Call for Pitches: “Reimagining Rural Cartographies”

Barn Raiser is seeking proposals for our upcoming series of arts and culture stories “Reimagining Rural Cartographies.”

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 submit a 200-300 word description of your idea above, or send it to Lydia at along with 2-4 links to recent and relevant work. If accepted, we will work together to determine the best timeline for your project. Each project comes with a $1,000 stipend.

Proposals will be accepted on a rolling basis.

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.

Barn Raiser is a nonprofit media outlet that publishes independent news, analysis and information to support diverse, civically engaged and dynamically connected rural and small town communities.