Call for Maintenance Research Fellows – Summer 2021

Overview: The Maintainers ( is a global research network interested in the concepts of maintenance, infrastructure, repair, and the myriad forms of labor and expertise that sustain our human-built world.

We are seeking: Applicants for up to three research fellow positions. These fellows will conduct a literature review and landscape scan of scholarship and practice-based initiatives that engage deeply in key topics related to maintenance, repair, and infrastructure. Although we are open to suggestions and proposals for different topics that relate to our mission, we are especially interested in these four questions:

  • How do race, ethnicity, and gender relate to maintenance?

  • What are some intersectional and multidimensional approaches to infrastructure planning and compensation for maintenance and care work?

  • What are the overlaps and tensions between maintenance and the environment?

  • How can business practices in areas such as accounting, finance, human resources, etc., contribute to humanistic and political goals of achieving a more caring and well-maintained world?

 These research positions are intended to run from August 2021 to the end of September 2021. The final report/deliverables will be due no later than October 8, 2021. Compensation is $3500 per position, with half paid in early July, and half paid upon submission of the final report/deliverables. Summer fellows are generously funded by the Siegel Family Foundation.

Important Dates:

  • Call goes out and applications open: June 15, 2021

  • Applications close: July 2, 2021

  • Applicants receive notification: July 12, 2021

  • Fellowship begins: August 2, 2021

  • Fellowship deliverables due: October 8, 2021

 Core Responsibilities

  • Complete a literature review and landscape scan that identifies people who are already contributing to the movement for maintenance thinking and action through their scholarship, organizational mission and activities, professional work, and/or individual practice.

  • Write a 10 page/2500 word (minimum) written report that contains the following:

    • An overview of current discourse around the topic;

    • Names and bios for at least 5 notable scholars or writers contributing this topic globally;

    • Names, websites, and activities of at least 5 organizations contributing to this topic globally;

    • A discussion of how the work of these people and organizations connects directly to the Maintainers mission and the goal of movement building for maintenance thinking and action;

    • Where appropriate, suggestions for future research and/or collaboration;

    • An annotated bibliography

  • Write two blog posts – one for each month of the fellowship – representing the research fellow’s experiences, ways of approaching the exploration, and reflections on findings.

  • Meet with Maintainers staff for two one-hour sessions: the first to establish common goals, and the second to review findings. The research fellow will work independently and fully remote for the duration of this fellowship.

Skills and Experience

  • Interest in, knowledge of, and/or past or current studies in the areas of: Public Policy, Law, Social Studies of Science & Technology, Media Studies, Journalism, Information Science, Geography & Planning, Sociology, Psychology, or other relevant disciplines;

  • Strong writing skills for both academic and non-academic audiences;

  • An appreciation that different communities and stakeholders have diverse and complex engagements with the concept of maintenance and its implications.

Application Process: Please submit a one page cover letter and resume/curriculum vitae to Lee Vinsel, and Lauren Dapena Fraiz at Your cover letter should clearly address the following:

  • Why are The Maintainer’s mission and values compelling to you?

  • Which question(s) are you interested in engaging for this summer research fellowship (listed in the Overview section above) , and why you are interested in that/those particular questions?

  • What are your preliminary thoughts on how best to approach the landscape scan?

  • How does the summer research fellowship align with your personal and/or professional goals?

The Maintainers believe that traditional hiring and recruitment practices disproportionately impact the most marginalized people in society in negative ways, including people of color, people from working-class backgrounds, women, and LGBTQIA people. Because we believe that movement building is most powerful in creating change when it is informed by many different lived experiences, we strongly encourage applications from individuals with these identities or who are members of other marginalized communities. This research fellowship is open to applicants based in the United States as well as internationally. Meetings will be scheduled during EST/CST regular business hours.