The Newsletter 94 Spring 2023

What we talk about when we talk about being a fellow at IIAS

Laura Erber

Each year, IIAS hosts a group of researchers with diverse profiles from all areas of the Humanities and Social Sciences. We greatly value the quality of our fellows’ academic production as well as their unique individual professional careers and engagement in activities outside the academic sphere. IIAS also welcomes self-funded visiting senior researchers and invited strategic collaborators (usually researchers already collaborating with one of the Institute's projects). In addition, the Institute sponsors the Chair of Taiwan Studies at Leiden University and IIAS.

The IIAS Fellowship Programme provides an environment where fellows from different parts of Asia and other continents, conducting research in different fields, can engage in debates that broaden their perspectives on Asian Studies beyond their particular national configurations. The programme offers a variety of activities that aim to encourage the individual development of its fellows and to facilitate the creation of a professional and social network that will benefit them long after their fellowship comes to an end. Moreover, IIAS invites its fellows to be active participants in the Institute’s activities.

Our programme proposes activities conducive to the fellows’ professional placement and is designed to encourage self-reflection about the researchers’ place and position within their respective academic fields. During their stay at IIAS, fellows define the pace of their work and are encouraged to propose events with the help of the programme’s coordinator, Laura Erber. Fellows can give lectures and invite other researchers based in the Netherlands or passing through Leiden for Conversation Sessions, in which they can publicly discuss topics related to their research. We are open to designing workshops, outings and study groups according to the interests and needs of the fellows currently present at the institute. We organise internal activities, for both fellows and the IIAS team, such as our Inspirational Sessions. These are meetings in which fellows propose alternative ways to access their academic field and share their research interests with other fellows. Fellows may choose a film (of any genre) or text (theoretical or literary) that has inspired and shaped their academic path or relates in a relevant way to their research subject. We also organise outings, such as museum visits, guided tours to local breweries or a critical walk through the urban history of Rotterdam.

Fellows are considered active participants in the life of the institute. They can contribute to the IIAS Newsletter, propose podcasts or engage with those working in other IIAS programmes. We also encourage them to take advantage of their terms at IIAS to elaborate on new strategies for transdisciplinary collaboration and to come up with innovative ways to enhance the production and transmission of knowledge. Gathered in the cosy atmosphere of Leiden, this group of scholars, whose experiences are undoubtedly enriched by the diversity of its members, is invited to engage with the various activities of IIAS and find ways to collaborate with and contribute to the projects developed by the institute. You can read more about this in the IIAS Director’s Note on page 3 of this issue: ‘A New Fellowship Coordinator for a Revamped Programme’.

In view of the fast-changing academic landscape, the IIAS Fellowship Programme aims to contribute to improving scholarly practices and enhancing interactions between universities and society. It is meant to provide a space that allows fellows to reinvent and hopefully re-enchant academic practices free from the increasing constraints imposed on higher education staff. Our objective is to facilitate the full development of each fellow’s research project in a space conducive to academic and intellectual exchanges that values a reflexive approach to academic culture.

Laura Erber, IIAS Fellowship Programme Coordinator


IIAS Fellowships

From the Director