Call for Pitches – Reimagining Rural Cartographies: Mapping a Way Forward

by Jessica Stolen
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Barn Raiser, a nonprofit media outlet that publishes independent news, analysis and information to support diverse, civically engaged and dynamically connected rural and small town communities, is commissioning a series of arts and culture stories. 

Stories (including creative nonfiction, reported stories, and photo essays) will explore the work of artists, environmental stewards, community organizers and artistic and social justice movements informing Midwestern creativity and social change, with a focus on reimagined or nontraditional forms of cartography and mapping.    

Stories in this series will explore work made by people living in rural areas and small towns or work that reflects what’s happening in rural communities and small towns within Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin and the Native Nations that share this geography. 

The theme of mapping could be expressed through the story’s subject or its construction. For example, a story could explore the work of someone who is combining art and data to map the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women/Relatives (MMIW/R) crisis, a photo essay could create a map of the work of citizen environmental stewards, etc. Pitches that highlight the work of artists who are members of communities that have been historically marginalized will be prioritized. 

Interested writers or photographers: Please send a 200-300 word description of your idea to Lydia at and 2-4 links to recent and relevant work. If accepted, Barn Raiser will work together with the artist to determine the best timeline for your project. Each project comes with a $1,000 stipend.

Reported stories up to 1,500 words
Essays up to 2,500 words
Photo essays 15-20 images

Eligibility: This project is open to anyone, but writers and photographers currently living in the Midwest will be given preference.

CLOSESMarch 15, 2024 12:00 am

More info

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