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Call for Application

Kaplan Institute Public Humanities Graduate Practicum

The Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities is pleased to invite PhD students in the humanities and humanistic social sciences to apply for the 2023-24 Public Humanities Graduate Practicum. Fellows in this year-long, cohort-based workshop series will develop a public humanities project while receiving training, feedback, and financial support from the Kaplan Institute.

Program Structure

The aim of the Practicum is to encourage thoughtful, creative, and ethical humanistic work that extends beyond the boundaries of the academy. The program provides a structured, supportive environment where graduate students can explore the theory and practice of publicly engaged work.

Throughout the academic year, each Fellow will pursue an independent or collaborative public humanities project of their own design as part of a supportive interdisciplinary cohort. Fellows will attend six workshops (two per quarter), distributed across the academic year, which will provide a grounding in the theory and practice of publicly engaged humanities. In addition to the workshops, which will be led by scholars and practitioners within and beyond the academy, Fellows will receive individual guidance on their project from the Practicum conveners. Each Fellow will also receive a $600 grant from the Kaplan Institute to support their project, with the potential to apply for additional funds. At the end of the academic year, Fellows will showcase their work at the Kaplan Institute’s Public Humanities Symposium.

Deadline to apply

The deadline has been extended to Monday, October 9, 2023 at 11:59 pm CST.


Any PhD student in the humanities or humanistic social sciences is welcome to apply. The program is open to doctoral students at all stages of their training. Prior experience in public humanities work is not required.

Fellows must commit to pursuing a publicly engaged project throughout the academic year. Projects may be individual or collaborative in nature, and may take any number of forms—podcasts, public syllabi, short films, walking tours, exhibits, community events, etc.—provided that they engage in a meaningful way with publics beyond the university (see our FAQs below for more information on the public humanities).

Fellows must commit to attending all workshop sessions. Workshops will take place on Fridays at 12-1:30 pm CST in person at the Kaplan Institute. Lunch will be included. The dates for this quarter’s required events are as follows:

Application instructions

Apply here via Google Forms:

Applicants will be asked to provide basic contact and program information, a CV, and a proposal. If you are proposing a collaborative project, we ask that each member of the group submit an application. Note that this is a competitive opportunity, so please read and respond to the proposal instructions carefully.

Proposal Instructions

Your proposal should be uploaded as a PDF document of no more than two single-spaced pages. Please include your name and home department in the document header.

The purpose of the proposal is to communicate your interest in the Practicum and the nature of the project you hope to pursue. We welcome projects at any phase of development and understand that your ideas may evolve during the Practicum. However, your proposal should articulate a thoughtful, feasible idea that can be completed during the academic year. If you envision a project that is broader in scope, you should specify the outcomes and goals to be completed within the Practicum period.

The proposal should address each of the following prompts. The questions below are meant to help jumpstart your thinking; you do not need to answer them all.

  1. Describe your interest in the public humanities. (What does publicly engaged humanistic work mean to you? What is its significance or relevance from your perspective? How do your personal background, experiences, and/or interests shape your vision of the public humanities?)
  2. Describe your proposed project. (What project do you plan to work on this year? Why is this project important? Who are your intended audiences or collaborators? What do you envision the final product/event will look like? What is its estimated scale—ex. duration, medium, participants, number of episodes? How would you use your $600 in project funds?)
  3. Describe your interest in this Practicum. (Why do you want to participate in this Practicum? What are you hoping to gain from it? How might it contribute to your research objectives, your professional development, and/or your personal goals?)

Frequently Asked Questions

What constitutes a public humanities project?

We consider any endeavor that seeks to connect to, inform, or support communities beyond the university to be a public humanities project. You can read about the projects of past Kaplan Public Humanities Graduate Fellows here. For a useful description of the public humanities, see Daniel Fisher's A Typology of the Publicly Engaged Humanities at Humanities for All. This site also contains a database of publicly engaged projects that may be a useful source of ideas and inspiration.

I’m interested in publicly engaged work but don’t have a fully developed project in mind at this stage. Should I still apply?

Yes! In order to apply, you will need to propose a single, feasible project idea that you would like to pursue as part of the workshop. However, we understand that your plans may evolve or shift radically during the year as you learn from other participants, outside speakers, and the workshop conveners. You may even find other workshop participants who would like to build a project collaboratively. This is fine, so long as you are committed to pursuing some form of publicly engaged project this year.

At what degree stage is it best to participate in this Practicum?

You are welcome to join at any stage in your doctoral training. The workshop is designed to benefit any PhD student interested in developing a public humanities project and theorizing about the importance of this work. You may wish to consider factors such as your current availability (Do you have time to devote to the project this year?) and your own research and professionalization goals (Do you want your public humanities project to be an extension of your dissertation work? Do you want to create connections early in your program that will benefit you later on? Do you see your project as a multi-year endeavor that you need to start now?).

Application support

The Practicum convener, Dr. Trish Bredar, is happy to answer questions about the program, discuss project ideas, or assist with application strategy. You can contact her at