News and Features

Announcing 2024 Summer Bridge Students

Now in its fourth year, the Summer Bridge program invites humanities PhD students at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign to spend eight weeks working collaboratively with organizations in the Champaign-Urbana area, using their humanities knowledge while building new skills to make an impact in the community.

Black Trans in the Americas

How can an archive best represent the stories of Black trans individuals—one that connects diverse communities of Black trans thinkers, activists, and creatives? Black Trans in the Americas (BTiA) is creating a living archive across large geographic spaces through the medium of film and other creative expressions. A Humanities Without Walls Grand Research Project (GRC)-funded project, BTiA aims to share the “network and archive of community-based interviews, oral histories, films, and other creative outputs built by and for Black trans communities” across North and South America.

Building an Indigenous Language Hub in the Midwest

Funded by the Humanities Without Walls’ Grand Research Challenge initiative, Maya in the Global Midwest is a multi-institutional and organizational collective creating accessible research pathways for language justice activism in the Midwest.

Announcing HWW Consortium Postdoctoral Fellowship Awards 2024-25

The Humanities Without Walls Consortium (HWW) is pleased to announce the selection of two Postdoctoral Fellows. Please join HWW in congratulating the new fellows!  

Celebrating Teresa Mangum's Contributions to the Humanities

As HWW heads into its tenth year, we say a fond farewell to one of the consortium’s most energetic supporters: Teresa Mangum of the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies at the University of Iowa. Teresa is retiring after 34 years at Iowa, and 14 as the director of Obermann. We know her colleagues will be singing her praises as she steps away from all the institutional roles and duties which have helped to make Iowa run for many decades. At HWW, we have many reasons to add to that chorus of voices.

Listening for the Long Haul: A Living History of Long COVID

"Listening for the Long Haul: A Living History of Long COVID," the Humanities Without Walls Grand Research Challenge-funded project, is producing a multifaceted community-centered history of Long COVID. They ask how public history can be useful in producing policies that are more responsive to individual and community needs in the face of pandemics and mass-disabling events, and in the process make us all healthier and more resilient.

HWW Co-Written Chapter on Public Humanities Published

Antoinette Burton (HWW PI), Jenny L. Davis (HWW Consultant on Ethical Methods and Reciprocal Community Partnerships), and Margaret (Peggy) L. Brennan (HWW Associate Director) co-wrote a chapter that has been published in the Routledge Companion to Publicly Engaged Humanities Scholarship.

HWW Team Spotlight: Consultant on Career Diversity

Meet Dr. Derek Attig, Assistant Dean for Career & Professional Development in the Graduate College at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Attig also serves as an HWW Consultant on Career Diversity and has worked on key HWW initiatives like the Summer Bridge program and the Career Diversity workshop. 

An Ecosystem for Exploration: The Legacy of HWW’s Career Diversity Workshop

The Humanities Without Walls (HWW) Career Diversity summer workshop, held annually from 2015 to 2023, was a multi-week, interactive experience for PhD students in the humanities and humanistic social sciences who were interested in exploring careers beyond the tenure track. We spoke with HWW Fellows from the 2016, 2018, 2019, and 2021 cohorts about their experiences with the workshop and the enduring legacy of this program.

Three Questions with Benjamin Linzy

Meet Benjamin Linzy, Humanities Without Walls program coordinator, based at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Linzy works with Associate Director Maggie Nettesheim-Hoffmann on career diversity initiatives for the consortium, including programmatic development and implementation for the career diversity summer workshop. 

HWW to HRI: Community-Based Research Practice

When Antoinette Burton began her tenure as director of the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities (now the Humanities Research Institute), the Humanities Without Walls consortium was in its infancy. 

“Coming into this job eight years ago, Humanities Without Walls was kind of a metaphor,” said Burton. 

Values-Based Budgeting Supports Transformational Humanities Research

Over the course of eight-plus years of the Humanities Without Walls consortium (HWW), one of the key lessons to emerge is the essential role that business operations officers play in realizing the intellectual outcomes of the grant—and why they should be at the table from the beginning of each project. 

Uplifting Black Midwestern Voices Through Academics, Art, and Activism

During the 2016 presidential election cycle, Dr. Terrion Williamson noticed that when candidates were attempting to capture the vote of the ‘heartland laborers,’ these folks were often scripted as white and male. This erasure of Black folks from the Midwest—both from the public discourse and the historical archive—troubled her.

Creating bridges in the community

Graduate students in the humanities and social and behavioral sciences spent part of last summer supporting worthwhile causes:  They worked with community organizations in the Urbana-Champaign area to help them achieve everything from running shelters to preparing incarcerated individuals for life outside of prison. They did so through the Summer Bridge Program, which was created by the Humanities Without Walls initiative, funded by the Mellon Foundation and housed at the Humanities Research Institute.

Three Questions with Dr. Samantha Majhor

Dr. Samantha Majhor is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English at Marquette University. She is also the faculty advisor for Marquette's Indigeneity Lab, which provides an opportunity for undergraduate students to collaborate with Native and non-Native faculty on interdisciplinary research projects in the sciences and humanities, with a focus on Indigeneous topics.

“Advancing Public Good Across the Midwest”: The Formation of HWW

We spoke with Dianne Harris, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Washington, about the origins of the Humanities Without Walls consortium (HWW). Harris was the director of the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities (IPRH) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) from 2008 to 2015. (In 2020, IPRH advanced to institute status and became the Humanities Research Institute.) Harris conceptualized, founded, and was the first Principal Investigator for HWW.

Consortial Partners Reflect on HWW’s Evolution

Building HWW’s infrastructure was an evolutionary process with several of the consortial partners finding ways to map or adapt HWW ideologies onto pre-existing institutional landscapes, while other members of the consortium forged ahead into more uncharted territory.

Faculty Staff Institute Prompts HWW Partner to Rethink Processes, Partnerships

How can we make career diversity for graduate students in the arts and humanities an issue that affects substantive change on an institutional—even national—scale? For Dr. Danielle Fosler-Lussier, this systematic change starts with a conversational shift: she uses narrative storytelling to amplify career diversity outcomes for graduate students. Fosler-Lussier attributes her storytelling approach, in part, to her participation in the HWW Faculty Staff Institute (FSI) workshop held at Marquette University in the summer of 2023.

Cafecitos Nurture Conversations About Motherhood

At La Casa de Amistad in South Bend, Indiana, large plastic bags of dried herbs labeled in blue permanent marker were placed on two tables. Women lined up, scooping combinations of herbs into small floral-patterned mesh bags. A row of papers with botanical illustrations were displayed in front of their real-life counterparts. Everyone sat down at the white folding tables, facing each other in a semicircle. Then the conversation began.

Summer Bridge Spotlight: Priyanka Zylstra

Meet Priyanka Zylstra, one of five participants selected for the 2023 Summer Bridge program. A PhD student in the Department of History, Priyanka worked with the Education Justice Project.

Summer Bridge Spotlight: Victor A. Ruiz-Divas

Meet Victor A. Ruiz-Divas, one of five participants selected for the 2023 Summer Bridge program. A PhD student in the Department of Education Policy, Organization, & Leadership, Victor worked with Krannert Art Museum.

 

 

Summer Bridge Spotlight: Omar Agustin Hernandez

Meet Omar Agustin Hernandez, one of five participants selected for the 2023 Summer Bridge program. A PhD student in the Department of Anthropology, Omar worked with Strides Shelter: City of Champaign Township. 

Summer Bridge Spotlight: Samuel Froiland

Meet Samuel Froiland, one of five participants selected for the 2023 Summer Bridge program. A PhD student in the Department of History, Samuel worked with The Land Connection.

Summer Bridge Spotlight: Alana Ackerman

Meet Alana Ackerman, one of five participants selected for the 2023 Summer Bridge program. A PhD student in the Department of Anthropology, Alana worked with Immigrant Services of Champaign-Urbana.

HWW Team Spotlight: Associate Director of Career Diversity

Maggie Nettesheim-Hoffmann is the Associate Director for Career Diversity at Humanities Without Walls— and a PhD candidate in History at Marquette University. Maggie has been involved in the consortium since 2017. We spoke to her about building inclusive graduate reform efforts, scalable programming, and the evolution of graduate education in the humanities.

“We Need Humanists Everywhere”: Minnesota Team on Building the 2023 HWW Career Diversity Workshop

Bianet Castellanos, director of the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) and professor and chair of the Department of American Studies at the University of Minnesota (UMN), is passionate about diversifying educational experiences for graduate students. So, when the former IAS director Jennifer Gunn approached her with the opportunity to host the 2023 Humanities Without Walls (HWW) Career Diversity workshop in the Twin Cities, Castellanos immediately said yes.

Summer Bridge Participants ‘Disrupt Boundaries’ of Classroom, Community

The Humanities Without Walls Consortium (HWW) has announced five participants selected for the 2023 Summer Bridge program. Now in its third year, Summer Bridge invites humanities PhD students at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign to spend eight weeks working collaboratively with organizations in the Champaign-Urbana area, using their humanities knowledge while building new skills to make an impact in the community.

HWW Board Spotlight: Sebastian Williams

Meet Sebastian Williams. He received his PhD in English from Purdue University in 2021. Williams is currently an assistant professor of English at Davis & Elkins College in West Virginia, where he participates in programs such as Upward Bound to mentor first-generation students in Appalachia.

Grand Research Challenge Project Spotlight

The ”Flint Water Disaster Public Archive” will re-home public data that has been largely inaccessible to Flint communities — a form of data justice that is of urgent relevance to the history, present, and future of those communities. The project is a collaboration among the University of Iowa, University of Michigan–Flint, and the Flint Democracy Defense League.

HWW Alumni Board Spotlight: Nushelle de Silva

Meet Nushelle de Silva. She received her PhD in the History, Theory, and Criticism of Architecture and Art program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2022. She holds a SMArchS, also from MIT, and a BA in Architecture from Princeton University.

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.

CLA to Host Humanities Without Walls Career Diversity Workshop, Send 6 Fellows

The University of Minnesota's College of Liberal Arts will host the 2023 Career Diversity Workshop, organized in partnership with the Humanities Without Walls Consortium and the Institute for Advanced Study. The two-week, immersive career-diversity experience provides tools, values exercises, and space for 25 PhD students in the humanities to imagine their professional futures.

2023 Career Diversity Workshop Fellows Announced

The Humanities Without Walls consortium has selected its Fellows cohort for the 2023 Career Diversity Workshop, hosted on-campus by the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. Comprised of 25 PhD students in the humanities and humanistic social sciences, the Fellows represent 20 higher education institutions across the nation.

HWW Alumni Board Spotlight: Blanca Garcia-Barron

Blanca Garcia-Barron is currently a Library Technician at Mt. San Jacinto Community College in Riverside County, California and a graduate student in the MLIS program at San José State University. She earned her M.A. in borderlands history at The University of Texas, El Paso and holds a B.A. in public and oral history from the California State University, San Bernardino.

Final Round of Grand Research Challenge Projects Awarded

The Humanities Without Walls Consortium (HWW) has announced seven new projects funded by the final round of the Grand Research Challenge (GRC). Each of the interdisciplinary research teams will receive an award of $150,000 over a three-year period, provided by a grant from the Mellon Foundation. 

Fellowship Creates Space for Community-Centered Work

Career exploration is time-consuming. For Heather Ennis, this period of discernment has been a slow, necessary evolution—one that has provided an opportunity for self-reflection about her graduate education in the humanities. The Career Exploration Fellowship Program, supported by the Graduate College, connects doctoral students with administrative units, enabling students to build knowledge and skills beyond traditional research and teaching roles, as well as envision alternative career paths.

HWW Alumni Board Spotlight: Sara B.T. Thiel

Sara B.T. Thiel is an associate editor for Built In’s Expert Contributor Network. She joined the company in 2021, having previously managed adult education programs at Chicago Shakespeare Theater from 2018-2021. Currently, she manages and develops content for Built In’s Tech A-Z. Dr. Thiel holds a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and has taught at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Illinois.

 

Changing Climates in Humanities Education

Do you believe collaboration is a transferable skill for graduate students? Kelly Wisecup does. While working with her team on the Grand Research Challenge (GRC) -funded project "Indigenous Art and Activism in Changing Climates," Wisecup began to reimagine how to equip students to succeed, both within the academy and beyond.

Reclaiming Stories through Indigenous Practices

What does public humanities research look like when community need and knowledge making are brought to the fore? Enter the Reclaiming Stories project, a Grand Research Challenge-funded initiative that is helmed by an interdisciplinary team of researchers from the Miami and Peoria tribal nations, as well as academics from institutions across the country. 

Research in Retrospect: Hmong Memory at the Crossroads

The travail de mémoire or “memory work” surrounding the Hmong people and their history during and after the French colonial conflicts in Southeast Asia still remains to be done, according to Chantal Brunel, former member of the French National Assembly. But how best to uncover and share these untold stories?

Project to reconnect Native American tribes with historic hide painting, artistic tradition

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign history professor Robert Morrissey is working with an interdisciplinary group of scholars, tribal cultural experts and community members on a project that will reconnect the tribes with their tradition of hide painting and with the ceremonial robes in the Quai Branly Museum.

HWW Announces 2023-2024 Alumni Board Members

The HWW team is pleased to announce our newest alumni board members. As current board members, these individuals will spend the next year consulting with the HWW PI and staff on future workshop designs and other programming. Congratulations to all! 

HWW Welcomes Career Exploration Fellow

The Humanities Without Walls consortium (HWW), in partnership with the Graduate College at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, is excited to share that Heather Ennis (English) has joined the consortium as a Career Exploration Fellowship Program fellow. 

HWW Alumni Board Spotlight: Maureen Owens

Meet Maureen Owens, account manager at Carnegie. As a current member of HWW's alumni board, Maureen consults with the HWW PI and staff on future workshop designs and other programming. Maureen also attended HWW's Career Diversity Summer Workshop in 2018.

HWW Alumni Board Spotlight: Jamil Jorge

Meet Jamil Jorge, Education Director at FirstWorks in Providence, Rhode Island. As a current member of HWW's alumni board, Jamil consults with the HWW PI and staff on future workshop designs and other programming. Jamil also attended HWW's Career Diversity Summer Workshop in 2018.

HWW Alumni Board Spotlight: Caroline Marris

Meet Caroline Marris, non-tenure track faculty member at Columbia University in the Department of History. As a current member of HWW's alumni board, Caroline consults with the HWW PI and staff on future workshop designs and other programming. Caroline also attended HWW's Career Diversity Summer Workshop in 2017.

Summer Bridge Spotlight: Victoria Fields

Meet Victoria Fields, one of four participants selected for the 2022 Summer Bridge program. She is a PhD student in Communication. This summer, Victoria worked with community partner Champaign-Urbana Public Health District (CUPHD). Within CUPHD, the Equity Council addresses various forms of systemic oppression and racism in carrying out public health initiatives in the Champaign-Urbana community.

Summer Bridge Spotlight: Suzanne Valentine

Meet Suzanne Valentine, one of four participants selected for the 2022 Summer Bridge program. She is a PhD student in English. This summer, Suzanne worked with community partner Champaign County Mental Health Board. CCMHB coordinates and evaluates the comprehensive local system of mental health, developmental disabilities and substance abuse services for Champaign County.

Summer Bridge Spotlight: Breanna Escamilla

Meet Breanna Escamilla, one of four participants selected for the 2022 Summer Bridge program. She is a PhD student in Anthropology. This summer, Breanna worked with community partner  Driven to Reach Excellence & Academic Achievement for Males (DREAAM). DREAAM builds trauma-informed programming for boys and young men in the C-U community aimed at sustaining a culture of achievement, engagement and behavioral health.

Summer Bridge Spotlight: Rayven Morrow

Meet Rayven Morrow, one of four participants selected for the 2022 Summer Bridge program. She is a PhD student in Education Policy, Organization, and Leadership, with a concentration in Gender and Women's Studies. This summer, Rayven worked with community partner CU Freedom School at Garden Hills Academy. CU Freedom School is a summertime and after-school literacy and cultural enrichment program for K–5 students. 

Summer Humanities Program Builds Bridge Between Communities

The Humanities Without Walls Consortium (HWW) has announced four participants selected for the 2022 Summer Bridge program. Now in its second year, Summer Bridge invites humanities PhD students at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign to spend eight weeks working collaboratively with organizations in the Champaign-Urbana area, using their humanities knowledge while building new skills to make an impact in the community.

HWW Alumni Board Spotlight: John Moore

Meet John Moore, Communications Specialist in the Humanities and Social Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis. John attended HWW's Career Diversity Summer Workshop in 2016.

 

HWW Alumni Board Spotlight: Andrew Boge

Meet Andrew Boge, doctoral student and graduate teaching assistant at the University of Iowa in the Department of Communication Studies. Andrew attended HWW's Career Diversity Summer Workshop in 2021.

HWW Alumni Board Spotlight: Kei Hotoda

Meet Kei Hotoda, Program Coordinator at the University of Illinois at Chicago in the Philosophy Department. Kei attended HWW's Career Diversity Summer Workshop in 2015.

2022 Career Diversity Workshop Fellows Announced

Twenty-five doctoral students from twenty-one institutions were selected to attend the HWW Career Diversity Summer Workshop.

Listen to Podcast Season 1 Finale

New podcast episode: Dr. Assata Zerai, Vice President for Equity and Inclusion at the University of New Mexico, and Dr. Doug Woods, Dean of the Graduate School at Marquette University, discuss career diversity, interdisciplinary scholarship, and how humanities doctoral training plays a role in the work of higher education administration.

Humanities Without Walls Announces Grand Research Challenge Awardees

The Humanities Without Walls Consortium (HWW) has announced five new projects funded by the third Grand Research Challenge, which provides grants for teams pursuing research with a commitment to methodologies of reciprocity and redistribution. Each of the five interdisciplinary research teams will receive an award of $150,000 over a two-year period, provided by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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