CHF to co-host second Humanities Without Walls workshop

Following a successful inaugural year, the Chicago Humanities Festival and
Humanities Without Walls consortium are embarking on year two of the summer career workshop for pre-doctoral students in the humanities. The workshop will give 30 PhD candidates the opportunity to explore careers within the realm of public humanities. Led by the Chicago Humanities Festival’s Associate Artistic Director Alison Cuddy, the workshop will run from July 18 through August 5 at the Gratz Center at Fourth Presbyterian Church, 126 E. Chestnut Street.

Banking on last summer’s successes, which saw 30 PhD students from across the Midwest engage with corporate, civic, community, and cultural institutions in Chicago, this year’s program is more ambitious. Confirmed presenters include Carlos Tortolero, President and Founder of the National Museum of Mexican Art, Dr. Toni Irving, Director of Get IN Chicago, Greenhouse founder Andrew Benedict-Nelson, and writer and New York Times op-ed contributor Megan Stielstra.

The Chicago Humanities Festival will also partner with Burrell Communications,
LinkedIn, and the Stony Island Arts Bank as part of the workshop. For a complete list of partners, visit

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which initially awarded a two-year pilot of the Humanities Without Walls program to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has already renewed and extended the grant for an additional three years following last summer’s success.

“The Humanities Without Walls program gives students the opportunity to reimagine themselves, to see how the skills and intellect developed during their academic training is also suitable for other careers, in advertising, consulting, museum curation, and beyond” Cuddy says. “The Mellon Foundation’s decision to renew HWW during our inaugural year demonstrates their faith in CHF and the University of Illinois, and signals their recognition that encouraging humanities PhDs into public life is a valuable proposition.”

Plans to grow the program to include students outside the Midwest are already underway.
This year’s workshop will run Monday through Friday, beginning on July 18. In addition to presentations, networking events, and workshops at the Gratz Center at Fourth Presbyterian Church, the doctoral students will also take field trips to partner organizations and institutions throughout the city.

“As many of these students will end up working in vibrant urban centers, from Boston and Los Angeles to Denver and Des Moines, it’s important they experience a city as large as Chicago, with all its diverse neighborhoods, as an accessible, vibrant, cultural hub,” Cuddy adds.

Applications for the 2017 Humanities Without Walls consortium pre-doctoral summer workshop are now available. Applicants must be a humanities graduate student working towards, but who have not yet received, a PhD degree. For more information on the application, visit

About the Chicago Humanities Festival
For 25 years, the Chicago Humanities Festival has celebrated the questions that shape and define us as individuals, communities, and cultures. For the curious at heart, CHF’s vibrant year-round programming and robust Fallfest offer the opportunity to engage with some of the world’s most brilliant minds. Collaborating with leading arts, cultural, and educational organizations, it presents scholars, artists and architects, thinkers, theologians, and policy makers that change how we see the world, where we’re from, and where we’re going. Under the leadership of Executive Director Phillip Bahar, Marilynn Thoma Artistic Director Jonathan Elmer, and Associate Artistic Director Alison Cuddy, CHF is one of Chicago’s most vital presenting organizations. Visit for more information.

About Humanities Without Walls
The Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) received a $3 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to establish the Humanities Without Walls consortium in 2012. The consortium aims to promote academic collaboration among the humanities centers of 15 major research institutions in the Midwest and beyond. Consortium members include University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Indiana University, Michigan State University, Northwestern University, Ohio State University, Penn State University, Purdue University, University of Chicago,University of Illinois at Chicago,University of Iowa, University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, University of Nebraska, University of Notre Dame, and University of Wisconsin-Madison.