University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

Request for Proposals: The Work of the Humanities in a Changing Climate
Deadline October 31, 2017

The Humanities Without Walls consortium invites applications for funding from cross-institutional teams of faculty and graduate students wishing to collaboratively pursue research topics related to “The Work of the Humanities in a Changing Climate.” Note: UMN faculty project leaders and coordinators should contact IAS Director Jennifer Gunn ( no later than October 1, 2017 with an email indicating intent to apply for this challenge, the project title, and all external collaborators and their institutions.

Call for Applications: Humanities Without Walls Pre-doctoral Career Diversity Summer Workshop
Deadline November 1, 2017

The Humanities Without Walls consortium invites applications for fellowships from pre-doctoral students to participate in a three-week intensive, residential summer workshop in 2018 for individuals who are working towards but have not yet received a PhD in a humanities discipline, and who plan to continue their degree programs while also considering careers outside the academy and/or the tenure-track university system.

The summer workshop will instruct students in the various ways they can leverage their preexisting and developing skill sets towards the pursuit of careers in the public humanities and the private sector (also sometimes referred to as “alt-ac” careers). Familiarity with the vital connections between academic and public worlds can also enrich traditional scholarly endeavors. Guest speakers—including leaders from the non-profit world, the private sector, federal and state government offices, public media, arts administration, NGOs, and more—will make daily presentations to workshop fellows. Field trips to relevant sites will supplement the instruction that takes place in the workshop. Graduates from the workshop will emerge with a network of contacts in a range of professional realms; a significantly broadened sense of the career possibilities that await humanities PhDs; a cohort of “alt-ac” fellows from whom they may draw support and advice; and a set of resources aimed at helping them advance into the various realms considered under the broad rubric of “the public humanities.”

The workshop will be in Chicago; dates are to be determined, but most likely will be July16-August 3, 2018. The workshop will take place all day, five days/week for three weeks. There are no events scheduled during weekends, but CHF will circulate a list of interesting and exciting activities happening around Chicago that students are welcome to explore on their own.

All applicants must be enrolled in a doctoral degree program in a humanities discipline at a PhD-granting institution within the United States. Applicants may be at any stage of their doctoral work, but they cannot have already received the doctoral degree at the time the workshops take place. Ideally, applicants will have completed some coursework towards the PhD, and they may have been advanced to candidacy but are not yet finishing their dissertations. International students are eligible to apply, but are responsible for confirming their registration and eligibility status at their home universities; HWW is not responsible for issuing visa paperwork.

Each fellow will receive a $5,000 prize intended to cover travel to and from the summer workshop, most meals, and all incidentals. Fellows will be expected to arrange and pay for their own travel using the funds from this stipend. The Chicago Humanities Festival will be arranging housing for all fellows at DeWitt Hotel & Suites in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood. All fellows will be expected to attend the entire workshop for the entire three weeks.

Application instructions. The IAS is the HWW consortium’s University of Minnesota partner institution. U of MN students who wish to apply should submit:

  • A completed application cover sheet,
  • A narrative of no more than 1,000 words explaining the applicant’s intended career trajectory and addressing the following questions:
    • Why do you want to attend the workshop?
    • What are the most important pieces of information you are seeking?
  • A 2-page CV
  • Two letters of recommendation. One letter should be from the applicant’s primary adviser/dissertation chair; both should emphasize the applicant’s fit for this workshop.

All materials must be submitted to by 5 p.m. Wednesday, November 1 2017.
Applicants should submit the cover sheet, narrative, and CV as attachments in a single email with the subject line “HWW workshop – [applicant’s surname]”
Letters of recommendation should be submitted directly by the letter writer or department with the subject line “HWW workshop – [applicant’s surname] recommendation”

The IAS will nominate up to four finalists to the national competition. Announcement of fellowship awards will be made by the end of January 2018.



The Humanities Without Walls consortium links the humanities centers at 15 research universities throughout the Midwest and beyond.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded $7,200,000 to the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities (IPRH) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to fund six years of an extensive consortium of fifteen humanities institutes in the Midwest and beyond. By leveraging the strengths of multiple distinctive campuses, the initiative, titled “Humanities Without Walls,” aims to create new avenues for collaborative research, teaching, and the production of scholarship in the humanities, forging and sustaining areas of inquiry that cannot be created or maintained without cross-institutional cooperation.

The grant, led by IPRH Director and Principal Investigator Antoinette Burton, makes possible two initiatives: One supports the development of summer workshops for pre-doctoral students in the humanities who intend to pursue careers outside the academy; A second initiative funds cross-institutional teams of faculty and graduate students pursuing research that focuses on a grand challenge: “The Work of the Humanities in a Changing Climate.”

The consortium includes 13 of the institutions that belong to the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC)—Indiana University, Michigan State University, Northwestern University, Ohio State University, Penn State University, Purdue University; and the Universities of Chicago, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Wisconsin-Madison—plus the University of Notre Dame and the University of Illinois at Chicago. The humanities centers at the 15 consortial institutions will serve as the hubs for collaboration. The Chicago Humanities Festival and the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are also serving as key intellectual and infrastructural partners for the project.

The 21st century presents a clear and pressing need to collaboratively mobilize the collective resources of the heartland’s institutions of higher education. This consortium of humanities centers will together advance innovative and experimental research and pedagogical practices by sharing unevenly distributed resources across institutional walls, and by testing new ideas at scale. Humanities centers can best undertake this work because they are already sites of innovation on university campuses, generating ideas and stimulating new knowledge on campuses through the creation and funding of major initiatives.

The Humanities Without Walls consortium is the first of its kind to experiment at this large scale with cross-institutional collaboration.