The UTSC Library Sophia Hilton Storytelling Fellowship launches inaugural call for applicants

The U of T Scarborough Library is pleased to announce the launch of the UTSC Library Sophia Hilton Storytelling Fellowship under the mentorship of Anthropologist Dr. Brenda Beck. This award is open to full-time U of T Scarborough students past their first year of study. Full details are below.

The UTSC Library Sophia Hilton Storytelling Fellowship provides three students the opportunity to spend eight months immersed in the art and practice of storytelling. Successful recipients will be funded to learn about storytelling under the mentorship of Anthropologist Dr. Brenda Beck, and to hone their creativity and performance skills.  

UTSC Storytelling Fellows will work to develop, experiment, and execute a variety of storytelling delivery strategies for both online and in-person audiences (including field trips to venues in Scarborough), although in-person delivery will be limited to strategies that will be effective given evolving COVID-19 restrictions.  

In 2020-21, recipients will focus on the rich Tamil epic known as The Legend of Ponnivala (alternately: The Land of the Golden River). Fellows will explore a wide variety of teaching plans and topics for this story and will develop innovative plans and story teaching approaches. Fellows have creative freedom to explore mythical and symbolic themes, social justice issues, economic development and its impact on society, immigration, colonial settlement, aboriginal population marginalization, family descent dynamics and more. Stories will be recorded for the UTSC Library’s Digital Tamil Collections.  

To complete the fellowship, recipients will log activities and complete a final report discussing their experiences and the effectiveness of the strategies they have employed, and applicants should expect to commit time to assigned background reading and research and to collaborate with the other Fellows in the program. 


September 2021 to late March 2022 with some flexibility depending on student requirements 


Students will be awarded an honorarium of $4,000 and can request funding to support some travel and equipment/supplies over the course of the program. 

Eligibility and Application Process 

  • Students must be registered at the University of Toronto Scarborough as full-time students
  • Students must have completed their first year of study.

Interested candidates are asked to submit unofficial transcripts, a statement of interest, and a CV to by August 31, 2021. 

Statement of Interest 

In your statement of interest, please indicate: 

  • Languages you can speak, read, and write 
  • Instruments you can play or musical expertise you possess (if any) 
  • Details of your experiences with storytelling/drama clubs or live performance (including languages utilized) 
  • How you believe storytelling skills will prepare you for your future, and why.  

Students should anticipate spending an average of 10-15 hours a week dedicated to the fellowship, with hours fluctuating depending on plan of work determined in consultation with their supervisor and Faculty mentor Dr. Brenda Beck. Recipients must consent to the recording of storytelling performances and the stewardship of these recordings by UTSC Library. Familiarity with Tamil language and culture will be considered an asset, but lack of knowledge does not disqualify you from applying. Participants seeking a future in education and performance are encouraged to apply, as well as those with interest in production/digital skills and storytelling methods. Demonstrated experience with storytelling is not a pre-requisite for the Fellowship, although letters of interest should strongly demonstrate the candidate’s interest in developing these skills as well as general enthusiasm for the program. 

Students should have computer equipment sufficient to enable participation in remote meetings and performances as part of the Fellowship.  

Questions about the Fellowship can also be directed to