Humanities Fellowship Program

In effort to create stronger ties between Humanities departments in Washington, DC area colleges and universities and the city’s communities and neighborhoods, HumanitiesDC is offering fellowships to graduate students and young professional scholars. Each fellow will create a public humanities program based on their research or area of expertise, in conjunction with a community partner. The public programs will follow HumanitiesDC’s successful Humanitini model that brings thoughtful humanities discussions to Washington, DC’s happy-hour scene.

Each fellowship project will be free for the public to attend or experience. Fellows will also write an evaluative report on the challenges and successes encountered while translating their research for a public audience.

Download a PDF version of this Call for Papers here.

Download the Fellows guide for producing a Humanitini program here.

Award Amount:

Fellows will receive $2,000; half as a stipend, and half as the budget for their Humanitini program.


We will begin accepting applications for fellowships taking place between April through December 2019 on March 1, 2019. The application will remain open on a rolling basis until all program funds have been distributed.

Project Period:

Fellowships may be as short as one month or as long as six months depending on how much research and planning is required to develop the public program. Prospective Fellows will provide three preferred program dates on their applications and will be asked to indicate whether they would be able to accept an assigned program date.

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. The pool of applicants will be reviewed on the third Friday of every month between March 15 and September 20. Selected Fellows will be informed of their awards no more than 4 weeks after the deadline for which they’ve submitted their application. The application will remain open until all funding for 2019 has been expended.

What are we looking for?

Strong connection to a humanities discipline – Prospective fellows must identify one or more humanities disciplines to which their project is connected. They must be able to demonstrate that they have conducted extensive research on the topic they hope to translate into a public program.

Topics that are both thoughtful and entertaining – The Humanitini is informative and educational, but it is also a fun and engaging experience for audiences. Fellows’ topics should be suitable for a happy-hour conversation in a bar or restaurant.

Informed, diverse panels and capable moderators – Ideal panels will be comprised of speakers from both inside and outside academia.

A plan for attracting an audience of at least 30 people

The strongest requests will have a tentative commitment from a Washington, DC bar or restaurant to host the program.

What to include in the request narrative?

–          A distinctive research topic that is both original and well suited to public interpretation via the Humanitini program. Prospective Fellows will describe their topic and where it fits into their larger field of research or discipline.

–          A clear sense of how the public Humanitini will unfold based on the Humanitini Guide for Fellows.

–          A timeline indicating how the public program will be researched, planned, and executed.

–          A plan for attracting a popular audience to the program.

Qualifying Questions:

1.       Are you working toward, or have you received in the last five years, a graduate degree in the humanities from a college or university in the greater Washington, DC area?

2.       Will you be able to commit to a fellowship period of one to three months between April and December of 2019?

3.       Are residents of Washington, DC the primary audience for the project?

4.       Can your research or topic be translated into a panel program held, for a happy-hour audience, in a bar or restaurant?

5.       Have you secured a commitment from a suitable bar or restaurant venue in Washington, DC? (While you do not have to have such a commitment in hand in order to submit your application, it significantly strengthens the request.)


Additional Requirements and Information:

1.       Fellows will be required to plan and execute a public panel program in a bar or restaurant according to HumantiesDC’s Humanitini program guide and brand.

2.       A HumanitiesDC representative will coordinate with each fellow to verify progress on the program’s development.

3.       Fellows must participate in joint marketing and communications campaigns with HumanitiesDC during the grant period.

4.       Fellows will be completely in charge of the execution of their “Humanitini” program, including setting up a “branding kit” provided by HumanitiesDC, serving as (or securing the services of) a moderator, and collecting audience survey data.

5.       Fellows will draft a written report on their research topic and the experience of interpreting it for a public audience.


1.       Fellows agree to take full responsibility for the distribution of their award to cover both their own costs and the costs of presenting their public program. HumanitiesDC will not be liable for any expenses incurred by awarded fellows.

2.       Awarded applicants will receive 100% of the full amount of the grant upon their signature of the Fellowship agreement. 50% is a stipend for the awarded Fellow and does not need to be reported on. The remaining 50% is the budget for the public program and all expenses must be documented with appropriate backup including paid invoices, canceled checks, or receipts.

3.       Any changes to the scope or budget of a fellowship project must be communicated to HumanitiesDC in writing and approved by the member of the grants staff assigned to the project.

4.       Awarded Fellows will sign grant conditions that constitute a legally binding contract between HumanitiesDC and the and the Fellow. The signatory will be legally obligated to complete the project under the terms of the Fellowship conditions.

5.       No portion of the grant may be used to pay for organizational or institutional overhead expenses including indirect costs, overhead, rent, utilities, or administrative fees.

6.       Other expenses that cannot be attributed to this grant award include: food or drink of any kind, the production of or materials for creative or performing arts projects, and fundraising or membership cultivation events.

7.       Legal rights to all final products generated as part of this partnership grant opportunity including any photographs or video from the public program, data collected via audience surveys, and the final evaluative summary will be granted to HumanitiesDC, but Fellows will retain shared, non-exclusive copyright to retain copies, publicly distribute, and publish derivative works based on the materials they collect.

When you are finished reviewing the qualifications and requirements in this Call for Papers, you may proceed to the application portal. Please keep in mind these instructions as the portal is typically used to field applications from non-profit organizations.

  1. When asked to enter an EIN number, enter 11-1111111 as a placeholder in order to proceed.
  2. When registering you will be asked to provide information about your organization. For the purposes of the Fellowship application, please enter your personal information here, and indicate that you are the “Executive Director” of your organization.
  3. Fill out the “Project Director” section using the same information.

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