Deadline Feb. 15 for Writers Residency

Housatonic Heritage Writers Residency

At Arrowhead and Pittsfield High School

Sponsored by Housatonic Heritage,  with Arrowhead,  Pittsfield High School, City of Pittsfield

Housatonic Heritage has announced a new opportunity at Arrowhead in Pittsfield and invites applications from area writers.  The project will take place in the spring of 2012, and will include time for the writer to work in Herman Melville’s study at Arrowhead, as well as an opportunity to lead student workshops there and at Pittsfield High School. A culminating event at Arrowhead is part of the program. At this time, this residency does not include housing, and so the writer will live within commuting distance of Arrowhead.

Partners in the Housatonic Heritage Writers Residency are Housatonic Heritage, Arrowhead, Pittsfield High School, and the City of Pittsfield’s Office of Cultural Development. Housatonic Heritage, in spearheading this effort, hopes to expose writers and students to area resources, to stimulate student interest in writing, and to connect them to the region’s literary heritage.

The 2012 residency will give primary focus to Arrowhead.  Students, teachers, and the writer will immerse themselves in the stories of the place, selected writings of Melville, and the place itself: its woods, meadow, orchard, and the house.  The students and their teacher will also engage in some site-specific project or activity, about which they will write.  Future sites for similar collaboration will be considered.

The Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area (Housatonic Heritage) works to preserve and promote the historical, cultural and natural resources of the Upper Housatonic River Valley region.  Housatonic Heritage serves the 29-town Housatonic River watershed region, extending from Kent, Conn. to Lanesboro and Dalton, Mass.

Arrowhead is the home of the Berkshire Historical Society, an organization dedicated to collecting, preserving, and disseminating the history of Berkshire County. In addition, the Berkshire Historical Society is committed to the preservation and interpretation of Arrowhead, home of author Herman Melville, the first National Historic Landmark to be so designated in Berkshire County.

The Pittsfield School district is comprised of 12 schools, including two high schools, and serves 6,000 students. The project would take place in Pittsfield High School.

Details of the residency can be seen in the Arts Heritage section of the Housatonic Heritage website:

The deadline for applications is February 15, 2012. The residency will begin in early spring, the date and details to be discussed and negotiated during the interview process.

Writers Residency

Arrowhead and Pittsfield High School

Writers have the unique opportunity to spend time in the study of one of America’s most well-known and respected writers, Herman Melville. The selected writer will have the opportunity to work on his or her own work, and to study some aspect of Melville’s writing, his home, or his property.  The residency also includes the opportunity to teach particular aspects of their craft to high school students and to help students learn about Melville and his home, Arrowhead.

Qualifications: A writer with teaching experience is preferred.  The writer must be interested in learning about a placed based approach to teaching high school students.  The residency does not include housing, and so the selected writer will live within commuting distance to Arrowhead.

How the writer is selected

Letter of interest and resume; include information about which aspects of the craft you might like to teach, and writing samples,* and send to Judith Monachina, Housatonic Heritage Writers Residency,  P.O. Box 611, Gt. Barrington, Mass. 01260, by February 15, 2012.  Writers whose qualifications and interests best match the requirements of the residency will be interviewed.

* Writing samples:  For essays and poetry, not more than 15 pages.  For fiction and narrative nonfiction, not more than 20 pages.  Sample must be submitted on 8  ½ by 11 paper.

Deadline for application February 15, 2012.

Schedule for Residency:  The schedule can be determined by the writer and organizing committee based on the writer’s availability and the school schedule.  Possibilities for the schedule have been proposed and include the following:

• Schedule Option 1)  Intensive, 1 month. Work full time in Melville’s study for three or four weeks.  Students meet the writer at Arrowhead at the end of his or her residency. Then the writer goes to Pittsfield High School to work with the students and their teacher. The students, their teacher and the writer present a reading at Arrowhead.

• Schedule Option 2)  Work in the study one or two days/afternoons per week over a period of three months.  Concurrently, the writer runs workshops in the school, and in the final week of the residency, he or she coordinates a reading of the students’ work at Arrowhead.

Stipend: The writer receives a stipend of $2,000 upon completion of the project.

The Residency, Arrowhead: A local writer is invited to spend a period of time writing in Herman Melville’s study at Arrowhead.  The idea is to give a local writer access to this quiet and special work space.  That period of time may be one full-time month, a shorter full-time period with a part-time period to follow, or part time. Details will depend upon the selected writer’s availability and the contingencies of the site.  Students and their teacher will visit the site one day during the residency and engage in a site specific activity with the writer. There they will engage in activities that encourage exploration of the site and the various aspects of Melville as a person who lived and worked there.

Residency, part two, Pittsfield High School

After the period of the Arrowhead residency, the writer will go into the high school to lead workshops with teachers and students.  At the end of the school portion, which may occur on 3 separate days, be a solid week of one class per day, or another combination of times, depending on what the teachers deem appropriate, the group will present their writing, with a reception, at Arrowhead.