Humanities Without Walls

Humanities Without Walls logoHumanities Without Walls 

The Obermann Center for Advanced Studies is proud to be a member of the Andrew W. Mellon funded Humanities Without Walls consortium. The Mellon Foundation awarded $3,000,000 to the consortium, led by the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities (IPRH) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

By leveraging the strengths of multiple distinctive campuses, the initiative, titled “Humanities Without Walls,” aims to create new avenues for collaborative research, teaching, and the production of scholarship in the humanities, forging and sustaining areas of inquiry that cannot be created or maintained without cross-institutional cooperation.

The HWW consortium will provide support for cross-consortium collaboration during 2015-2016. Application deadline for faculty to apply for THE GLOBAL MIDWEST collaborative is October 15, 2015.


Grand Research Challenge:  The Global Midwest 

This project links the consortial partners in a common commitment to research and dialogue around a set of important, mutually articulated problems of broad public interest. Its principal long-term objectives are to reveal and rethink the Midwest as a major force in this century’s global economy and culture for scholars, policy-makers, government officials, social scientists, and an enlightened public and to demonstrate how the “applied humanities,” through collaborations of artists, scholars in the humanities, and scientists (both social and natural), can contribute to the work on grand intellectual challenges. The initiative may also support Midwest scholars pursuing research questions at a global scale across multiple eras. Research teams must include scholars from at least two consortial institutions. In its design, this pilot project resonates with two previous Mellon Foundation grants to the international Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes that also organize interdisciplinary research projects around major issues and mobilize teams of scholars in multiple institutions to work on specific aspects of the problems.

For a list of registered Global Midwest projects funded in 2014 for 2015-16, visit the Humanities Without Walls Wiki

To learn more and to view application materials, go to:


Pre-doctoral Summer Workshops for Students in the Humanities

This project aims to help prepare doctoral students for careers both within and outside the academy through a series of summer workshops. Graduate students selected for this program will engage in intensive discussions with organizers of public humanities projects, leaders of university presses and learned societies, experts in the various domains of the digital humanities, representatives of governmental and non-governmental organizations, and holders of important non-faculty positions in colleges and universities (academic administrators, student services professionals, librarians and archivists, development officers, and so forth).

The three-week workshops, July 18-August 5, 2016, will take place in Chicago. The Chicago Humanities Festival (CHF) offices will supply administrative support and logistical assistance. The workshops will bring together cohorts of thirty graduate students, selected in a spring competition conducted by the humanities centers, each of which will be responsible for recruiting applicants with broad interdisciplinary interests and with the capacity to represent a broadened vision of life in the humanities upon returning to their campuses. The expectation is that the centers themselves, by engaging with this project, will strengthen their capacity to serve as cross-disciplinary engines for the reorganization of graduate programs in the humanities.

Each campus will nominate four students for each workshop and a consortium review committee will make the final selection of two students per institution. Applications are due to the Obermann Center by Monday, Nov.  2, 2015 at 5:00 pm. To view the application materials, go here: There will be an information session in early fall 2015 at the Obermann Center.

We congratulate the Summer 2015 HWW Graduate Fellows:

Noaquia Callahan, PhD candidate, Department of History, CLAS

​Erica Damman, Interdisciplinary PhD candidate, Environmental Humanities, Graduate College


Find application checklists at the Humanities Without Walls web site.


Tenured faculty members from the University of Iowa from the humanities and qualitative social sciences may apply for the Grand Challenge. Graduate students in the humanities and qualitative social sciences may apply for the Pre-Doctoral Workshop.