Applications Open

The Museum of the African Diaspora Poet-in-Residence program was founded in 2018.  This program provides writers with opportunities to respond to contemporary art of the African Diaspora and extend the reach of the museum through programming embedded within the historically marginalized Bay Area communities.


We currently host two concurrent writing residencies per year. This year, the four-month residency runs September 1—December 31, 2019.


Residents enjoy flexible, drop-in access to the Museum of the African Diaspora, located in San Francisco, California.  For the term of the residency, every resident receives:

  • A monthly stipend of $1500 (for 4 months)

  • No-cost access to the museum exhibitions, on-site programs and events

  • Designated work space

  • a 10% discount on all Museum store purchases

  • Wi-Fi access

  • Publicity for public programs on social media

  • Staff support for programming

  • Access to learning more about the work of the Museum of the African Diaspora from curatorial and education staff


The residency welcomes writers to pursue their own writing projects in addition to responding to the artistic collections.  The residency does require that writers implement a school-based writing program in partnership with ARISE High School.  Residencies last for one academic semester or 4 months.  The workshops should include at least 6 site visits and one visit with students at the museum.


While the Museum does not retain ownership of any works created as part of the residency, we do require a printed compilation of that work to be preserved within the museum archives and that, should work be published by the author in a book form, that the Museum is acknowledged for contributing to the author’s creative process.

To apply, prospective residents should submit the following to Raina Léon at [email protected]:

  • a 10-page writing sample

    • Work samples are encouraged from the project the writer is interested in completing or from entirely new work. Written work need not have been published previously.  Work should have been written within the last five years.
  • an artist statement

  • a resume or CV that outlines your educational or program leadership experience

  • a short outline of three workshops that you would like to lead with youth writers (title and a paragraph/abstract for each one). Workshops should explicitly plan to integrate visual arts and/or arts from the African diaspora.


Residency applications are reviewed by the Director of Programs, a representative from the Curatorial or Education teams, and one of the previous poets-in-residence.  Acceptance to the residency is determined through an evaluation of the written materials and the innovation within the education project.


Please note: The residency does not include accommodations or meals, so it may be best suited for Bay Area writers; writers from other communities are welcome to apply but are responsible for arranging their own accommodations.  We strongly encourage writers from the African diaspora to apply.


Please submit applications to Raina Léon at [email protected]

Deadline for applications is May 15, 2019.

Notification for residencies in the 2019-2020 Academic Year will be sent by June 15, 2019.