Tired of unpaid internships? Go for a “non-stipendiary fellowship” next!

Let’s say you’re a college or graduate student, and you’ve developed a been there, done that ‘tude toward unpaid internships. Now you’re looking to move up from that designation.

Well, there’s yet another plastic ring to grab for, and it will enable you to show upward mobility on your resume without giving up the warm fuzzy feeling of not being paid for your work. It’s called the “non-stipendiary fellowship.”

A new non-job category

I was clued into the term “non-stipendiary fellowship” by members of the Intern Labor Rights page on Facebook. I didn’t know that this was becoming another way to create work opportunities without income, especially in the arts and humanities.

If you’d like an example, here’s a recent job position posting from the Bard Graduate Center:

The Bard Graduate Center invites applications for up to four non-stipendiary research fellowships lasting from 3 to 9 months. Since its founding in 1993, the Bard Graduate Center has aimed to become the leading institute for study of the cultural history of the material world through its MA and PhD programs, scholarly exhibitions, and publications, seminars, and symposia. . . . We provide office space, and rental accommodation maybe available at Bard Hall. Visiting scholars are expected to participate in the public intellectual life of the BGC, and to give one more talks on their current work. The Research Fellow may take up residence at any point after 15 August 2013.

Unpaid internships on steroids

Please excuse the snarky tone of this post, but I am incredulous that organizations have the gall to use the term “non-stipendiary fellowship.” Like unpaid internships, it’s wage-free work, only with a fancier title and a longer expected duration. This trend adds to the mounting evidence of worker exploitation in our creative and intellectual sectors.

Are “non-stipendiary jobs” next? Stay tuned.


Hat tip to Elizabeth Daley of the Intern Labor Rights Facebook group for the Bard position posting.

9 responses

  1. Perhaps one of the “non-stipendiary” fellows (way to make up a word there!) could point out that housing “may be” available, not “maybe,” and will give “one or more talks” not “one more talks.”

    Sheesh…this is from an academic institution? REALLY? I actually clicked through to see the original posting to make sure it hadn’t been copied incorrectly, and was further shocked to see the failure in parallel structure in the section that you omitted via ellipsis points. Sigh.

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