Louisa So (2008 Fellow)

Information & Deadlines

2019 ACC Fellowship application 
for the US and intra Asia cultural exchange is now open

Deadline for application: November 16, 2018 1pm (Hong Kong time)

1. The Asian Cultural Council Fellowship Program

2. General Eligibility Guidelines

3. 2019 Grant Guidelines
- New York Fellowship Program
- Individual Fellowship Program
- Graduate Scholarship
- Organization Grant

1. The Asian Cultural Council Fellowship Program
Since 1963, the ACC has operated a program of long-term, immersive fellowships and shorter-term grants for individual artists, scholars, and arts and humanities professionals who wish to pursue specialized training not available in their home countries; find new creative inspiration through travel, research, and exploration; or pursue targeted research projects. The Asian Cultural Council makes grants to support international travel and cultural exchange between Asia and the U.S., and among the countries/ regions in Asia. The large majority of grants are awarded directly to individuals. Organizations that will facilitate a cultural exchange opportunity for our targeted professionals may also apply on behalf of the individual project participants.

ACC supports activities in line with its mission in promoting international understanding that involve cultural immersion; meaningful cross-cultural engagement; and relationship building, collaboration, or exchange of best practices among peers. Our priority is to support cultural exchange projects that focus on process rather than production. Examples of process-focused activities are research, study, and exploration. By contrast, proposals for touring, performance, exhibition, or any activity focused on the production of work or audience-driven outcomes are not a priority and will only be considered where there is an exceptional contribution to furthering international understanding. In addition to funding, ACC offers logistical and programmatic support such as mentoring and personal introductions to its grant recipients. The kind of support varies by grant type and destination country, and is tailored to each individual. It may include recommendations of sites to visit or activities to participate in; personal introductions to relevant contacts in the field; and visa sponsorship for individuals traveling to the U.S.

ACC has supported exchanges for nearly 4,000 individuals and 6,000 grants to date. By its unique combination of supports, ACC’s program builds relationships that deepen cross-cultural ties beyond the duration of the grant. The signature feature of ACC’s program is access to this international network of alumni and other partners – a community of institutional leaders and emerging and established practitioners throughout Asia and the U.S. who help advise current grant recipients. Such community helps maintaining close connections with alumni and creates ongoing opportunities for engagement from within.

2. General Eligibility Guidelines
The following guidelines apply to applicants who are residents or holds citizenship in China, Hong Kong SAR and Macau SAR. Applicants who are residents or citizens of other regions, please refer to New York, Taipei, Tokyo and Manila website via here. Applicants should review these guidelines thoroughly to see if they are eligible to apply and if their proposal will be a strong candidate for funding. Additional information can be found in the FAQ.

In 2019, the ACC Hong Kong application cycle are as follows:

­­­September 20, 2018

Application opens

November 16, 1pm (HK Time)

Application closes for individuals (all application materials) and organizations (Letter of Intent only)

December 2, 1pm (HK Time)

Organizations notified of the status of their LOI; accepted projects given access to the complete application form

January 3, 2019 1pm (HK Time)

Deadline for accepted organizations (all application materials)

December 2018-March 2019

Application review and interviews with shortlisted candidates

May 2019

Award decisions made by the ACC Hong Kong Foundation Board and Board of Trustees

June 2019

Award notification

Please note that after notification, additional time is required to administer the grant agreement and process payment requests. The fellowship period begins earliest on June 1, 2019 after the submission deadline, fellows who received their fellowship must begin their travel within 12 months of that date. It is advisable to plan for a later start if project planning cannot take place prior to securing funding, or if the money must be received before activities can begin.

Professional artists, arts administrators, scholars, graduate/post-graduate students, and organizations working in the following fields:

Art History
Arts Administration
Arts Criticism
Museum Studies
Visual Art

Individual applicants must be either residents or citizens of China, Hong Kong and Macau, and their proposed program must involve travel between one or more countries/ regions on the list.

East Timor
Sri Lanka
United States

ACC grant funds may be used for costs associated with travel and research only. Research is broadly defined as any activities in pursuit of creative or scholarly inquiry, and may take many different forms. The following examples of allowable expenses are not an exhaustive list and are intended as a general guideline only:

  • Allowable travel expenses may include international airfare, local transportation, visas, travel insurance, accommodations, and living expenses.
  • Allowable research expenses may include admission fees and tickets to cultural institutions and events; fees for classes or workshops; photocopying or supplies; and translator fees.*

*Please note that to enhance communication and mutual understanding during fellowship program, participants in the New York Fellowship Program are suggested to have basic English language proficiency to make sure that immersive experience of the program is possible. Under this circumstance, we are unable to support applicants who require extensive use of paid translator.

Expenses and activities NOT supported by ACC funding:

  • activities conducted by individuals in their home countries
  • commercial and industrial design
  • commercial activity or for-profit entities
  • production costs (including film, video, touring, etc.)
  • artist exhibitions and performance tours
  • publications
  • undergraduate and secondary school study
  • tuition (ACC can help cover living and travel expenses for graduate/post-graduate students only)
  • organizational overhead, capital campaigns or operating costs
  • projects beginning before or after the funding period (June 1, 2019-June 1, 2020) following the submission deadline.

3. 2019 Grant Guidelines

For the 2019 fellowship cycle (with an application deadline in November 2018) the fellowships below will be open to applicants from China, Hong Kong SAR and Macau SAR.

  • New York Fellowship Program
  • Individual Fellowship Program
  • Graduate Scholarship
  • Organization Grant

 ***Travel grant is not open for application.***

New York Fellowship Program
The New York Fellowship Program enables artists, scholars, and arts specialists from Asia to live in New York City for a period of six months while receiving comprehensive logistical and programmatic support from ACC staff. This program is intended for research, exploration, and cultural immersion. It is not intended for exhibiting, performing, presenting, or other public activities.

Logistical Support
Logistical support includes: visa sponsorship, health insurance, a stipend for living and research expenses, and housing in a studio apartment in New York. There are four start dates a year (Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer) and applicants may indicate their preference in the application. The final schedule for successful candidates will be determined after the grant is awarded and will take into consideration programmatic recommendations and housing availability as well as the Fellow’s own schedule and preferences.

Program Support
Applicants may apply with a focused research proposal, but open-ended exploration is also allowed and encouraged. Fellows in this program often choose to pursue new interests, explore across disciplines, observe best practices in their field, seek creative inspiration, or engage in targeted training or workshops.

ACC staff will assist in arranging a program of activities tailored to the individual goals and interests of each Fellow. This may include advice on cultural events, resources, and learning opportunities; introductions to relevant contacts in ACC’s network; and assistance in planning travel to other parts of the country. During the program, Fellows will have opportunities to reflect on their work and experiences through meetings with staff and presentations to other Fellows in the program.

Ten Fellows participate in the program at any given time, forming a supportive community and providing additional opportunities for dialogue and collaboration across countries and disciplines.

Visual Artists: at ACC’s discretion, some visual artists in this program may be placed in a studio or non-studio residency program. Artists placed in a residency will be encouraged to use the residency as a site for community, dialogue, and expert recommendations about New York’s art scene; they are not expected to create new work. The New York Fellowship Program is not designed to help artists get discovered or find New York gallery representation.


  • Only individuals may apply (no teams).
  • Previous participants in this program are not eligible to reapply.
  • For travel to the U.S. lasting less than six months, applicants should apply in the Individual Fellowship category.
  • For travel to the U.S. not based in New York City, applicants should apply in the Individual Fellowship category.
  • The fellowship cannot be divided into multiple trips. Once Fellows commit to a start date, they are expected to make the necessary personal and professional arrangements to adhere to that schedule.

Individual Fellowship Program: Asia-to-U.S., Intra-Asia
The Individual Fellowship Program is open to individuals (or up to two collaborators) undertaking self-directed trips ranging from one to six months for research, study, or exploration. Partial funding for dissertation research projects of up to one year is also available in this category.

In addition to funding, ACC offers Fellows logistical and programmatic support. The kind of support will vary according to the needs of a given proposal and ACC’s resources in the destination country. Support may include recommendations of sites to visit or activities to participate in, and personal introductions to relevant contacts within ACC’s network of alumni and partners throughout Asia and the U.S. This network is particularly strong where ACC has offices: Hong Kong, Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan, and the U.S.

Programmatic support is intended to enhance a proposed plan of activity and deepen the cultural exchange experience, but proposals should be feasible with or without additional guidance from ACC.  

Up to two collaborators may apply together using a single individual application form. Application answers and supporting materials should represent both individuals equally and make a case for why the project requires collaboration. The average grant amount is not likely to be larger than an individual grant, so successful applications tend to be those proposing a shorter period of travel.

Travel to the U.S.
For Fellows traveling from Asia to the U.S., ACC will provide health insurance and visa sponsorship as needed. Fellows will be responsible for making their own housing arrangements, but staff will offer advice and recommendations when possible. Because there is no public transportation in rural areas and only limited transportation in many cities, applicants proposing to travel outside of major metropolitan areas should research and demonstrate the feasibility of their plans, and they should be prepared to rent a car if necessary to carry out their intended project.

Graduate Scholarship: Asia-to-U.S. only
ACC gives a small number of scholarships each year to students who have been admitted to a graduate degree program in one of the eligible disciplines. Scholarships are for one year and provide for travel and living expenses, but will not be sufficient to cover full tuition costs. Applicants who have not yet received an admission offer are welcome to apply for an ACC scholarship, but ACC must receive proof of admission before funding can be awarded.

Competitive applicants are students who do not have access to comparable programs at home. Priority will be given to fields that are underrepresented in the applicant’s home country.

Organization Grant: Asia-to-U.S., Intra Asia
Organizations registered as a legal entity in China, Hong Kong and Macau may apply for organization grant. The majority of ACC funding is intended to support individuals, but organizations that are facilitating a cultural exchange opportunity for individual project participants may apply on their behalf. When completing the application, the focus should be on the specific project participants. Applications that do not name individuals project participants and include their biographies and work samples will not be considered.

How to Apply
Please read the ACC Program and Eligibility Guidelines sections before continuing.

The application and all supporting materials must be submitted online. You may register for an account at any time, but the application will only be visible during the open application period (from September until the November deadline).

Individual applicants will be asked to complete the following:

  • Eligibility Form: answer general questions about your background to make sure you are eligible to apply.
  • Application Form: provide contact details, information about your background and qualifications, a project proposal, and other related information.
  • Headshot
  • CV or Resume (optional but recommended)
  • Letters of Recommendation: Give the names and email addresses of two recommenders. Recommenders will receive instructions from ACC about how to submit their letters of recommendation online. Applicants are strongly advised to contact recommenders before they begin receiving automated communications from ACC.
  • Budget: List ACC-allowable expenses for the proposed project in U.S. dollars. If your application is successful, ACC program staff may advise you on your budget or apply standard formulas.

Organization applicants will be asked to complete the following:

  • Eligibility Form: answer general questions about your proposal to make sure it is eligible for consideration.
  • Letter of Intent (LOI): a letter summarizing the proposed project.

ACC will review the LOI and let you know if you have been invited to submit a full proposal. The complete proposal will consist of:

Application Form: provide contact details, organizational background, information about the participating artists, a project proposal, and a budget.
Work Samples: submit work samples for the participating artists for whom you are seeking ACC support. Submit up to 15 images and/or up to 3 videos, with brief descriptions of each. Artist statements or other written materials may also be submitted.

Please submit your application via here.