Wellcome Screenwriting Fellowship in partnership with BFI and Film4
We award this fellowship to a screenwriter whose work is bold, original and authentic.
Selected from over 100 names nominated by the film and television industries, Michaela Coel (Chewing Gum) has received the 2017 fellowship in recognition of her remarkable screenwriting talent and distinctive approach to exploring the human condition.
On this page
Why the fellowship is important to us
We run the fellowship to:
- recognise cinematic storytelling that’s visionary, original and enquiring
- offer a unique and thought-provoking experience for a screenwriter or writer/director
- inspire future ideas for film
- explore the intersection between cinema and science.
Our Screenwriting Fellows
2017: Our current fellow is Michaela Coel (Chewing Gum).
2016: Sally Wainwright (Happy Valley, Last Tango in Halifax, Scott & Bailey). Sally immersed herself in researching her forthcoming drama about Yorkshire landowner, diarist, mountaineer and traveller Anne Lister, exploring historical attitudes to sexuality and mental health.
2015: Carol Morley (The Falling, Dreams of a Life). Carol is currently researching the life of artist Audrey Amiss, whose work and life she discovered through Audrey’s extraordinary archive at Wellcome Library.
2014: Jonathan Glazer (Under the Skin, Sexy Beast). Jonathan explored a range of psychological, historical and ethical themes during his fellowship, which are now feeding into his next project.
2013: Clio Barnard (The Arbor, The Selfish Giant). Clio's latest film Dark River, which she developed during her fellowship after meeting with psychologists and psychiatrists working on traumatic memory, received its world premiere at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival.
What we’re looking for
We award the fellowship to a screenwriter with a distinctive voice. They should have a strong portfolio of previous work that's been produced for film and/or TV.
We expect our Screenwriting Fellows to:
- be curious and open-minded
- make time to explore, research and think
- act as an ambassador for Wellcome in the film industry.
Many of the opportunities offered as part of the award take place in the UK. Our fellows don't have to be UK based, but they should be in the UK for much of their fellowship year.
What we offer
Wellcome wants to improve health for everyone by helping great ideas to thrive. We believe the best way to encourage creativity is to allow people time and space.
This year-long fellowship offers a chance to explore the unrivalled resources available through Wellcome. We work with each fellow to tailor their year to their interests.
Fellowship activities might include:
- introductions to scientists, historians, social scientists, ethicists and creative practitioners (including other Wellcome fellows)
- behind-the-scenes access to Wellcome Library and our interdisciplinary spaces, Wellcome Collection and The Hub
- access to Blythe House's private archives, which hold thousands of Henry Wellcome’s collected objects
- visits to Wellcome centres across the world, such as the Oxford Centre for Neuroethics and our major overseas programmes.
Each fellow is supported by a £30,000 bursary.
We don't expect our Screenwriting Fellows to produce a script during their fellowship. Instead, we hope they will immerse themselves in the new experiences we can offer.
How we choose Screenwriting Fellows
This fellowship is an annual industry-nominated award. We announce the fellow each November.
We work with BFI, Film4 and industry organisations to identify potential fellows. A panel of industry experts, chaired by an independent professional, makes the final decision.
If you’re not a nominee but you have a script or project idea, you might be interested in applying to our Public Engagement Fund.