RIT Fellowship Program

RIT Fellowship Program


Through its fellowship program, Research Institute on Turkey aims to annually support a researcher that prioritizes human rights and freedom of thought through their work from a pluralistic and egalitarian perspective. Each year a research, an art project, a documentary, an archival work, a form of activism or a scientific work will be selected for the program. A selection committee from diverse disciplines will select a project or a researcher whose main focus will be within the fields of social and political history of Turkey, financialization, collective memory, right to the city, commons and commonized practices and academic freedom. We expect the project to raise awareness around these issues, open a platform for critical thinking and offer a unique and novel perspective regarding human rights advocacy.

RIT Fellowship program seeks to support at-risk projects that require extraordinary efforts to produce under the current political climate and shrinking civil space in Turkey. In addition, the Program engages in public outreach events to publicize the projects and support the researchers in their practices of critical knowledge production.

Towards this goal, the Program will provide the following:
-To offer platforms in New York City for open discussions, screenings, panels for the fellow and their work
-To provide networking opportunities with international institutes or associations depending on the associated field
-To financially support international travel and accommodation

Fellowship is available to researchers, artists, academics or all those who are currently in Turkey and work on projects on Turkey in the fields of financialization, collective memory, right to the city, commons and commonized practices and academic freedom.

RIT Fellowship 2021 application for nominations will be open in June 2020.

RIT Fellows - 2020

2020 Selection Committee:

Esra Akcan is currently the 2019-2020 Frieda Miller Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. She is also an Associate Professor in the Department of Architecture and the Director of Institute for European Studies at Cornell University. Akcan received awards and fellowships from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies at Harvard University, Graham Foundation, American Academy in Berlin, UIC, Institute for Advanced Studies in Berlin, Clark Institute, Getty Research Institute, Canadian Center for Architecture, CAA, Mellon Foundation, DAAD and KRESS/ARIT. She is the author of Landfill Istanbul: Twelve Scenarios for a Global City (2004); Çeviride Modern Olan (2009); Architecture in Translation: Germany, Turkey and the Modern House (2012); Turkey: Modern Architectures in History (with S. Bozdoğan, 2012), and Open Architecture: Migration, Citizenship and Urban Renewal of Berlin-Kreuzberg by IBA 1984/87 (2018).

Akcan’s research on modern and contemporary architecture and urbanism foregrounds the intertwined histories of Europe and West Asia, and offers new ways to understand architecture’s global movement, as well as its complicit or constitutive role in global and social (in)justice. She completed her architecture degree at the Middle East Technical University in Turkey, and her Ph.D. and postdoctoral degrees at Columbia University in New York. Before coming to Cornell, she taught at UI-Chicago, Humboldt University in Berlin, Columbia University, New School, and Pratt Institute in New York, and METU in Ankara. As a scholar, she has published five books in two languages, guest edited three journal issues, and written around hundred-and-fifty articles and essays in multiple languages on critical and postcolonial theory, modern and contemporary architecture in West Asia and its diasporas in Europe, architectural photography, immigration, translation, globalization and global history.

Akcan’s book Architecture in Translation: Germany, Turkey and the Modern House advocates a commitment to a new culture of translatability from below and in multiple directions for truly cosmopolitan ethics and global justice. Her book Turkey: Modern Architectures in History (with Sibel Bozdoğan) is part of a series that aims at an inclusive survey of modern world architecture and is the first volume in any language to cover the entire 20th century in Turkey. Akcan’s new book Open Architecture: Migration, Citizenship and the Urban Renewal of Berlin-Kreuzberg defines open architecture as the translation of a new ethics of hospitality into design process. It exemplifies different inclinations towards open architecture (or the lack thereof) during the urban renewal of Berlin’s immigrant neighborhood, by giving voice not only to the established and cutting edge architects who were invited to build public housing here, but also to noncitizen residents. She has participated in exhibitions as an artist by carrying her research beyond writing to visual media.

Işın Önol (1977, Turkey) is a curator based in Vienna and New York. Since September 2018, she has been working as a visiting lecturer at Montclair State University department of Arts & Design. In 2017-18 Önol worked as a guest critic at the Arts & Design MFA program at Montclair University, New Jersey. In 2016-17, she worked as a visiting curator and critic at the Social Design – Art as Urban Innovation MA Program at University of Applied Arts, Vienna, Austria. In 2014-15 Önol worked as a guest lecturer at the Department of Digital Art at University of Applied Arts. Besides regular teaching appointments, she gave number of lectures at School of Visual Arts, NY; New York University, NY; Parson School of Arts and Columbia University as well as various programs at Vienna University of Applied Arts, Austria. She is a member of Center for the Study of Social Difference at Columbia University, NewYork.

Önol is an enthusiast producer of exhibition projects, talks, other art-related events as well as being an academic working in the field of contemporary art and cultural studies. Besides teaching, she has been working as an independent curator in Vienna, New York and Istanbul since 2009. Before that, she led the Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art as its director and curator in Istanbul for three years. (2006-2009) She is the founder and program coordinator of Nesin Art Village, Sirince, Turkey. Isin Önol has been elected to the Board of Directors of Roberto Cimetta Fund for the period 2018-2021.

Önol is a PhD Candidate at the Department of Cultural Studies, University of Applied Arts, Vienna, Austria. She has completed her Master of Advance Studies on Curating at ZHdK, Zürcher Hochschule der Kunst, Zürich, Switzerland (2009-2011). She participated to Ecole du Magasin, International Curatorial Training Programme, Centre National d’Art Contemporain, Grenoble, France and Gwangju Biennale International Curator Course, Gwangju, South Korea (2009). She received her MFA in Visual Arts and Visual Communication Design from Sabanci University (2003), and her BA in Art Education from Marmara University (2000), Istanbul, Turkey.

Aylin Tekiner is a New York / Istanbul based visual artist, writer, and activist. She received her PhD in Cultural studies at Ankara University in Turkey in 2008. Her book “Ataturk Statues: Cult, Aesthetics, and Politics” is published by Iletisim Yayinlari in Turkey in 2010. In her book, she describes the political landscape of the Ataturk statues during modern Turkey. Her artwork is focused on forgotten and unspeakable tragedies, trauma, and tolerance, and her work empowers the voiceless and confronts the ruling power. Aylin had solo shows and participated in group exhibitions throughout Turkey and abroad. During her post-doc at Yale University School of Drama in 2015, she wrote and performed an autobiographical play that uses shadow theatre technique that incorporates new multi-media technology. Aylin has been working on a graphic novel of the play as well. She is a member of Collective Memory Platform, which was formed by the families of 28 victims of the political murders in modern Turkey, an active member of the Research Institute on Turkey (RIT), and Center for The Study of Social Difference at Columbia University.

Simten Coşar received her Ph.D in political science from Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey (1997). She has been specialized in political thought. Dr. Coşar has published in English and Turkish on Turkish politics, feminist politics, and political thought. She was a Fulbright scholar at the Northern Michigan University, in a collaborative academic research with the late Professor Louise Bourgault. In the English-speaking and reading world, she is the co-editor of Universities in the Neoliberal Era: Academic Cultures and Critical Perspectives (UK: Palgrave MacMillan, 2017) (with Hakan Ergül), and Silent Violence: Neoliberalism, Islamist Politics and the AKP Years in Turkey (Canada: Red Quill Books, 2012) (with Gamze Yücesan-Özdemir). Dr. Coşar has also involved in translation works of prominent academic texts in social sciences from Turkish to English, and from English to Turkish. Most recently, she edited and translated Handan Çağlayan’s seminal work in Turkish on Kurdish women’s political activism (Women in Kurdish Movement: Mothers, Comrades, Goddesses, Palgrave MacMillan, 2019). Her articles in English were published in Contemporary Politics, Monthly Review, Feminist Review, Journal of Third World Studies, Journal of Mediterranean Studies, South European Society and Politics, Alternate Routes and Journal of Political Ideologies. Dr. Coşar conducted field research on feminist interventions in and through neoliberal academia in Turkey, and as a visiting scholar at UMass, Amherst and Carleton University, Ottawa (ON, Canada). Through the early 2000s, Dr. Coşar has been briefly involved in feminist organizations as an academic, participating in training courses, acting as executive committee member, and/or member in board of advisors. She defines herself as a feminist political scientist.

Eylem Delikanlı is a founding coop member and a feminist oral historian at the Research Institute on Turkey (RIT). She runs the Collective Memory Working Group and human rights advocacy program at RIT. She holds an MA in Sociology (City University NY) and an MA in Oral History (Columbia University). She is the co-author of two oral history books on the 1980 Coup D’État: Keşke Bir Öpüp Koklasaydım (with Ozlem Delikanli in Turkish, Istanbul: Ayrıntı Yayınları, September 2013) and Hiçbir Şey Aynı Olmayacak (with Ozlem Delikanli in Turkish, Istanbul: Ayrıntı Yayınları, November 2019). As an oral historian, Eylem’s work focuses on theories of post memory, collective memory, silence, mass violence and trauma. She continued her research as an ISHR fellow at the Alliance for Historical Dialogue and Accountability Fellowship Program at Columbia University and at Truth, Justice and Remembrance program at Bosch Stiftung. She is a member of feminist organizations and Çocuklarız Bir Aradayız initiative – a group working towards building a collective memory of 1980 Coup D’État in Turkey.

Erdem Helvacıoğlu is a renowned film composer, sound designer, music producer, engineer, guitarist and educator currently residing in New York. He has scored over 20 feature documentaries, narrative and short films. His film music has been heard at international film festivals such as Cannes, Toronto, Berlin, Karlovy Vary, Rotterdam, Locarno, Istanbul. The films that he scored has been nominated for various prestigious awards, such as Palme d`Or in 2006 Cannes Film Festival for the short film Boreas directed by Belma Bas. His filmscore to Seaburners (directed by Melisa Önel), which premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival 2014, was referred to by the Hollywood Reporter as an “outstanding soundwork”. As a music producer, mixing/mastering engineer he has worked with Gorillaz, INNA, AronChupa, Sofi Tukker, Fatboy Slim, Joy Exit, Monty Adkins, Sezen Aksu, Teoman, Vega, Rashit. His solo and duo albums have been released by prestigious record labels such as New Albion, Sub Rosa, Innova and have been included in the “best albums of the year” lists on magazines such as Guitar Player, All About Jazz, Textura, Cyclic Defrost, Blogcritics, Audio Video, Culture Catch, Exclaim! and Perfect Sound Forever. Helvacıoğlu has received commissions from the 2006 World Football Championship, 2009 Novelum Contemporary Music Festival, Museum of Mediterranean and European Civilisations, Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vehbi Koç Foundation, The Association for the Art of the Harp, Borusan Center for Culture&Arts, and the world famous new music ensemble Bang on a Can All-Stars. His sound installations premiered at the 10th International Istanbul Biennial, Los Angeles Track 16, Indonesia Soemardja, Köln Museum für Angewandte Kunst, ARTER – space for art and London Menier Gallery. Helvacıoğlu teaches music technology at Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts at The New School.

Çağhan Kızıl is an Associate Professor of Neuroscience in Helmholtz Association, Germany. He obtained his B.Sc. from Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey; M.Sc. from University of Göttingen, and Ph.D from Max Planck Institute Tübingen, Germany. His research is aiming at understanding the regenerative and developmental programs of neural stem cells in zebrafish to induce a successful proliferation-differentiation-development cascade for neurons in human brains, and harnessing this knowledge for designing stem cell-based therapies to cure Alzheimer’s disease in humans. Besides his scientific publications, Çağhan also writes about academic freedom both in Turkey and abroad. He is an active member of the Research Institute on Turkey (RIT)