Leather Archives & Museum Announces the 2020 Visiting Scholars Program

The Leather Archives & Museum announces the 9th annual LA&M Visiting Scholars Program for 2020. A stipend of $1,000 will be awarded to one recipient to conduct research using the collections of the Leather Archives & Museum. Up to an additional $1,000 of travel reimbursement will also be provided to cover costs associated with visiting the LA&M.

The award is available to individuals working on a specific project which can be directly supported by LA&M collections. Potential applicants include individuals with academic appointments, graduate students, artists and independent researchers.

The LA&M seeks projects which will use its archival and research collections to create new scholarship related to the history and culture of leather, fetish, kink and BDSM. The LA&M welcomes proposals that include research leading to publication, art projects, documentary film, and public programs or events that share the results of the research.

The Leather Archives & Museum Visiting Scholars program is made possible through a generous grant from Leather SINS NFP and their event, Kinky Kollege.

Application Process

Your application package must include:

  • Applicant name, mailing address, phone number, email address and institutional affiliation (if applicable)
  • Current Curriculum Vitae or Resume
  • One letter of reference (submitted by the reference provider directly)
  • Project title and 200-300 word abstract that can be used publicly should your project be selected
  • Brief responses to the following question
  1. What is the subject of your research?
  2. What is the scope of your project?
  3. What specific resources in the LA&M collections do you plan to use?
  4. What is the anticipated product of your research?
  5. What contribution to current knowledge will this project make?
  6. If this is part of a larger project in progress, how much work have you completed?
  7. What research do you anticipate doing in addition to your work at LA&M?
  8. How many days of onsite research at the LA&M do you anticipate will be needed for your project? (This is for planning purposes only, and will not be used to evaluate applications.)
  9. How did you hear about the Visiting Scholars Program at the Leather Archives & Museum? (This is for planning purposes only, and will not be used to evaluate applications.)

Important Dates

January 27 - applications begin
March 16 - application deadline
April 20 - notification of award
May 1, 2020 – April 30, 2021 - research conducted

The application packet should be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by the applicant. The letter of reference should be emailed to the same address by the reference provider. An email verification will be sent upon receipt of your application.

All application materials must be received by 5pm central time, March 16, 2020.

Your application will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Research subject supported by LA&M collections
  • Research in an underrepresented or marginalized area
  • Past work in related research areas
  • Anticipated success of project

Past Recipients

2010 Anthony Easton, University of Toronto
2011 David K. Johnson, Ph.D. University of South Florida
2012 Amber R. Clifford-Napoleone, Ph.D. University of Central Missouri
2012 Honorable Mention Steven Ruszczycky, University at Buffalo, SUNY
2014 Lily Emerson, University of Auckland, New Zealand
2014 Honorable Mention Ying-Chao Kao, Rutgers University
2015 Anna Robinson, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands and Central European University, Budapest, Hungary
2015 Honorable Mention Tara Burke, Independent scholar and art historian
2016 Francisco Ibàñez-Carrasco Ph.D. and Erica Meiners, Ph.D.
2016 Scott Herring, Indiana University
2017 Kirin Wachter-Grene, New York University
2018 Heather Raquel Phillips, University of Pennsylvania
2020 Michael Thomas Vassallo, Temple University

Founded in 1991, the Leather Archives & Museum has become recognized worldwide as a significant center dedicated to the compilation, preservation, and maintenance of primary materials on the leather, kink, BDSM and fetish communities and their cultures in both physical and electronic formats. Our museum galleries serve to present educational and historical material that highlights the silent histories of marginalized and under-represented communities while the archives and library serve the needs of scholars, writers and artists.

The LA&M is located on Greenview Avenue in Chicago near Loyola University. The building houses the Teri Rose Library with holdings of over 3,000 books and 12,600 journals and periodicals, a 1425 sq. ft. archival storage space, and eight exhibit galleries. the Guest Artist Gallery (GAG) with rotating exhibits that celebrate contemporary artists who inspire dialogues related to Leather, kink, BDSM and fetish and a community space used for programming and special events.

The LA&M is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a charity under the 501 c (3) provisions of the Internal Revenue Code. Nearly all income is derived from the generous support of members and organizations within the leather/kink/BDSM/fetish communities.