HWW Alumni Board Spotlight: Meghan Forbes

Meet Meghan Forbes, who holds a PhD in Slavic Languages and Literatures from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She has held postdoctoral fellowships at the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and taught at the University of Texas at Austin.

Currently, she works as a gardener by day and a freelance writer, translator, editor, and curator by night. Her research focuses on art and literature production in Central Europe between the two World Wars. As a current member of HWW's alumni board, Meghan consults with the HWW PI and staff on future workshop designs and other programming.

Forbes headshot
Meghan Forbes

What is one thing you learned at the HWW workshop that impacted your life?

As a member of the inaugural HWW workshop, I had the opportunity to explore what options there might be for work outside of the tenure track that still made specific use of my academic training for the first time. Nearly a decade ago now, this was not a conversation actively happening on the department level at my university. The HWW workshop significantly influenced my decision to pursue post-docs at museums, and explore applying my research skills to curatorial work. I also learned what kinds of institutions and fields I would rather not work in, one factor in my efforts to pursue a freelance career at present.

What advice do you have for workshop participants?

At risk of stating the obvious: I would advise to get to know your cohort and make time to share your experiences/anxieties/dreams etcetera with each other.

What was the most memorable part of the HWW workshop?

What I recall most often when I think about the HWW workshop is listening to other participants, and talking with each other. I also remember how hot Chicago got in the summer and swimming in Lake Michigan at lunchtime. Not to mention the delight of perusing the Newberry Library Book Fair!

Describe Humanities Without Walls in 1-2 sentences.

HWW could be a platform through which to pause and asses the academic apparatus as it currently functions in the U.S., to look critically at the hierarchical structures at institutions such as universities and other not-for-profits which are embedded in a capitalist model and produce ever-more precarious working conditions, and to model collective care and engagement.