Call for Applications: Humanities Without Walls Pre-Doctoral Career Diversity Summer Workshop

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, the consortium is funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. In summer 2018 the HWW Consortium will return to our original model, offering a summer workshop on career diversity for interested doctoral students in the humanities attending the universities comprising the Consortium. This 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.

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. All participants in this residential workshop will stay a few blocks east of the Gratz Center at DeWitt Place (900 N. DeWitt Pl., Chicago, IL) in fully furnished, private apartments which are included in the fellowship.


July 16 through 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 one of the HWW consortium institutions. 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 Prize

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 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

Letters of recommendation should be submitted to the applicant’s HWW center by November 1st, 2017, at 5:00pm CDT. (For contact information on each HWW campus, please see the “Contacts” section of the Humanities Without Walls website).

Applicants should prepare and submit the rest of the required application materials to their respective HWW centers by November 1st, 2017, at 5:00pm CDT.

Center directors will nominate up to four finalists from the applications they receive, compile the applications and recommendations, and submit them using the online application portal by 5:00 pm CST on December 1st, 2017.

Center directors must submit the required application materials, including the two letters of recommendation they have received, via the portal as a single PDF file.

Announcement of fellowship awards will be made by the end of January 2018.