Public Humanities Collaborative

The Public Humanities Collaborative (PHC), a new grant-funded component of the Summer Research Program, will bring together students, faculty, and Hartford-area humanities partners to explore themes in the humanities and creatively engage both scholarly and public audiences. The PHC will fund 16 students ($3500 stipend plus 10 weeks housing). Small teams of students will work on faculty scholarship, on partners’ public humanities projects (exhibits, oral histories, websites, etc.), and meet regularly to learn about community collaboration and digital tools.

Who can join a team, and how do I apply?

Each team will include a Hartford-area humanities partner (such as museums, libraries, cultural institutions, or related organizations), one or more Trinity faculty fellows, and two to four Trinity student researchers.

To apply:

  • Hartford humanities partners: submit a brief public humanities proposal, recommended by January 31.
  • Faculty fellows: submit a brief humanities research proposal here, recommended by January 31.
  • Student researchers: Explore the available faculty and partner proposals, then apply through the FRC summer research application, where you should mention at least one faculty research project and one public humanities project, by February 20.

The PHC coordinator will review applications to identify matching interests for potential teams. Team members will share a common interest in a broad humanities theme (such as colonization, literacy, or migration) and/or a methodological approach (such as oral history, storytelling, or digital mapping). The PHC coordinator will forward recommendations to the Faculty Research Committee, which makes all funding decisions.

PHC is a competitive application process, with preference given to first generation, under-represented, and other students with demonstrated financial need, for whom socio-economic status has prevented them from engaging with summer research opportunities.

How do PHC teams work together, and what do they create?

Teams will work on two parallel, but not necessarily intersecting projects. 1) Students will collaborate with the Hartford humanities partners to produce their public humanities work (such as an oral history collection, interactive website, community discussion, or public performance) for a public audience. 2) Student researchers will apprentice with Faculty Fellows on academic works (such as journal articles or book chapters) to develop a stronger understanding of and experience with the work of humanities scholars in the academy.

To bridge these conversations, the Public Humanities Collaborative will bring together faculty, students, and Hartford-area partners each week to discuss expressions of their themes across scholarly and public humanities formats. Additionally, all will participate in weekly workshops to enrich their humanities scholarship and public engagement on such topics as digital tools that foster collaboration, presenting work to academic and public audiences, and creating social change in the city.

Time Commitments:

  • Students will work approximately 15 hours a week with faculty on humanities-oriented scholarship and another 15 hours a week with Hartford humanities partners on public humanities projects.
  • Faculty and Hartford humanities partners supervise the students’ 15 hours a week working with them and attend a 2-3 hour weekly meeting and workshop to discuss thematic connection across all three projects and learn tools and collaborative strategies for all projects. Faculty and Hartford partners will not be expected to work closely together on their separate projects.

What is Public Humanities, and why does it matter?
Why the “public humanities”? We define the humanities as the study of how people interpret stories of our human experience. Practitioners of the public humanities focus on ways to engage broader audiences in these conversations, often through museum exhibits, library programs, artistic performances, and increasingly, our growing array of digital tools and the public web. Public humanities projects usually entail more collaborative work than traditional solo-author humanities scholarship, because they typically involve teams of scholars, curators, preservationists, photographers, designers, coders, and community members. Moreover, public humanities provides more active and creative roles for undergraduate students, and the products of their labor are more visible, tangible, and immediate. To be clear, the public humanities does not seek to replace traditional humanities scholarship; rather, we seek to deepen and broaden engagement with it. We expect that each team will create and share a public humanities product during the summer, and students will apprentice and be inspired to contribute to and/or co-author a conventional scholarly product, beginning that summer and perhaps extending as an independent student or senior thesis during the subsequent academic year.