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BSA News

Dec 02, 2020

Rotch Travelling Scholarship 2021

Costanza header

Image courtesy David Costanza, 2020 Rotch Travelling Scholar

The Boston Society for Architecture (BSA) is pleased to share that the Rotch Travelling Scholarship, the longest-running scholarship of its kind in the United States, will continue in 2021—it will just look a little different.

What does a travelling scholarship look like during a global pandemic?

The Competition

The Rotch Travelling Scholarship takes place in two parts:

  • A three-day preliminary competition, whose entries are submitted virtually and juried blindly; and
  • A ten-day preliminary competition, which has historically culminated in an in-person presentation to the jury by all finalists and an announcement of the winner and runner-up

What has Changed

In 2020, the Rotch Committee and the final competition participants had to adapt to an all-virtual platform, which the Committee plans to maintain for the 2021 competition. All entries—for both the preliminary competition and the final competition—will be submitted virtually, and all final competition presentations will take place via video call, eliminating the need for jurors and finalists to gather in person.

The Charge

The Rotch Travelling Scholar is awarded $40,000 to travel and research architecture, historically meeting the following conditions:

  • All travel is international
  • Travel must take place for a minimum of six consecutive months
  • Travel must begin before the end of the year during which the scholar was announced (for example, the 2019 scholar must have started travel on or before December 31, 2019)
  • The scholar must keep a record of their travel and research to receive payments while travelling
  • The scholar must submit a final report detailing their travel and research to receive their final payment and to be housed in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Rotch Library as part of the Rotch Travelling Scholarship archive

What has Changed

For 2020 and 2021 at least, the Rotch Committee and the Rotch Board of Trustees are easing the conditions of the scholarship, given the global pandemic and the health and safety concerns related to travel. The scholar will work closely with the Committee to make a plan that fulfills the spirit of the charge while operating within the constraints of COVID-19. For this time, travel is not required to be international, nor is it required to be six consecutive months. The 2020 scholar, David Costanza, is empowered to conduct research while at home and to make a limited number of smart and safe trips to supplement that research.

How to Apply

You can apply for the 2021 Rotch Travelling Scholarship Competition by visiting the application page. The application takes no longer than five minutes, but certain eligibility restrictions apply.

Learn More

You can view the 2020 Rotch Travelling Scholarship finalists’ work here.

If you have further questions about the Rotch Travelling Scholarship, please contact Patricia Olshan at [email protected].

About the Rotch Travelling Scholarship with Peter Wiederspahn AIA