Odyssey Fellows Program: 2022-2023


Deadline for application: Friday, May 6, 2022

The Odyssey Fellows program equips emerging faith leaders to convene brave and healing conversations on challenging civic issues across lines of difference leveraging the power of media/film.

Odyssey Impact® is pleased to announce a new fellowship opportunity for emerging faith leaders for the 2022-23 academic year. This year’s cohort will represent emerging leaders across multiple faith traditions and international contexts.

Each Odyssey Fellowship includes the following programmatic components:

• $2,000 stipend for academic year 2022-23, paid through the Fellow’s educational institution (seminary contextual education dept. or similar)

• Participation in an international cohort of 10 colleagues working as reconcilers and bridge-builders across lines of difference from faith perspectives, engaging challenging civic issues, with ongoing opportunities as “Fellows Alum” in the future

• Mentorship and project development that align with each Fellow’s existing academic and vocational commitments (e.g. field education placements and contracts, internships, etc.)

• Specialized training for leading difficult conversations across lines of differences with trauma-informed approaches to media use and dialogue facilitation, including reconciliation skills

• $1,000 available for student projects, in collaboration with Odyssey and the Fellow’s educational institution (seminary or other)

• Three in-person cohort experiences (all travel & lodging expenses included)

• Immersion/cohort training at Rose Castle in the U.K., Aug. 13-21, 2022

• Interfaith cross-cultural experience and leadership in a screening event in Alexandria, Egypt, Jan. 3-10, 2023

• Final in-person convening in Atlanta, GA, in collaboration with the Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing, and the Multifaith Initiative to End Mass Incarceration and the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church and the Temple April/May 2023 (TBD)

Applicants will propose a “rough draft” of a potential project that could be completed in the 2022-23 academic year in the applicant’s context. This proposed project would allow the applicant, given further training, to lead a brave and healing conversation across differences on a challenging civic issue in their context, leveraging the power of documentary film. See further details below.

Who is Odyssey Impact®?

Odyssey Impact® is a team of film and social justice professionals based in NYC who believe that powerful storytelling can motivate transformational conversations and social change. As a non-profit, part of Odyssey’s mission is to partner with faith communities and theological education institutions on issues of civic concern, such as racial justice, mass incarceration, gender-based violence, and faith communities healing in the wake of violent trauma. More info at www.odyssey-impact.org.

Who is eligible to apply to be an Odyssey Fellow?

This year’s expanded scope allows for emerging faith leaders of any faith tradition to apply. The applicant may be any age or life stage, but must be in an educational program preparing them to lead as a faith-formed community leader. Odyssey Fellows are faith-formed leaders in houses of worship as well as secular contexts, convening community dialogue in some form. The strongest applicants will have some familiarity with the community in which they will serve/lead in 2022-23, and will articulate the particular challenges facing that community. Strong English language proficiency and a passport valid for international travel to the U.S., U.K., and Egypt are required. This year, we are particularly interested in expanding outside the U.S., particularly to emerging faith leaders in the U.K. and Egypt.

What sort of project proposals will be best?

he Odyssey Fellows selection committee hopes to be surprised by ideas we never could have imagined! Especially impressive will be concrete, achievable projects that creatively attend to the particulars of the candidate’s context. Potential strong project proposals elements may include community screenings of documentary films sparking brave and healing conversations on divisive civic issues. The strongest proposals will be those evidencing an emerging faith leader serving in a context in which skilled, sensitive facilitation is needed.

What if I am being trained/educated outside of a theological education (seminary) institution?

The Odyssey Fellows program partners with internship, residency, field/contextual ed. departments within theological educational institutions. Alternative arrangements and flexibility will be considered for students outside the U.S., and for students within non-Christian institutions.

How can candidates view Odyssey Impact® films?

First, we invite candidates to view trailers for films (long-form and short-form) across Odyssey Impact®’s catalog. Contact Rev. Dr. Katie Givens Kime ([email protected]) if, after watching any of the trailers, you would like to view the entire piece. Odyssey Impact® specializes in presenting Award-winning films, accompanied by both toolkits and expert staff support to assist with screenings and events that help leaders and communities affect change on civic issues of concern.

Click here to read film synopses

Click here to view sampler playlist from Odyssey Impact® film catalogue

Please contact [email protected] if you would like to view full versions of the films

Successful candidacy

The strongest candidates for Odyssey Fellowships will demonstrate desire to learn more/develop skills in reaching out across divides within or between communities. They will exhibit passion for and experience in ministry, in a faith or secular setting, related to particular justice issues that connect in some way with one or more of Odyssey Impact®’s documentary films. The successful candidate will propose a creative, achievable project to be completed in the 2022-23 academic year, that complement existing academic and vocational commitments, and will show interest in gaining fluency in using film to create the opportunity for dialogue, new partnerships and faithful action. Students beginning their academic program in fall 2022 will not be considered.

Application Instructions
  1. Write a 2-3 page essay on why you have chosen to apply for the Odyssey Fellow position, your vocational goals, your particular skills for ministry, and the things you would like to practice, experience, and learn through the internship; the specific issues related to “brave and healing conversations” that you intend to explore; how this relates to any of the issues uplifted in Odyssey’s film catalog, and how this will deepen your leadership ability. Essays should be written in 12-point Times New Roman font, double-spaced with 1” margins on all four sides.
  2. Current resume/CV
  3. Name of one faculty member who can serve as a reference.
  4. Name the site supervisor who can serve as a reference.
  5. Submit materials via email, no later than 12noon EST on Fri. May 6, 2022, to [email protected]. Late or incomplete applications may not be considered. 
  6. A selection committee will read proposals and interview candidates in late April/early May, and selections will be announced May 20, 2022.

Questions may be directed to Rev. Dr. Katie Givens Kime, Director of Religion and Civic Engagement at Odyssey: [email protected].

Click here to read film synopses

Click here to view sampler playlist from Odyssey Impact® film catalogue

Please contact [email protected] if you would like to view full versions of the films

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ for Odyssey Fellows program applicants 2022-23

Q: Is this a filmmaking internship?
A: No, though Odyssey Impact® encourages emerging faith leaders to be media makers, this fellowship instead equips emerging faith leaders for fluency in using film for the purposes of healing and growth, and convening conversations on difficult civic issues across lines of difference.

Q: Does the Odyssey Fellowship count as a field/contextual ed. placement, or as an internship?
A: No, the Odyssey Impact® Fellowship is more like a “booster pack” for your context in the coming academic year. Odyssey does NOT place you at a field/contextual education site or an internship. Instead, we seek to enhance the experience of the work you will do there, for both you and the community where you will serve. The $2,000 stipend is additional financial support for the Fellow as a student, and does not replace any compensation the Fellow is already receiving.

Q: How much extra work/time commitment is the Odyssey Fellowship?
A: The Odyssey Fellowship is not intended to require much extra time commitment in addition to what you’ll already be doing at your contextual/field education site, beyond the required three in-person convenings (UK, Egypt, and Atlanta [U.S.]). Instead, Odyssey seeks to offer valuable support and training to students working at sites that would benefit from increased fluency in engaging media, and in convening conversations on difficult civic issues across lines of difference.

Q: Is this program meant for people serving houses of worship (congregations), or for people NOT serving houses of worship?
A: Both! Odyssey is excited to receive applications from a wide range of applicants, serving in faith-based or secular communities in which skilled, sensitive facilitation of some sort of community conversation (rather than providing individual spiritual care) is needed.

Q: Is this program meant only for people who identify as “progressive” or “liberal” within their faith tradition?
A: No, the Odyssey Fellows program is intended to support a truly diverse cohort, ideally reflecting multiple traditions and multiple nationalities, as well as a range of theological, ideological, and political commitments. Fellows Alum say that relationships emerging from their cohort experiences are among the most prized outcomes of the program.

Q: Is this program meant for people who have lots of interfaith / multifaith experience?
A: No interfaith or multifaith experience is required nor even necessarily preferred; Odyssey Fellows program is intended to support a truly diverse cohort reflecting a range of experiences and perspectives, including those emerging faith leaders without any interfaith/multifaith exposure.

Q: What do you mean by “difficult civic issues”? Which issues? And which “lines of difference”?
A: For the purposes of this program, a difficult civic issue is any topic of public importance that is experienced, in a particular context, as divisive. For example, racial justice might be a hotly divisive topic for one context, but in another context, it’s private prisons, or political polarities, immigration. Similarly, a “line of difference” is highly contextual: religious tradition, political identity, race, sexual/gender identity, etc. The “lines of difference” can be within the community you serve, or between your community and another community (for instance, your congregation and another congregation which span a “line of difference”).

Q: Are Odyssey Fellows limited to using only documentary films from Odyssey’s catalog?
A: Certainly not! Odyssey will choose candidates proposing projects at sites which would clearly benefit from the opportunities afforded by a screening of one of Odyssey’s films. However, the Odyssey Fellows program is about the formation of media-fluent faith leaders engaging tough civic topics. We’re excited to help Fellows heal communities, lead well, and affect change. We encourage the use of films that fit the context and the need, whether they be from Odyssey or some other source.

Q: Where is the website on which I complete my application?
A: Instead of a website application, applicants assemble the required components per the instructions within the Fellows 2022-23 Program Announcement. Please allow enough time to adequately think through your proposed project, and discuss with the person who will supervise you at your site next year!