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EarthLore Fellowship 2023-'24

About the Fellowship

The ARPO EarthLore Fellowship is a transformative initiative that seeks to expand the reach and vision of the EarthLore project and transcend traditional research boundaries. 


India is rich and diverse in cultural heritage. Through this fellowship, the EarthLore Fellow comes in direct contact with this heritage and realizes India’s diversity. In bringing together creative minds and personalities from varied backgrounds, the EarthLore fellowship seeks to generate a relevant and dynamic meaning and understanding of ‘culture’. By working with the communities, the EarthLore Fellow will have the opportunity to re-define the process of cultural engagement, to learn, discover, collaborate and create with the communities. 

We intend to foster connections with communities and spaces, going beyond mere documentation of cultural traditions. We are dedicated to creating informed cultural perspectives by facilitating knowledge exchange and collective community progress. 


Embracing the spirit of diversity, we aim to support individuals 21 and above who possess a demonstrable interest in EarthLore focus areas and are willing to undertake unconventional research by immersing themselves in the rhythms of the communities they encounter. 

Irular of Attapady
EarthLore Focus Areas:


  • Indigenous History and Culture

  • Oral Traditions 

  • Performing arts 

  • Rituals and Traditions 

  • Indigenous knowledge of the natural world 

  • Oral Storytelling and folklore


  • Applicants must be 21 and above.

  • Applicants must be fluent in English and at least one South Indian language.

  • Applicants must submit a proposal that falls in line with ARPO’s goals and current work.

  • Applicants must be willing to travel with the ARPO team and stay with a given community for changing durations of time. 


How to Apply? 


Please follow the link provided at the bottom of the page and follow the instructions furnished therein to submit your application. 


**ARPO is an equal opportunity institution and encourages applications from all backgrounds and identities. We believe that diversity of experiences and perspectives is essential to the success of the EarthLore Fellowship. 


What is the EarthLore Project?

EarthLore is a flagship programme started by ARPO in 2021, dedicated to duly representing and documenting indigenous traditions. 


What do we expect in your application?

  • We have little interest in what you have done or where you have studied. Our Fellow is an excellent storyteller. Tell us your story. 

  • Demonstrate an understanding of EarthLore’s work. 

  • Propose a personal project that you would like to undertake during the Fellowship. It must be aligned with ARPO’s mission and EarthLore’s scope. Your project proposal must outline potential outcomes, tentative timelines, stakeholder involvement, and resource and funding expectations. The more collaborative your proposal, the more interesting will be your application.

  • Tell us how you would like to contribute towards ARPO and how it would help us.


  • The proposal can be in written or in AV format. Creativity is not a bar. The application team will give more weightage to unconventional storytelling and the applicant’s willingness to explore multiple forms in communicating their motivation to be a Fellow. The more predictable your application, the less likely it is to be picked up. 

Who is an EarthLore Fellow?


An EarthLore Fellow is invested in understanding what a given community wants. The Fellowship is an experiment to test the endurance, flexibility and receptiveness of the ‘outsider’ to accommodate and adapt the many worldviews of a given community, and identify pragmatic, creative, and collaborative methods of incubating rich cultural perspectives in the digital commons. 


An adequately ideal EarthLore Fellow should: 


  1. Demonstrate unrestrained interest: Have a genuine passion in the subject areas of EarthLore and a keen willingness to engage in immersive, uncertain and unconventional research. 

  2. Produce Alive Work: Strive to produce a dynamic body of work that doesn’t merely record but enacts pathways of collective community progress in harmony with the larger ecosystem. 

  3. Open to diversity: Embrace and celebrate diversity in all its forms, foster long-lasting relationships for knowledge exchange and creative co-production with communities and other stakeholders.


EarthLore Fellowship Offerings: 

  1. Interact with Communities: Fellows will have unique opportunities to interact directly with indigenous communities and gain first-hand knowledge of their cultural traditions. 

  2. Documentation Skills: The fellowship will be mentored in audio-visual documentation to effectively capture the essence of each community’s heritage. 

  3. Develop Cultural Best-Practices: Fellows will be the first contributors of a larger project that seeks to integrate community perspectives in the documentation, handling and use of indigenous cultural knowledge. 

  4. Outreach and Collaboration: Fellows will engage in reciprocal knowledge exchange and co-produce a community-driven understanding of culture and its ethical deployment into the digital commons. 

  5. Creative Productions: Fellows will use their own skills in tandem with and in response to the creative outputs of community members, by leveraging digital tools and will feature as creative partners. 

  6. Events and Workshops: The Fellows will help organize events and workshops that foster cultural exchange across the tenure of their fellowship by engaging with various stakeholders within and outside the community, and spaces. 

  7. Intervention: Designing interventions to help communities in benefit-sharing, facilitate them professional opportunities etc (ex: passport, bank account, Funding supports etc )

  8. The fellows will receive modest scholarship support for their period of engagement along with travel allowance and costs for successful completion of their engagement.


Calling for Mentors: 


ARPO EarthLore Fellowship is also seeking ethnographic researchers, community experts, artists, subject-matter experts, veteran academicians, and budding researchers to participate as mentors. 


Mentors will aid the ARPO team in guiding and directing the EarthLore Fellows throughout the journey. We believe that this mentorship will facilitate meaningful interactions and knowledge transfer between fellows, mentors, and communities, fostering an environment of collective growth and development. 


We will release an application link for mentors closer to the date of the Fellowship launch date. Potential mentors can either offer their support in connection to a Fellow’s accepted proposal as a Node Mentor or offer their services to serve as a Visiting Mentor not in connection with any particular proposal. ARPO will connect Fellows to the prospective mentors soon after the commencement of the EarthLore Fellowship.


Application Timeline: 
  • Announcement and Call for Applications: Early August

  • Application Period: Early August to Early September

  • Application Review and Selection: Mid-September

  • Notification of Selected Fellows: Late September

  • Fellowship Acceptance and Confirmation: Late September to Early October

  • Pre-Fellowship Orientation and Preparation: Early October

  • Fellowship Commencement: October 1st


Communities we are currently working with:


Kaatunaayakar of Wayanad

Irulars of Attapadi 


The ARPO EarthLore Fellowship seeks to train and support passionate individuals who would like to undertake transformative research and partake in the rhythms of indigenous communities. By nurturing connections and promoting sustainable cultural practices, we aim to build bridges of understanding and co-create a future that celebrates diversity and collective progress. We invite individuals with a thirst for unconventional knowledge exchange and creative impulse to join us on this extraordinary journey.

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