You are here: Home / Funding Opportunities / Humanities Without Walls / Pre-Doctoral Summer Workshop

Pre-Doctoral Summer Workshop

Call for Applications: 2017 Humanities Without Walls Consortium

Pre-Doctoral Summer Workshop

Application Deadline for submission to IAH is October 15th, 2016

 See application requirements and procedures at the bottom of this page.


The Humanities Without Walls is a consortium of humanities centers and institutes at 15 major research universities throughout the Midwest and beyond. Based at the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), the consortium is funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. In summer 2017, this consortium will sponsor our first national summer workshop for graduate students interested in learning about careers outside of the academy and/or the tenure track system. This 2017 PreDoctoral Summer Workshop is a continuation of the original workshop series in the summers of 2015 and 2016 organized by, and presented in partnership with, the Chicago Humanities Festival (CHF). Guided by one of the leading public humanities organizations in the nation, these workshops encourage humanities doctoral students to think of themselves as agents of the public humanities and showcase opportunities beyond the walls of the academy in an uncertain academic job climate.

We invite applications for fellowships from pre-doctoral students to participate in a three-week intensive, residential summer workshop 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 pre-existing 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. The workshop will conclude with a 2-day National Public Humanities Summit featuring an evening plenary session and a day of lectures and discussions focused on developments in the Public Humanities. 

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.” 


Chicago, Illinois. Most weekday workshop events will take place at the Genevieve and Wayne Gratz Center at Fourth Presbyterian Church, 126 E. Chestnut St (at N. Michigan Ave.). Some will take place at sites in and around Chicago. 


Summer 2017—Dates to be determined, most likely July 17th through August 5th. 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.   

Fellowship Award

Each fellow will receive a $5,000 stipend intended to cover travel to and from the summer workshop, housing, and most meals and all incidentals. Using the funds from this stipend, fellows will be expected to arrange and pay for their own travel and housing. (CHF will provide a list of possible housing options.) All fellows will be expected to attend the entire workshop for the entire three weeks. 

Application Requirements

  • 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; and,
  • 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

Application Procedures

This is a limited-submission application. Eligible doctoral students must be nominated for this Fellowship by their home institutions, and only one nomination may be made to HWW by each university. Interested students must submit the application materials listed above to their university's humanities center director, Michael Berubé, at by October 15th, 2016.

Announcement of fellowship awards will be made in January 2017. All questions should be directed to HWW project manager Jason Mierek,

Link to Humanities Without Walls