Humanities Without Walls Graduate Student Workshop

Humanities Without Walls Graduate Student Workshop

September 13, 2021

HWW Pre-Doctoral Career Diversity Summer Workshops

Humanities Without Walls (HWW) is a consortium of humanities centers and institutes at 16 major research universities throughout the Midwest and beyond. Based at the Humanities Research Institute at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), HWW is funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

In Summer 2022, the University of Michigan’s Institute for the Humanities will host HWW’s annual summer workshop for doctoral students interested in learning about diverse careers for humanists. Through a series of workshops, talks, and site visits, participants will learn how to imagine possible futures and leverage their skills and humanities training toward careers in the private sector, the nonprofit world, arts administration, public media, and many other fields. Ann Arbor, Michigan will serve as the primary location for workshop activities. The location will provide students with the opportunity to experience the vibrant humanities ecosystem that exists in the region, including Detroit. 

HWW invites applications from doctoral students pursuing degrees in the humanities and humanistic social sciences for the two-week summer workshop. 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. To be considered, interested UCSB doctoral students must submit their applications to the UCSB Interdisciplinary Humanities Center by November 1, 2021. Do not submit your applications directly to HWW.

About the Workshop
The Humanities Without Walls summer workshop utilizes a cohort-based approach to assisting humanities PhD students with the development of their careers. Our principles emphasize student agency while giving attendees space to reflect on their values. We have learned that centering the needs of each fellow results in empowered PhD professionals ready to tackle the world which awaits them post-degree. Our sessions intentionally layer foundations for the fellows as they do the real-time work of discerning personal career values, building community within the fellowship cohort, and researching potential career paths. The workshop models effective strategies that enable our fellows to prepare for a successful job search today and for the career transitions which will come in the future.

The very concept of “humanities without walls” commits us to the work of racial and social justice in the context of career diversity programming. Therefore, we work to create sessions which help us grapple with the long history of implicit racial, gender, and class bias so often concealed in the guise of “professionalism.” HWW’s commitment to the values of reciprocity and redistribution allows our fellows an opportunity to thread the work of racial justice and social equity into their developing life and career goals and to think about inclusion by design as part of their work in the world, whatever shape that may take.

Launched in 2015 as an initiative of the HWW consortium, the workshop welcomes participants each summer from higher education institutions across the United States. HWW Summer Workshop Fellows work in a variety of academic disciplines. They are scholars and practitioners who come with experience in community building, museum curation, filmmaking, radio programming, social media, project management, research, writing, and teaching. They are typically invested in the pressing social justice issues of our time and are seeking ways to bring humanistic values, insights, and skills to their work lives, whether in the public and private sector.

In the spirit of practice-oriented learning, HWW has partnered with entities such as IDEO, a design and consulting firm, the Joyce Foundation, and the Canadian Museum of History, amongst others, to lead students in real-world problem-solving exercises around important contemporary issues. Recognizing that each fellow’s skillset has been primarily oriented toward an academic track, the workshop includes sessions on values-based career planning, resume and cover letter construction, networking, and social media strategies from experts in career development.

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 HWW Summer Workshop Fellows (and friends!) 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.”

Ann Arbor, Michigan. Students are expected to be in residence in Ann Arbor for the duration of the workshop, to attend all workshop activities each day and be active participants in the program for its entirety. Students located in the Ann Arbor area will stay in their resident housing in the area. Students located outside the Ann Arbor area are required to stay in the housing arranged and provided through the University of Michigan Institute for the Humanities.

Please note: At this time, we are planning for an in-person workshop experience. We are monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic situation. If it becomes necessary for us to shift to a remote format for public health and safety based on CDC and U-M guidelines, we will communicate this update as soon as possible on our website and to all program applicants.

Summer 2022—June 17–July 1, 2022. Students selected as fellows are expected to arrive Friday, June 17 and by 4:00 pm (EDT) and depart no sooner than Friday, July 1 after 4:00 pm (EDT).

All applicants must be enrolled in a doctoral degree program in a humanities or humanistic social science 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 workshop takes place. Applicants cannot have a graduation date on or before July 1st, 2022. 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 from outside the Ann Arbor/Detroit Metro area will receive a $4,500 award. All Fellows are expected to attend all workshop sessions and be active participants in the program for its entirety. Lodging, ground transportation to and from Detroit Metro Airport, and some meals are provided through the workshop. The stipend difference is intended to support flight/mileage transportation costs to and from Detroit Metro/Ann Arbor. The stipend is provided as a participation award and to support meals not otherwise provided, parking if needed, and any other expenses not otherwise provided directly through the workshop.

Application Requirements
Interested doctoral students in the humanities at UCSB should submit their applications to UCSB’s Interdisciplinary Humanities Center at by November 1, 2021. Combine and submit all application materials as a single PDF file. Please do not submit your applications directly to HWW or the University of Michigan Institute for the Humanities.

The application file should contain:

1. Please submit the following components as one PDF:

  • A completed application cover sheet.
  • A voluntary self-identification form.
  • A narrative (1,000 words maximum) explaining the applicant’s intended career trajectory and addressing the following questions:
    • What does “career diversity” mean to you and what do you know about career diversity in graduate education?
    • Why are you interested in attending the workshop?
    • What kinds of knowledge and skills are you seeking from the workshop? 
    • How do you envision sharing what you learn at the workshop with your colleagues, department, campus, and beyond?
    • What experiences have you had in applied or public humanities or public engagement?
    • What do you hope to achieve as a result of attending the workshop?
  • CV or resume (two pages maximum).

2. Letters of Recommendation: Endorsement email needed by 11/1

  • The campus nominee will need two letters of recommendation. One letter should be from the applicant’s primary adviser/dissertation chair; both should emphasize the applicant’s strengths and fit for this workshop. 
  • By November 1, both recommenders for all applicants should send a short email to endorsing the application and acknowledging that a full letter of recommendation will be required if the student is selected as the campus nominee. 

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 submitted to HWW from any given university.

Endorsement emails from two recommenders should be submitted to by November 1, 2021, at 5:00pm.

Interested students must submit the application materials listed above (#1) to the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center at by 11:59 pm on November 1, 2021. Please do not submit your applications directly to HWW or the University of Michigan’s Institute for the Humanities. HWW’s announcement of fellowship awards will be made in January 2022. 

Please contact IHC Associate Director Erin Nerstad ( with any questions.