CUP Fellowship for Change in Design 2021

Deadline: 12 April 2021
Open to: emerging designers from historically marginalized communities
Benefits: a stipend in the amount of USD $40,000 and various other benefits


The Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP) is a nonprofit organization that uses the power of design and art to increase meaningful civic engagement, in partnership with historically marginalized communities. CUP uses design to make important public policy and social justice issues easier to understand so people impacted by them can more easily navigate and change them.

CUP is now accepting applications for the 2021 CUP Fellowship for Change in Design! The Fellowship is a paid, year-long, full-time, training program designed to promote and support individuals in gaining the skills, contacts, and experience to help them excel in their design careers.

The Fellow works at CUP full-time, collaborating on our community-engaged design projects as part of the CUP team, working as an in-house designer, and participating in mentoring opportunities.

The Fellowship is an initiative to support the development of a pipeline of talented individuals from historically under-represented communities into the design fields, and to dismantle the systemic biases that stand in the way of their advancement as leaders in these fields. The 2021 Fellow will be selected through a competitive, juried process and will work with CUP from July 2021–June 2022.


The ideal candidate will:

  • Identify as a member of community that is historically marginalized in the design professions, including but not limited to people of color; people from low-income, LGBTQ, or immigrant communities; formerly incarcerated people; and others
  • Have a background in design, particularly graphic, communication, or UI design. We believe this is a good position for a recent graduate from a design program. However, we recognize that individuals with potential to become great designers may come from a broader range of experiences. Therefore, they do not require a degree in a design field (or any degree at all). However, they do require evidence, in the form of a portfolio of images, of your skills and abilities as a designer, and your proficiency with design software.
  • Be committed to social justice and racial equity
  • Have good communication skills
  • Be proficient with Adobe Creative Suite software, basic web applications, and Microsoft Office
  • Be friendly, self-directed, detail-oriented, and able to work in a collaborative environment with a broad range of partners


The Fellow will:

  • Gain professional experience while learning CUP’s methodology for creating effective and impactful design projects
  • Work in collaboration with grassroots organizations and talented designers on critical social justice issues, and learn the language and skills needed to effectively partner with these different disciplines
  • Be part of CUP’s intensive methodology for bringing community members (“end users”) directly into the design process, learning valuable skills for facilitating design conversations and incorporating feedback in meaningful ways
  • Experience valuable professional development and mentoring opportunities with CUP staff, as well as with established and up-and-coming designers in CUP’s network
  • Gain a broad range of marketable professional skills, particularly around how nonprofits work (such as fundraising, budgeting, and project management)
  • Get hands-on experience with the nuts and bolts of production, particularly print production
  • Work with an amazing staff of professionals and contribute to the growth and development of an exciting, fun, and impactful organization
  • Learn about pressing social justice issues, and how to engage with them, as a designer and an individual
  • The selected Fellow will receive a stipend in the amount of USD $40,000 (paid in monthly installments).
  • CUP will also provide free health insurance benefits, a flexible leave policy, professional development opportunities, and a reasonable work schedule that allows our staff to have a healthy life both inside and outside of work. We are also committed to working together as a staff to better understand issues of race, equity, and justice and to continue to further our own education on how we engage with and address those issues as individuals and as an organization.
  • The Fellow will also have access to a budget of up to USD $500 for professional development activities (including conferences, classes, or other activities). They will also be part of professional development opportunities provided to CUP staff as a group. During the second half of the Fellowship, the Fellow will also have time to work on searching for post-Fellowship opportunities and developing their resume, cover letter, and portfolio during work hours, and to get feedback and advice from CUP staff on those materials.
  • The Fellowship will also provide two sets of mentorship opportunities.


If you’re interested in the position, you can apply online via Submittable. You will need to create an account on Submittable, fill in your contact information, and upload the following materials:

  • A cover letter saying why you are interested in the Fellowship, what you hope to get out of it, what your goals are for your career, and how you meet the Fellowship criteria
  • A current resume
  • A portfolio of your design work. We are looking for your skills to work on a range of visuals and with type. Please describe the context that your projects were completed in, and your role. Your portfolio will be reviewed on screen and in a print-out. Please format your work so all pages can be printed out at 8.5 x 11. (Max file size 5 MB)
  • A list of three references, with contact information.

If you need an extension, email Siyona Ravi at

For further details, please visit the official website.