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HWW Predoctoral Career Diversity Summer Workshop

Applications for Summer 2023 are now OPEN. 

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 at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), HWW is funded by the Mellon Foundation. 

In summer 2023, the University of Minnesota, College of Liberal Arts 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 towards careers in the private sector, the nonprofit world, arts administration, public media and many other fields. Students must be in residence in Minneapolis for the duration of the workshop and are expected to attend all workshop activities. 

We invite 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 doctoral students must submit their applications to their home universities’ humanities center director by November 1, 2022. 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.” 

Where: Minneapolis, MN. Students must be in residence in Minneapolis for the duration of the workshop and are expected to attend all workshop activities. Lodging and some meals will be provided; fellowship awards are intended to cover transportation costs to/from and around Minneapolis, meals, and other expenses.

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 University of Minnesota guidelines, we will communicate this update as soon as possible on our website and to all program applicants.

When: July 17 - 28, 2023. Students selected as fellows are expected to arrive Monday, July 17 by 4:00pm (CST) and depart no sooner than Friday, July 28 after 4:00pm (CST).

Eligibility: HWW especially encourages students from backgrounds historically underrepresented in higher education to apply. All applicants must be enrolled in a doctoral program in a humanities or humanistic social science discipline at a university within the United States. Applicants may be at any stage of their doctoral work, but they cannot have received the doctoral degree at the time of the workshop. International students are eligible to apply but must confirm their registration and eligibility status at their home universities. HWW is not responsible for issuing visa paperwork or advising on taxation policies. Applicants are encouraged to work with their humanities center director for additional information.

Fellowship Stipend: Selected workshop fellows will be provided with accommodations in Minneapolis and a $4,000 stipend to support travel, meals, and incidentals during the workshop.

Nomination Procedures: Students must be nominated by their home institutions and only one nomination may be submitted from each university. The humanities center director submits their nomination to HWW directly. Announcement of awards will be made by February 1, 2023.

Application Requirements: Interested doctoral students in the humanities should submit their applications to Peggy McCracken, Director of the Institute for the Humanities at by midnight on November 1, 2022. Students should not submit their applications to HWW. 

The application file should contain: 

  1. A narrative (1,000 words maximum; 12pt; single spaced) addressing the following questions. Since your application will be evaluated based on your responses to these questions, please be sure to answer ALL questions: 

  • What are your career interests or your intended career trajectory? How have your background and experiences impacted your choices?
  • How will this workshop help you achieve your goals? What knowledge and skills are you hoping to learn?
  • What will you bring to the workshop community? What relevant experiences (personal and professional) will help you to contribute to the workshop cohort?
  • How will you share what you learn at the workshop with colleagues, your department, campus, and beyond? What impact will it have on your community, field, or discipline?
  • How do you plan to incorporate a social justice lens into your daily work in your future career?
  • What opportunities (if any) have you had at your campus (or beyond) to explore diverse career opportunities?

2. CV or resume (two pages maximum) that includes relevant professional experiences (including e.g., volunteering, part-time employment, etc.)

3. Two confidential letters of recommendation. One letter should be from a faculty member who is familiar with you and your work. The other letter can be from a community partner, colleague, or staff member who is familiar with you and your work. Letters should be submitted confidentially and separately to the application contact at your home university by November 1, 2022.

Application Procedures for University of Michigan Graduate Students: Submit your application file (numbers 1 through 3 above) to by midnight on November 1, 2022. Letters of recommendation should be submitted separately and confidentially to by midnight on November 1, 2022.

The University of Michigan recommendation to HWW will be made by a team of faculty and staff, including the Director of the institute and past IH faculty and student fellows. 

Announcement of fellowship awards will be made in February 2023. 

All questions should be directed to