The humanities employ interpretive, discursive, and creative methods to approach questions and issues that involve human values, hierarchies, cultural products and traditions, systems of relation, senses of place, communication and expression, narratives and histories, emotion and affect, beliefs, philosophies, ethics, norms, and the like. If your work and project ideas do this, they probably align with the humanities. If you would like further clarification (e.g., about specific methodologies) feel free to contact us.

No. This program is open to scholars, creatives, and community or nonprofit leaders who are experienced in and open to collaborative thought-work and discussion, and who are capable of and interested in developing to completion a project that uses a humanistic approach to serve a public good. Selected fellows will represent diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and approaches.

Work in the public humanities engages interpretive, discursive, historical, and/or creative methods in the development of outcomes that serve a public interest. Proposed projects can be collaborative or independently led and may involve any of a variety of approaches and outcomes. For instance, projects may:    


  • involve historical research, public archives, or oral history projects on relevant, under-explored issues or untold stories.
  • create opportunities for co-learning, dialogue, or reciprocal exchange of knowledge.
  • engage topics relevant to public policies, laws, or advocacy work.
  • explore relevant ethical, religious, emotional/affective, and/or philosophical perspectives.
  • develop experiences or learning opportunities (exhibitions, workshops, StoryMaps, a podcast series, a curriculum, a series of essays with an identified publication venue, etc.).   


These are only examples, and projects may incorporate any or several of the above or take a different path entirely. Regardless of project approach, outcomes should engage a broader audience and serve a public interest. We are especially interested in projects that engage with issues relevant to Oregon or the Pacific Northwest and projects that touch upon ideas connected with the climate emergency and environmental or ecological justice.

Project outcomes should be of benefit to a community or the public. No specific outcome or form of product is expected. Outcomes might emerge from approaches like those listed above and could take any of a variety of forms: community partnership project, legislation, a series of essays, a collaborative collection of poems, a research project with a clear public-engagement component, a sequence of workshops, etc. 

Successful proposals will clearly communicate connections among the theme, identified public need, methods of project development, and potential beneficial outcomes. Applicants should be mindful of the project’s scope—though work on the project may continue, for this fellowship, the proposal should focus on what you can accomplish within the span of one year.

Does your idea for a public humanities project pertain to the way people relate to water? Then we’re interested in hearing about it. Especially if it’s relevant to people living in the Pacific Northwest and if it connects with the climate emergency and issues of environmental or ecological justice.

Project topics might concern (but are not limited to): the effects of changing weather patterns and rising temperatures; access to clean water; water and decolonization; food systems and agricultural irrigation; pollution; water politics and laws; the rights of water; coastal and estuarine issues; recreational, vocational, or subsistence practices; interspecies connections, e.g., with salmon, beavers, or birds; water and wildfire; restoration; the idea of water ownership; impacts of development, infrastructure; water and Traditional Ecological Knowledge; water conflicts and solutions; water and cultural identities; water movement, flow, and control; narratives of historical practice; cultural beliefs about water and water life; water language; water philosophies and ethics; specific watersheds and bodies of water—wetlands, rivers, lakes, creeks, streams, canals, lakes, reservoirs, aquifers, ponds; etc.


No. The fellowship stipend and travel funding support expenses related to project development and travel for in-person events as well as the residency.   

Each month, fellows will convene with a small group of scientists, activists, and creators who are working to create or revive knowledge and perspectives that might guide us through this critical time of social and ecological crisis. These facilitated discussions will involve conversations prompted by questions about topics connected with water and watersheds. Fellows are expected to actively participate by listening to others; by sharing their own stories, ideas, knowledge, and emotions; and by developing their own questions for the group. Fellows should be open to experiment and play, be comfortable outside the role of “expert,” and be willing to engage from a position of humility and earnestness.

Yes. There will be one in-person meeting in March 2024 and one public event in winter or spring 2025. In addition, each fellow will spend two to four weeks at one of our residency sites in the Coast Range, along the McKenzie River and in the Cascade foothills. Residency stays may be split into separate blocks of time, and we will work with you to accommodate your schedule.

You can learn more about each site by visiting the following links:  

OSU Corvallis Campus:


The Cabin at Shotpouch Creek


Lopez Cottage on the McKenzie              


H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest