The Institute on the Public Humanities for Doctoral Students

As an annual program of the Simpson Center from 2003 to 2008, the Institute on the Public Humanities offered an interdisciplinary cohort of approximately 20 graduate students an intensive week-long exploration of diverse practices of community-based cultural research, teaching, and engagement. The Institute sought to hone students’ capacity to imagine and enact collaborative culture work across multiple sites inside and outside the university, and to represent their own aspirations and abilities as publicly-engaged scholars. It was designed as an intensive, participatory experience reconsidering, re-contextualizing, and reorienting current forms of institutional practice.

Addressed to students pursuing careers within and outside higher education, the Institute cultivated skills and knowledge that enable effective and generative culture work across academic and non-academic communities and institutions. Site- and project-based workshops engaged directly, concretely, and formatively with different modes of university-community collaboration in a variety of local contexts. Readings and discussions offered critical perspective on the structural challenges and possibilities attending community-based research, teaching, and engagement, as well as new maps and new language for navigating professional and institutional development in this field.

The Institute on the Public Humanities laid the foundation for the graduate Certificate in Public Scholarship, launched in 2010.


Founding Director, 2003-2004

  • Kathleen Woodward
    Director, Simpson Center for the Humanities and Professor, English

Institute Co-Directors, 2005-2008

  • Miriam Bartha
    Assistant Director, Simpson Center for the Humanities, UW Seattle
  • Bruce Burgett
    Professor and Interim Director, Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, UW Bothell