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Public Humanities Fellowships


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.

What are the Public Humanities?

The Public Humanities refer generally to a broad range of creative, scholarly and/or social justice projects undertaken collaboratively between university researchers and members of different non-academic communities for the public good. These projects draw on the knowledge and skills of humanities disciplines such as history, literary studies, languages, philosophy, classics, and religion, and have clearly defined outcomes that benefit the public.

Hear from a former Fellow about her experience working 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.

What is the purpose of the CIH Public Humanities Fellowship?

With this new program, the CIH seeks to place Humanities doctoral students into local community and/or cultural organisations with the following two basic goals:

1. to show Humanities doctoral students how transferable their skills are;

2. to show community organisations how they can benefit from employing Humanities doctoral students.

What does the CIH Public Humanities Fellowship entail?

In late September each year, the community projects for spring/summer in the following year will be advertised. Applications are encouraged and suitable candidates are invited for interview. Those who are successful at this stage will first apply for TTI scholarships in November as part of the funding process. In the Winter term the new cohort will gather for a series of seminars to encourage deeper thought about what they have taken on, i.e. what does it actually mean to be a Public Humanities Fellow. Work placements commence in the middle of May and finish in mid-August. The final requirement for the Fellows is a public presentation about their experience, scheduled in mid-to-late September after the completion of their projects.

What is the stipend?

The stipend for the Fellowship is $10,000. The CIH is supported by the TTI programme in the Faculty of Graduate Studies for this Fellowship, so the first task of selected Fellows will be to apply to the TTI programme (see further below).


To be eligible to hold a CIH Public Humanities Fellowship, you must be a PhD student pursuing a Humanities-oriented dissertation, you must have completed your candidacy requirements before the work placement starts in May 2025, and you You must also be enrolled as a full-time PhD student until at least the end of August 2025. There is also a series of 5 public humanities seminars (2 hours each) that you must be able to attend with the other fellows, scheduled between February and April 2025. 

Please note that the principle upon which this program is founded is that your general skills as Humanities doctoral students are transferable. There is no requirement or expectation that your own research area bear any relation at all to any of the advertised positions.

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. This letter should also affirm that taking on this commitment will not significantly impact your ability to complete your degree requirements in a timely fashion.
  •  The second letter may be from another academic or from a non-academic (for example, it could be from someone at a community organisation at which you worked or volunteered).
graphic of brain in lightbulb; iStock image by Natali_Mis

Past Public Humanities Fellows and Placement Opportunities

In 2020-21, 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.