  • Individuals under 18
  • Students in a degree-granting program or its equivalent
  • Former or Alumni RaD Lab+Outside the Walls participants
  • Individuals that have received awards, grants, or fellowships over $10K in the past 5 years
  • Gallery represented artists
  • Non-Chicago residents
  • A current employee, long-term consultant, board member of Threewalls, or an immediate family member of such a person


Is this a program only for Chicago-based artists, creatives and nonprofits?

Yes, this program is only for Chicago-based applicants.


When will applications open?

The application portal will open February 23, 2022.


When will applications close?

The application portal will close April 15th, 2022 at 11:59pm Central.


Can I get help or questions answered about my fellowship application? 

A series of “office hours” with one of our Co-Directors of Programs will be offered throughout the month of March. To sign up for a 10-minute session with our Co-Director of Programs follow this link.

You may also email any questions that might arise to: fellowshipprogram@three-walls.org


Is attendance at the Info Sessions a requirement for consideration for the fellowship?

No, you do not need to attend the Info Sessions in order to be considered for the fellowship. However, we recommend attending the sessions to learn more about Threewalls, the fellowship and how your work & practice may align with the organization.


How many fellowships will be awarded?

There will be 6 awards at the $40K level, which may be renewable for up to two years for artist and creative projects.


What artistic and creative disciplines are supported?

The fellowship will support artistic disciplines that center visual artmaking that are interdisciplinary and stretch the bounds of artmaking. For creative projects, the fellowship will support community-engaged and oriented work or design-build projects.


Are dance, music or theater creatives eligible?

No. At this time, the fellowship is focused on contemporary art practices that intersect contemporary visual art and theory.


What kind of projects will be funded? What kinds of projects will not be funded?

Successful projects are those of which use radical imagination as a lens to reimagine a racially just society. These are projects that have art as the vehicle for change and are considering the impact on a larger community.
These projects are a collaboration with your neighborhood. This extends beyond your community of peers or friends and the neighborhood in which you live. Community encompasses both geographic location as well as value-aligned folk.
We encourage you to think deeply about the shape that these projects can take, should any questions arise about whether or not your project is something that will be funded during this fellowship don’t hesitate to reach out to us via email at fellowshipprogram@three-walls.org


Learn more about this Fellowship here.

Learn more about the Fellowship

our partners

Previous RaD Lab Artists

Nia Long

Photo courtesy of the artist.

Nnenna Okore

Norman Long

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