Applications are now open for Praxis Fellowships to be held during the 2024-2025 academic year. Further details below about this application cycle, which has applications due November 1st, 2023. Consider spending time with us next year!
If you’re interested in learning more about the fellowship or have questions about anything you read below, please consider attending the information session for the 2024-2025 cohort - Monday, September 11th, 2023 from 11:00-12:00 on Zoom. Please register to attend.
The Praxis Program is a unique and well-known training program in the international digital humanities, offered by the UVa Library’s Scholars’ Lab. This fellowship supports a team of University of Virginia PhD students each year as they explore various aspects of digital humanities together. Under the guidance of Scholars’ Lab faculty and staff, Praxis fellows conceive, develop, and share a range of digital humanities activities over the course of the year. Our fellows blog about their experiences and develop increased facility with project management, collaboration, and the public humanities, even as they tackle (most for the first time, and with the mentorship of our faculty and staff) new programming languages, tools, and digital methods. Praxis aims to equip fellows with the skills necessary for future research, teaching, and administration within digital humanities.
Praxis training takes a variety of shapes meant to reflect the full-range of DH work. As a part of their training with us, student cohorts regularly publish a range of values statements describing the intentional communities they want to build together. They also design and teach digital humanities workshops based on their own interests as a means to exercise minimalist pedagogical approaches to DH. Students design speculative projects and events that might go on to be implemented by the Lab. They also participate in a range of technical and design activities meant to reflect the range of digital practices they will encounter in their research. At times, Praxis teams have developed and launched specific, named projects. Fellows join our vibrant community and have a voice in intellectual programming for the Scholars’ Lab.
Beginning as a 2011-2013 pilot project supported by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to UVa Library’s Scholarly Communication Institute, the Praxis Program is now generously supported by UVa Library and GSAS. The Praxis Program is a core module of PHD+, a university-wide initiative to prepare PhD students across all disciplines for long-term career success. The work Praxis Fellows undertake over the course of their fellowship year may be submitted in partial fulfillment of the practicum requirement for UVA’s Graduate Certificate in Digital Humanities.
The Praxis fellowship replaces recipients’ teaching responsibilities for the academic year. Fellows are expected to devote roughly 10 hours per week in the Scholars’ Lab.
All University of Virginia doctoral students working within humanities disciplines, on topics demonstrably connected to the humanities, or working in adjacent fields are eligible to apply. We welcome and encourage applicants to discuss how your particular backgrounds and identities, whatever that might mean for you, factor into your unique ability to contribute to the program.
Applicants must be enrolled full time in the year for which they are applying. In addition, applicants must be capable of attending weekly in-person meetings in both the fall and spring semesters of their fellowship year (though we can certainly accommodate travel needs).
Applicants must still be drawing upon their regular funding packages as part of their doctoral program. I.e. students will typically be in years 2-5 of their program during the year the fellowship will be held. Students outside of GSAS or whose teaching would already be relieved through other sources during the fellowship year should reach out to Brandon Walsh to discuss their eligibility given their particular cirumstances.
N.b. - Praxis students are not expected to come in with particular technical training or experiences - we cover that over the course of the fellowship year! Prior experience with digital technology is only one part of an application and should not keep anyone from applying. Everyone brings something different to the team, and your strengths in critical thinking about media, collaboration, project development, and more could be great ways for an application to shine. Concerned students are encouraged to reach out to Brandon Walsh, our Head of Student Programs, to discuss their backgrounds or eligibility.
How to Apply
The application process for Praxis is simple! You apply individually, and we assemble the team, through a process that includes group interviews and input from a committee about your application. To start, we ask for a letter of intent (roughly 2 pages single-spaced). The letter should include:
- What brings you to us? - a description of the applicant’s curiosity in the program, (could include a description of proposed use of digital technologies in research if relevant, but interest and curiousity can be valid starting points as well);
- How do you work? - a narrative about how the applicant approaches collaboration and learning;
- What do you bring to the table? - summary of what skills, interests, methods the applicant will bring to the Praxis Program;
- What do you want out of this? - summary of what the applicant hopes to gain as a Praxis Fellow, both in the short and the long term;
- When can you meet? - your availability on the days and times we’ve identified for group interviews: Monday, 11/27 from 11-12 or 2-3; or Wednesday, 11/29 from 10-11 or 2-3 (you will only have to participate in one hour-long group interview);
- Anything else we should know? - pronouns, a name you go by other than the one on your email, any other experiences or backgrounds you want to make sure we are aware of, or anything else you would like to share.
In addition, we ask for a brief note (a PDF or screenshot of an email is fine) from the applicant’s department chair stating that they are aware the student is applying for the fellowship and support the application (given that the application can affect teaching rosters).
The best Praxis applications are the ones that go beyond listing the skills and research one hopes to bring or take away from the experience. Instead, focusing on weaving those elements into a narrative of how the program connects to your life plans and how you, in turn, connect to the spirit of the program. We recommend applicants start by reading our charter and a blog post on “Questions to ask When Applying.”
Questions about Praxis Fellowships and the application process should be directed to Brandon Walsh. Completed application materials are due November 1st and can be uploaded through the GSAS application portal. Please do consider this application to be part of a process - the beginning of a conversation about how we can work together. We highly encourage students to write to Brandon Walsh to discuss their interest in the program and how the Lab can contribute to their professional development. Together we can begin to discuss how the Lab can be a part of your time here, with Praxis or otherwise.