Published April 5, 2024

Charlottesville, Va—Virginia Humanities, the state humanities council, announced a new funding opportunity today that is designed to support projects that tell inclusive stories of Virginia women. The Rosel Schewel Fellowship honors the legacy of Rosel Schewel, a tireless advocate for women’s rights, education, and racial justice, who holds the distinction of being Virginia Humanities’ longest-serving board member. 

A longtime resident of Lynchburg, Schewel founded the local chapter of the League of Women Voters in the 1950s, the Women’s Resource Center in the 1970s, and was the first woman to serve as president of the Agudath Sholom Congregation. At the University of Lynchburg, where she received her graduate degree, she held a faculty position in the School of Education and Human Development, led numerous projects, and served on the Board of Trustees for 36 years. 

The Rosel Schewel Fellowship, in the amount of $25,000 for a twelve-month fellowship or $12,500 for a six-month fellowship, will be awarded to a writer, artist, cultural worker, or community scholar working in and around the story of women in Virginia. Specifically, the fellowship supports projects that explore and amplify women’s lived experiences, movements, struggles, and achievements across the Commonwealth, honoring Rosel Schewel’s commitment to equality.  

The recipient of the fellowship will also receive the opportunity to collaborate with Virginia Humanities’ numerous programs: With Good Reason radio, Encyclopedia Virginia, the Virginia Center for the Book, the Virginia Festival of the Book, the Virginia Folklife Program, and the Office of Education and Community Initiatives. The fellowship will culminate in a public event and presentation. 

“To me, the purpose of the fellowship is to make visible all of the ways that women have contributed to Virginia’s history and culture,” said Rosel’s daughter, Susan Schewel, in 2023. “In particular, any project that elevates the voices of historically marginalized women in Virginia would make my mom really happy.” 

Applications for the Rosel Schewel Fellowship are due Tuesday, April 30. Fellows must be 18 years or older, be a U.S. citizen, and reside in Virginia. To learn more, visit VirginiaHumanities.org/fellowships.

About Virginia Humanities

Virginia Humanities is the state humanities council. We’re headquartered in Charlottesville at the University of Virginia, but we serve the entire state. We aim to share the stories of all Virginians—or, better yet, find ways for people to share their own stories. We want Virginians to connect with their history and culture and, in doing that, we hope we’ll all get to know each other a little better. Founded in 1974, we are one of fifty-six humanities councils created by Congress with money and support from the National Endowment for the Humanities to make the humanities available to all Americans. To learn more, visit VirginiaHumanities.org.

Our work brings people together and honors our shared humanity.