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Public Humanities Graduate Research Workshop

Fall 2020—The Alice Kaplan Institute announces its inaugural graduate student research workshop focused on the Public Humanities.

As part of this workshop, we are interested in exploring the full range and impact of publicly-engaged scholarship, while helping participants develop the professional skills and networks to make their work more relevant, legible, and meaningful to publics across and beyond the university. With an eye to connecting theory to practice, workshop participants will also be given research support and mentorship opportunities if they wish to pursue their own public humanities projects during the course of the year.

The workshop hosts events each quarter. These sessions will provide participants an opportunity to engage faculty, staff, and professionals—from across Northwestern and other institutions around the country—who can speak to the importance of publicly-engaged work but also provide skills training and professional mentorship.


Negar Razavi, ACLS Emerging Voices Fellow of the Kaplan Institute, and Rebekah Bryer, doctoral candidate in the Interdisciplinary PhD in Theatre and Drama Program.

The Public Humanities Graduate Research Workshop is sponsored by the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities, the Center for Civic Engagement, and Northwestern Career Advancement.

Spring 2021 Event

Creating Careers in Public Institutions
April 2, 2021
12:00 - 1:30 pm CST via Zoom

Event link:
(No pre-registration necessary)

A career diversity event with Matti Bunzl (Wien Museum), Livia Alexander (ArteEast), and Michelle Wilkinson (National Museum of African American History and Culture).

Please join us for a dynamic gathering of scholars to consider what it means to work publically. The Kaplan Humanities Institute will host a lively discussion and Q&A with Matti Bunzl, Livia Alexander, and Michelle Wilkinson—scholars who successfully pivoted from academia to forge rewarding careers in public institutions (and still maintain a "foot" in the academy). You’ll learn ways to think about linking your work and interests to thrive in jobs with potential to shape broader publics.

About the speakers

Matti Bunzl is Director of the Wien Museum, Vienna’s municipal museum. Before taking up this position, he was Professor of Anthropology and History at the University of Illinois and Artistic Director of the Chicago Humanities Festival.

Livia Alexander is a New York-based curator, writer, and Assistant Professor of Global Visual Cultures at Montclair State University and co-founder of ArteEast, a global platform for promoting the arts of the Middle East.

Michelle Joan Wilkinson is a curator at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), where she works on projects related to contemporary black life.

More speaker details on the PlanitPurple event:


Digital Storytelling Mini Workshop for Graduate Students
February 12, 2021
11:00 am - 12:00 pm CST via Zoom

What are the various forms of digital storytelling that academics often turn to share their work? Podcasts sure, but what about visual essays, short films, interactive websites, or online photo exhibits? How can you get started and what do you need to know to share your work? Join C.A. Davis, digital storyteller and producer of the Weinberg Media and Design Studio, for this informal workshop to discuss basic principles of digital storytelling and resources for graduate students. You will be sent different examples of digital storytelling ahead of the workshop. Space is limited, so please register ahead of time!


Initial Meeting—Introductions and Overview
October 30, 2020

For our first workshop event, participants had an opportunity to introduce themselves and discuss their own interests in the public humanities. In addition, Ruth Curry, the Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Civic Engagement, helped participants contextualize and understand the place of public humanities within the university structure.

Adapting Your Work to Respond to Public Need 
November 13, 2020

The event invited Cynthia Nazarian (Department of French and Italian), Doug Kiel (History and Kaplan), and Jessica Winegar (Anthropology and Kaplan) to discuss how scholars translate and adapt their academic work to different publics in moments of societal crisis or public need.


For a curated listing of other Northwestern events that cover topics of publicly engaged scholarship and professional development, visit the events page.

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