As a result of the public health crisis surrounding the novel coronavirus Covid-19 and the uncertainty around when we will re-open and return to normal operations, we have made the difficult decision to push back the Poets-in-Residence program to Spring 2021. The new application window will be from September 1 – October 15, 2020 with notification on November 1, 2020. The program will occur from January 1 – April 30, 2021.

Museum of the African Diaspora’s Poets-in-Residence 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.

MoAD will host two poets during Spring 2021, from January 1 – April 30, 2021.

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, 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 a museum partner school (secondary level).  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.   There are also two culminating public programs that are required:  a student reading and a poet-in-residence reading.

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

  1. a 10-page writing sample
    1. 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.  The majority of the sample should be composed of poetry.
  2. an artist statement (no longer than 500 words)
  3. a teaching statement (no longer than 500 words)
  4. a short statement on what you hope to gain from the teaching poet residency (250 words or less)
  5. a resume or CV that outlines your educational experience, specifically working with secondary youth
  6. 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.

Applications open September 1, 2020.  Deadline for applications is  October 15, 2020 and should be submitted via email to [email protected].  Notifications will be sent by November 1, 2020.

Selected poets-in-residence will be expected to complete a TB test and Livescan background check (at a MoAD-partner vendor) by January 1 and meet with the partner teacher and poet-in-residence coordinator for community building and brainstorming once during the fall (possibly online) and at least once at the start of the spring semester.

Email [email protected] for more information.


In 2018, our Poets-in-Residence were Raina J. León & Tongo Eisen-Martin.
In 2019, our Poets-in-Residence were Tonya M. Foster & Alan Peláez Lopéz.