How This New Residency for Journalists and Filmmakers Seeks to Bolster Longform Work

Accomplished journalists and filmmakers take note: a new residency is now available to you, which might give you the needed space and time to complete that much-dreamed-about project.

There is an unusual backstory for the Carey Institute for Global Good, which was founded in 2012 and aims to foster creative projects and dialogue to contribute to "a strong, educated and just society." According to Paul Grondahl of the Times Union, the late billionaire and Rensselaerville socialite William Polk Carey (a descendant of President James T. Polk) bought the property in 2011 from the financial floundering Rensselaerville Institute. At that time, he also recruited a local leader in the community, Carol Ash, to run a new organization on the sprawling 100-acre property. He then died unexpectedly of a cardiac arrest only months later, and his nearly $1 billion in assets went into probate.

During his lifetime, Carey made large gifts of $50 million to both Johns Hopkins and Arizona State Universities, creating Carey Business Schools at both institutions. He also made a $30 million gift to the University of Maryland Law School, in honor of his grandfather.

In 2014, probate court cleared Carey’s estate, and $10 million was given by his heirs and foundation to create the Carey Institute for Global Good in the village of Rensselaerville, NY. The institute started The Carey Nonfiction Program in 2015, to provide a home for resident fellows in journalism and filmmaking to come for 12-week residencies.

“Our goal has been to establish a space where creativity and community come together to foster serious, in-depth journalism, regardless the type of media. Previous fellows have found their time at Carey to be extremely productive and rewarding,” said Tom Jennings, director of the Nonfiction program.

The fall 2016 cohort counts among its fellows many who have already been distinguished by other awards, including recipients of the MacArthur “genius” Award, the Harvard Nieman Fellowship, the Fulbright Fellowship, the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center Fellowship and other prestigious awards.

According to a press release from the institute, topics to be tackled by the current Fall 2016 fellows include global and national issues: “the Syria and the hostage crisis; elder justice issues in America; an anthropological exploration of South American birds of prey; the child welfare system in the U.S.; and the international community’s withdrawal from Afghanistan.”

The Carey Institute for Global Good also has three other programs along with its nonfiction residencies: Sustainable Communities, Education, and Art and Music. All of these programs aim to solve social problems and use the environment of the Carey Institute to inspire creative works as well as strategic plans for social change. 

Applications for the spring 2017 class are no longer open. If you’re interested in applying for a future one, keep an eye on the Carey Institute’s website.