Institute on the Public Humanities
Institute on the Public Humanities
Institute on the Public Humanities

Institute on the Public Humanities

Fellowship (2007)

Simpson Center for the Humanities

Official Program Description

As an annual program of the Simpson Center from 2003 to 2008, the Institute on the Public Humanities offered an interdisciplinary cohort of approximately 20 graduate students an intensive week-long exploration of diverse practices of community-based cultural research, teaching, and engagement.  The Institute sought to hone students’ capacity to imagine and enact collaborative culture work across multiple sites inside and outside the university, and to represent their own aspirations and abilities as publicly-engaged scholars.   It was designed as an intensive, participatory experience reconsidering, re-contextualizing, and reorienting current forms of institutional practice.

Addressed to students pursuing careers within and outside higher education, the Institute cultivated skills and knowledge that enable effective and generative culture work across academic and non-academic communities and institutions. Site- and project-based workshops engaged directly, concretely, and formatively with different modes of university-community collaboration in a variety of local contexts.  Readings and discussions offered critical perspective on the structural challenges and possibilities attending community-based research, teaching, and engagement, as well as new maps and new language for navigating professional and institutional development in this field.

What I Learned

The Institute gave me the opportunity to seriously consider the relationships between the University’s community partners and my research, pedagogy, and approach to scholarly communications. During and after the Institute, I started identifying how to articulate the digital humanities with the public humanities through courses (e.g., “English 121: Sonic Culture”, screen shot left), publications (e.g., “Novel Cartographies, New Correspondences”), and service (e.g., THATCamp PNW, screen shot left). Largely because of the Institute, I am now especially invested in broadening the publicness of digital humanities scholarship from matters of open access to questions of how scholarship is produced, what and who are represented, for whom, and by whom.

(The first image on the left is a screen shot of the Simpson Center’s website. The other two images are drawn from other projects (referenced above) in this portfolio.)