Heyman Center Public Humanities Fellowship

2019-20 Public Humanities Fellowship 

2019-2020 Public Humanities Fellowship at the Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities, Columbia University, in partnership with Humanities New York

The Public Humanities Fellowship offered by Humanities New York (HNY) aims to strengthen the public humanities community in New York State by supporting the community-engaged work of emerging scholars.  This yearlong fellowship offers the opportunity to explore the public application of one’s scholarly interests and provides training in the methods of the public humanities as well as networking and professional development.

Two Public Humanities Fellows will be selected from among Columbia applicants to join a cohort of 18 Fellows from these other New York State universities: The City University of New York Graduate Center, Cornell University, New York University, SUNY Buffalo, SUNY Stony Brook, SUNY Binghamton, the University of Rochester, and Syracuse University.  See below for Eligibility Requirements.

During the course of the Fellowship, Fellows will have the opportunity to participate in events sponsored by Humanities New York and to apply for project funds from HNY to implement public programs they develop during the course of their Fellowship.


  • Attending a two-day orientation run by Humanities New York [HNY] at their New York City office in August 2019
  • Developing a plan, under the guidance of HNY, to implement a public humanities project and working with community partners on that project
  • Participating in workshops scheduled for December 2019 and June 2020
  • Presenting outcomes of research and public work to the university community in coordination with SoF/Heyman and submitting a final report to HNY
  • Attending the Thursday Lecture Series of the Society of Fellows in the Humanities, (12:15pm-1:45pm), which runs for most of the academic year

ELIGIBILITY:  Current Columbia graduate students and recent doctoral recipients (PhD awarded after January 2018) are eligible to apply, with preference given to those who have already completed their Masters degree.  Applications from those with a record of working with the public as well as those who are starting to explore the public humanities are equally welcome.

DURATION & STIPEND: Duration of the Fellowship is August 2019 to June 2020, including mandatory attendance at a two-day training on August 19-20, 2019 in New York City and subsequent workshops. The Fellowship stipend is $8,000, plus a $500 travel and research stipend. The Fellowship is supported by grants from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

TO APPLY: Interested applicants should submit an online application, including a resume/CV and two references, by Friday, February 18, 2019. The online application can be accessed through Humanities New York’s program management platform, found here: https://humanitiesny.fluxx.io/ Applicants will need to create an account in the system, even if they’ve applied in prior years. Applicants will be notified of final decisions by April 30, 2019.

CONTACT: Humanities New York Program Officer Adam Capitanio (212-233-1131 / [email protected])

ABOUT HUMANITIES NEW YORK: The mission of Humanities New York is to help all New Yorkers become thoughtful participants in our communities by promoting critical inquiry, cultural understanding, and civic engagement. Founded in 1975, Humanities New York is the sole statewide proponent of public access to the humanities. The Council is a private 501(c)3 that receives Federal, State, and private funding.

The 2018-2019 Heyman Center Public Humanities Fellows are:

Therese Cox will curate a project called You Are Here: Girls Map New York City. Together with local teaching artists and community partners, young women from New York City’s public schools will explore histories of the city, the politics of map-making and zoning, and issues of public space, race, and gender. The project will explore art, storytelling, poetry, and creative cartography as empowering practices, culminating in an exhibition and reading.


Katryn Evinson will engage senior citizens in Ithaca NY to explore new ways of creative coexistence with technology. In the first part of the project, she will invite them to share their stories in order to reshape our narratives about technology and old age. In the second part, in collaboration with a reuse center inn Tompkins County, they will develop unusual uses of machinery through broken and obsolete devices, producing artistic pieces that challenge our ideas of instrumentality. 




The 2017-2018 Heyman Center Public Humanities Fellows are:

Leah Pires' research centers on questions of power, institutions, and critique as they have been engaged by artists since the 1960s, and her dissertation focuses on New York artist Louise Lawler and her collaborators. As a 2017-18 Public Humanities Fellow at the Heyman Center, Leah is continuing her work with the Center for Justice's Justice-in-Education Initiative by developing a workshop that shares exhibitions from New York museums with young women at the Rose M. Singer Center on Rikers Island.


Elliot Ross is a doctoral candidate in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. His dissertation examines narratives of the Kenyan War of Independence and its afterlives, and considers questions of        historical reparation, anti-colonialism and human rights. His writing has appeared in the Guardian, Al Jazeera, Washington Post, and many other publications. He worked for five years as senior editor of the website Africa is a Country. As a  Public Humanities Fellow, Elliot will facilitate a series of podcasts in which New York public high school students interview scholars on a politically meaningful topic of their expertise.


The 2016-2017 Heyman Center Public Humanities Fellows are:

Natacha Nsabimana  will engage young women at the Rose M Singer Center for Women on Rikers Island to produce a literary journal discussing social justice issues such as racism, slavery, incarceration and sexual violence through the prism of art.




Sahar Ullah will curate an interactive public arts project that includes the works of Muslim storytellers, poets, and visual artists with a special attention to North American minorities and immigrants with roots from regions largely portrayed as conflict zones in U.S. media outlets. Sahar is the recipient of the 2017 Presidential Teaching Award for Graduate Student Instructors! Three graduate student instructor (teaching assistant) recipients are recognized each year during the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences Convocation ceremony in May. Winners receive a certificate signed by President Bollinger, a formal citation written by their department, and an honorarium of $8,000. Additionally, the winners may also be recognized in University-wide and departmental publications.





The 2015-16 Heyman Center Public Humanities Fellows are:

Liane Carlson, who will create a philosophy curriculum for GED students.

Nicole Gervasio (Columbia University, English & Comparative Literature), who will bring together high school students from diverse backgrounds for reading and writing workshops aimed at bridging divides between them.






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