Program Information

In 2018-19 we are piloting a program for graduate students in the arts and humanities who are interested in community-engaged research, teaching and creative work. A committee composed of faculty and staff from the Office for Outreach and Engagement, CU Engage and the Graduate School selected six students for the inaugural cohort. No prior experience with engaged scholarship was required for the applicants. Information about application deadlines and details for a 2019-20 cohort will be posted in late Fall 2018. Contact Lisa Schwartz, program lead, with any questions or for additional information. 

Participant Benefits

  • Receive a stipend for participation ($1,000) and for partnering with communities (up to $1,000).

  • Creatively apply tools, approaches and expertise from your discipline to community interests and build mutually beneficial relationships with community and campus partners.

  • Grow your public and academic image and repertoire.

  • Network with artists, nonprofits, leaders, academics and community members statewide.

  • Attend activities at two conferences in April and May 2018 oriented toward the creative industries, creative placemaking, and the economic and cultural vitality of Colorado towns.

  • Develop partnerships with communities over the summer and 2018–19 academic year.

Applicants must be enrolled graduate students in the arts and humanities at CU Boulder. No prior experience with engaged scholarship is required. Preference will be given to students who are enrolled in PhD or MFA programs. 

The cohort will meet to develop partnership plans over summer 2018. Cohort members will have academic year 2018–19 to actualize the plan and to present an aspect of their work in a public format that will be determined (e.g. a blog, talk, etc). An important goal of the program is to emphasize relationship development and a collaborative process for working with Colorado communities as well as campus colleagues. Our office has many potential partners across campus and Colorado with whom students in the cohort could develop partnerships (see example projects and partners below).

The following required meetings are with the cohort and the Office for Outreach and Engagement Program Manager Lisa Schwartz. Campus and community partners relevant to the program will also attend meetings. The program is designed with an understanding of the needs and schedules of graduate students.

  • April and May 2018:  Attend activities at the exciting conferences of two community partners, Downtown Colorado Inc. (DCI) in Boulder, CO and the Colorado Creative Industries (CCI) in Greeley, CO. These conferences draw from communities around the state. Attendance is also required at two pre-conference meetings (one before each conference). If you are selected for the cohort, attendance at these events is critical for your participation (your conference registrations are covered, as is one night of hotel in Greeley, CO for the CCI conference). However, applicants with extenuating circumstances that prohibit their attendance may still be eligible (there is space on the application to explain). On the application page you will be prompted to share if you can attend:
    • a luncheon workshop that is part of the Downtown Colorado Inc. conference (Boulder, Wednesday April 11 12:15pm to 2:30PM) and at least one other conference session and event (4/10-4/13)
    • portions of the Colorado Creative Industries Summit (Greeley May 10-11, and possibly the pre-conference day, May 9. The exact required portions of conference attendance will be determined, but is preferred for May 10, with hotel for that night covered.)
  • Summer 2018: Attend three cohort meetings (virtually or in person) to work on a “partner plan”. The goal of the partner plan is to develop a mutually beneficial and shared activity with a community partner. Students in the cohort will write a brief proposal for this activity. Students will also determine how to share their work publicly over the 2018-2019 school year (e.g. blog, talk, forum etc.)
  • Academic year 2018–19:  Meet with the cohort once per semester in Fall 2018 and Spring 2019.
  • Summer and academic year 2018–19: Work with OOE program manager, Lisa Schwartz, to review your "partner plan" and budget in order to receive funding. Addtional funding up to 1k might entail travel expenses for the engaged scholar, stipends for community partners etc. 

As an Engaged Arts and Humanities Scholar, graduate students will gain experiences in applying the tools of their discipline (research, teaching and creative work) to forge relationships and spaces for community interaction and dialogue. For some current thought on this type of work, see The New Work of Building Civic Practice, Michael Rohd, 2012 and the National Humanities Conference.

For example, students might listen to, document and share community members' stories or faciliate community members in doing this work themselves. Or, they might develop workshops, performances or creative work with communities. ​We have a wide network of existing partners and will support students in work with organizations in urban, rural and small town Colorado with communities that historically have less access to CU Boulder resources. In locations where changing community demographics, economies, landscapes, rising housing prices and gentrification are hot button issues, students' collaborative work could support the inclusion of diverse communities in local programming, important community conversations and/or opportunities to educate those from other locations. 

Below are examples of some existing projects and programs across campus and Colorado that students could partner with to support or extend their work and/or reach new communities. These programs are aware of and excited about possibilities and there are many more possibilities as well! 

  • The Boulder Pottery Lab is a partner that students in Ceramics could work with to reach underserved audiences in Boulder County and to learn about how Studio Arts Boulder develops their community programming.
  • The Weehawken Creative Arts Center and the Sherbino Theater in Ridgway, Colorado has robust programming and many opportunities to partner with them for workshops and other forms of community engagement.
  • The CU Boulder Latino History Project partners with the Trinidad History Museum in Trinidad, CO and the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area in the San Luis Valley, as well at the Boulder Valley School District and other communities in the front range. Together they work with k12 schools and local communities to develop curricular resources, archival and artifactual material, community events and more to bring the history of diverse Latino, indigenous and other immigrant communities into the lives of present day students. 
  • Downtown Colorado Inc has "challenge studios" generated through participants who attend the Downtown Colorado Inc. conference to help a community creatively address an issue. The example below is from a past challenge studio, and a graduate student scholar could help actualize some of the ideas, or come up with other ideas in partnership with community participants.
    • From the Challenge Studio Text: “The Old Fox Theater in early 20th century Walsenburg, then a coal town, was built in 1910 for live performances but since then fell into disrepair. Recently, the theater has been renovated by volunteers and donated to the county in interest of the public good where it is run by the Spanish Peaks Community Foundation; staff consists of one full-time person. The community is interested in keeping the historic theater going, but limited funds and staff are placing the theater in jeopardy. Our Challenge Studio participants came up with a number of ideas to solve this problem including a variety of programming opportunities (open mic, poetry, live music, etc.) and ways to get the word out about the Old Fox Theater and the benefits it brings to Walsenburg.”
  • Work with the Colorado Creative Industries and/or one of the 21 Colorado Creative Districts around the state (e.g. Carbondale, Crested Butte, Denver neighborhoods, Greeley, Manitou Springs, Ridgway, Paonia, Pueblo, Steamboat Springs, Trinidad, and more) on a multitude of projects, including a way to foment artist exchanges across Colorado, "space to create" projects, connections with local arts organizations and higher education institutions, public art and downtown spaces, ideas for creative district tours and more.
  • CU Boulder Lens on Climate Change Program in its 3rd year, works with youth who will primarily be first generation college goers to develop videos on how climate change affects their communities. Students could support video and story development as well as ways to share with communities.
  • Colorado Humanities is embarking on a project in collaboration with Motus Theatre and Latino serving arts organizations to help communities in Colorado engage with their Latino neighbors.
  • The CU Boulder Upward Bound program and is working to develop campus artwork and spaces that will make visible the indigenous history of the area on campus.
  • The Boulder County Arts Alliance works on advocacy for the arts, spaces for artists to work and share their work in Boulder and diversity and equity focused professional development for the local community, as well as other areas.

Please have the following information ready before you begin the online application (note that the application is now closed). Check back in Fall 2018 for information about the Spring 2019 deadline for the 2019-20 cohort.

Section One

  • Personal contact information
  • Contact information (email and phone) for two CU Boulder professors who could serve as references. Indicate your relationship to the professors that you list (advisor, mentor etc.).
  • Program affliation
  • Your CV (this is solely to give us a general idea of your background)

Section Two: Availability for key dates noted on the application

Section Three: Research and Interests

  • For an audience of academics in your field: How would you explain your research to others in your discipline? (250 words or less). PhD or MFA Program Department and name of your program area if applicable *
  • For a public audience: How would you explain your research to a public audience? (250 words or less)
  • What are your career goals? (150 words or less)
  • How do you think your disciplinary skill set, interests and experience might connect to the public or be applicable to community engagement?
  • Why are you interested in this program and what are your goals for your participation?  (250 words or less)
  • What questions do you have for us? (150 words or less)