About the Institute
Hosted by the Institute for Digital Research in the Humanities at the University of Kansas, the Public Digital Humanities Institute is intended to foster successful academic-community collaborations in the digital humanities.

The Institute for Digital Research in the Humanities (IDRH) at the University of Kansas welcomes applications to participate in the NEH-funded Public Digital Humanities Institute, June 6-11, 2022, to receive training and support in public digital humanities and academic-community collaborations.

In order to focus on the under-resourced nexus of the digital humanities and public humanities, and in order to provide a one-of-a-kind opportunity for academics and their community partners to receive training together, we are inviting participants to attend in teams of two. We will host 24 participants, representing twelve collaborative digital humanities projects between the community and the academy.

This week-long summer Institute will provide foundational knowledge, skills and resources to successfully advance twelve public humanities projects, increasing their longevity, visibility and impact. This will be followed by a year of further online training, support and discussion, with a final symposium and showcase in June 2023.

What is the purpose of the Institute?

The Institute is intended to foster successful academic-community collaborations focused on digital, public-facing humanities projects. The key to successful, long-term public, digital humanities projects is developing trusting, collaborative relationships that meet the needs of all the stakeholders and contributors. This can be especially challenging when working across academic and community sectors. Our curriculum includes training in digital tools and methods, but goes beyond that to emphasize relationship-building, project management, and effective and ethical models of academic-community collaboration, giving participants the resources and support to overcome these challenges.

Twenty-four participants from 12 public digital projects, drawn from a national pool of applicants, will attend in teams of two, providing an opportunity for community organization representatives to train alongside humanities scholars in a bidirectional, collaborative setting. The cohort will see many examples of public digital humanities projects and receive training in digital humanities framed with a community-engagement perspective.

How is the Institute structured?

The Institute will comprise two phases: (1) one week of in-person workshops, conversations, and project sharing, held June 6-11, 2022 in Lawrence, Kansas, followed by (2) a year of online engagement.

In-person Program. The in-person program will introduce foundational concepts and topics in public digital humanities, allow for in-depth interaction with Institute instructors, and help form trusted personal connections among the Institute cohort.

Online Program. After the completion of the in-person program, the Institute will continue virtually for one year, with a program that includes monthly webinar-style workshops, dedicated consulting hours with Institute instructors, and discussion via online forums.

Final Symposium. The Institute will conclude in June 2023 with a virtual symposium featuring presentations from project teams reporting on progress made during the year and sharing reflections. The presentations will be recorded and posted on the Institute website for public viewing.

Who is the Institute for?

If you’re engaged in a community/academic collaborative project in the digital humantities, this Institute could be for you!

Examples of projects that would be a good fit for the Institute include–but are not limited to–community archiving, community remembrance and memorialization, digital storytelling, oral histories, digital collections, multimedia projects, and data-driven visualizations such as mapping projects. See the case studies page for some specific examples. We recognize there are many other types of projects and collaborations that could be a good fit, and we welcome those proposals as well.

Ideal projects will include a significant digital component (for example, a public-facing web archive, digital storytelling through mapping and visualization, a significant digital resource such as an interactive Indigenous language dictionary) and will involve the non-academic community not only as a target audience but a core partner in the project.

The committee aims to form a cohort that is diverse demographically, geographically, and in type of project, with an eye towards promoting meaningful cross-fertilization of projects. We welcome and encourage applications from a wide range of community and educational institutions, including, but not limited to, arts organizations, community centers, immigrant and other marginalized communities, foundations, historical sites and societies, Indigenous tribes and Tribal Colleges and Universities, community museums, prisons, social services organizations, state humanities councils, and community colleges.

Projects at any stage of development are welcome, though the curriculum has been developed with early-stage projects in mind–for example, those where the project partners may need guidance in selecting a digital platform, securing funding or community buy-in, developing a long-term sustainability plan, or strengthening relationships between project partners. Please review the progam and see if these sessions would benefit your project!

Please get in touch if you have questions about whether your project is a good fit. Our aim is to have a variety of types of projects represented in the Institute.

Why do we need to apply in teams of two?

The Institute is designed to foster academic/community collaborations and relationships. Participants should apply in teams of two. We believe this team approach recognizes the importance of collaboration and reinforces the notion of community-ownership in these projects.

We recognize that there are many types of projects and models of collaboration and there are not always clear lines between these roles, so the selection process will not be rigid in dictating the specific make-up of team members. Ideally, each team member should represent a different role on the project, with at least one member coming from a non-academic organization. Roles may include, but are not limited to, researcher, librarian, community leader, technologist, project coordinator, or other similar roles.

We have limited the in-person phase of the Institute to one week in order not to exclude non-academic participants who may not have the flexibility to attend a longer program. The year-long phase reflects the long-term nature of relationship building, so crucial to the success of these projects.

Who is leading the Institute?

The Institute for Digital Research in the Humanities (IDRH) at the University of Kansas, with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, is organizing the Institute.

Who is teaching the Institute?

The Institute sessions will be led by more than 20 experienced academics and community partners, offering a breadth of complementary skill sets and areas of expertise that will provide participants rich opportunities for engagement.

See the Institute Instructors page for the full roster.

What topics will be covered?

The week-long, in-person program will include sessions on:

  • Building strong partnerships between academia and community and non-profit organizations
  • Sustaining digital projects from both the social and technical perspectives
  • Participatory and collaborative design
  • Ethical questions related to public digital archives
  • Introductory workshops on DH tools and methods for publishing digital collections, mapping and visualization, metadata, digital audio and video, copyright and intellectual property
  • Case studies of 5 public digital humanities projects, representing different types of projects and partnerships, and presented by the project directors

Each participant will receive a workbook to take home with detailed information and resources for each topic.

For full descriptions of the sessions, please see the sessions page.

How much does it cost?

We aim for there to be zero out-of-pocket costs to participants. Each participant will receive a stipend ahead of time that should cover costs of ground transportation, airfare, lodging, and a per-diem for dinner and incidentals. A light breakfast, lunch, and refreshments will be provided each day during the Institute.

What are the facilities and services like?

The Hall Center is a fully accessible venue with state-of-the-art facilities, including a sound system with hearing assistance devices, gender neutral restrooms, and privacy rooms for participants.

Participants will be urged to bring their own laptops, but IDRH can provide laptop machines to those who need them.

See our logistics page for full details about lodging, transportation, facilities, and local information.

How might Covid-19 affect the Institute?

The Institute will follow all local and institutional policies and saftey protocols in place at the time of the event.

In the event that there are travel restrictions or safety concerns due to COVID-19 or other circumstances, we are prepared to move the institute to a hybrid or fully-online format.

Will I feel welcome, comfortable and safe at the Institute?

Our Institute is dedicated to providing a safe and harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, religion (or lack thereof), or technology choices. We do not tolerate harassment of Institute participants in any form.

All attendees agree to adhere to our statement of conduct.


We welcome enquiries via email. Applicants should direct all questions about the Public Digital Humanities Institute to idrh@ku.edu, or directly to co-directors Brian Rosenblum (brianrosenblum@ku.edu) or Dave Tell (davetell@ku.edu).