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Public Humanities Fellowships

Spring/Summer 2023

Established in 1976, the Calgary Institute for the Humanities (CIH) fosters advanced study and research in a broad range of subject areas. We are multi-disciplinary and multi-faculty orientated. We support research in traditional Humanities disciplines such as languages and literature, history, religious studies, philosophy, as well as in philosophical and historical aspects of the social sciences, arts, sciences, and professional studies. The humanities are not conceived as a specific group of academic disciplines, but as forms of study that examine what is human – typically guided by literature, history, social and physical settings, artifacts, visual and performing arts.


The Public Humanities refer to a broad range of creative, scholarly, and/or social justice activities usually undertaken collaboratively between university researchers and members of different non-academic communities for the public good. These activities draw on the knowledge and skills of humanities disciplines (e.g., history, literary studies, languages, philosophy, classics, religion, etc.) and have clearly defined outcomes that benefit the public. With this new program, the CIH seeks to place Humanities doctoral students into local community and/or cultural organisations. Students will be paid through designated scholarships.

There are three main goals:

  1. to provide each selected graduate student with an opportunity for acquiring new kinds of knowledge, experience, and professional relationships in a non-academic setting
  2. to provide the partner organization with a highly skilled graduate-level humanities student to work on a partner-specified project in spring/summer 2022 for 12 weeks (at no more than 20 hours/week)
  3. to cultivate strong collaborative networks for supporting arts, culture, and/or social justice in our communities.

Hear from one of our Public Humanities Fellows about her experience with Fort Calgary

Nella Darbouze-Bonyemme speaks about her experience as a Calgary Institute for the Humanities Public Humanities Fellow during the spring and summer of 2022, developing tours and public programming for Fort Calgary.

Deadline and term


The term of the next fellowship will be Nov. 1, 2022 - Sept. 30, 2023. Three Public Humanities Fellowships were awarded for this period. Applications will open again in September 2023 for the 2023-24 competition.


To be eligible as a Public Humanities Fellow at the Calgary Institute for the Humanities, University of Calgary, you must be a post-candidacy PhD student in the Faculty of Graduate Studies in a humanities discipline and enrolled as a full-time student at the time of the fellowship. Graduate students in PhD programs can participate in internships related to the transferable skills they develop in their academic programs. Fellowship opportunities do not need to directly connect to a graduate student’s area of research. 

Application procedure

Applications must contain:

The resume should summarize academic projects and achievements, work experience, skills, and university and community involvement. You may find it useful to look at the following handbook if you are wondering how to frame your skills for work in a non‐academic setting.

The cover letter should be single-spaced (no more than two pages) and address the following questions:

  • What draws you to the CIH Public Humanities Program?
  • Which specific position are you applying for and why? How would it fit into your graduate career trajectory? (If you are interested in more than one of the roles, we recommend you provide a separate cover letter for each, emphasizing how your skills make you the best fit for that position.)
  • What specific strengths, experiences (academic as well as non‐academic), and achievements make you a strong candidate for the specified position?
  • Is there any other relevant information you would like to share with the adjudication committee?

We seek two letters of reference, preferably from academic referees who are familiar with (and can speak to) your graduate studies trajectory, recent relevant achievements and experiences, and suitability for a Public Humanities Fellowship. Letters of reference for public humanities candidates should be sent directly to the CIH by email to Referees should be informed exactly which positions you are applying for, but only one letter per candidate is required; referees do not need to provide a separate letter for each role you are interested in.

  •  One letter must be from your supervisor (or prospective supervisor for students early in their program). This letter should also affirm that this project aligns with your program of study and does not conflict with your ability to complete your degree requirements.
  •  The second letter may be from an academic or non‐academic reference (i.e. a  representative of a community organization for which you worked or volunteered, if the experience is directly relevant to the position for which you are applying).
graphic of brain in lightbulb; iStock image by Natali_Mis

Past Public Humanities Fellows and Placement Opportunities

In 2021, we set out to partner community organisations with highly skilled doctoral students in the Humanities to collaborate on an organisation-specified project over the course of 12 weeks.