Applications are now open for the 2022-2023 Praxis Program cohort. Applications are due March 1st, 2022. Consider spending some 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 2022-2023 cohort - Tuesday, February 1st, 2022 from 10:00-11:00 on Zoom. Please register to attend**.
The Praxis Program is a radical re-imagining of the annual teaching and training we offer in the Scholars’ Lab. This fellowship supports a team of University of Virginia PhD students from a variety of disciplines, who work collaboratively on a shared digital humanities project. Under the guidance of Scholars’ Lab faculty and staff, Praxis fellows conceive, develop, publish, and promote a digital project over the course of an academic year. Praxis is a unique and well-known training program in the international digital humanities community. 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 prepare fellows with digital methodologies to apply both to the fellowship project and their future research.
Our first two cohorts designed and built Prism, a digital tool for crowd-sourced humanities interpretation, visualization, and textual analysis. Our third and fourth cohorts re-imagined Ivanhoe, a WordPress theme enabling collaborative criticism through roleplay. Our fifth cohort explored sonification of humanities data with the project Clockwork. More recently, cohorts have worked on Dash-Amerikan, a social media ecology of the Kardashian family, and UVA Reveal, an augmented reality project that layers contextual information on contested public spaces on UVA’s campus, and Unclosure, a project that explores the possibilities that the public domain holds for research, pedagogy, and play. Most recently, students developed Land and Legacy, a critical history of UVA’s real estate development since the 1980’s, and Connection Established, an immersive examination of university teaching, life, and governance during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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. Fellows join our vibrant community and have a voice in intellectual programming for 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. The Scholars’ Lab particularly encourages and will prioritize participation of students who are women, Black, Indigenous, people of color, LGBTQIA+, disabled, undocumented, international, first-generation, or from other under-represented groups. We will be working to put together an interdisciplinary and intellectually diverse team.
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 are flexible and can certainly accommodate travel needs). We will monitor public health to ensure such meetings are possible–we have successfully held the program remotely during the pandemic.
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. In the event that a student has already been relieved from teaching duties, either through their regular funding package or in combination with another award, a small summer research fund will be substituted for the standard Praxis Fellowship award. Students in such situations should reach out to Brandon Walsh to discuss their eligibility.
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 peers. To start, we only ask for a letter of intent (roughly 2 pages single-spaced). The letter should include:
- the applicant’s research interests;
- summary of the applicant’s plan for use of digital technologies in your research;
- summary of what skills, interests, methods the applicant will bring to the Praxis Program;
- summary of what the applicant hopes to gain as a Praxis Fellow, both in the short and the long term;
- and your availability on the days and times we’ve identified for group interviews: Monday, March 21st from 1-3; Tuesday, March 22nd from 10-12 or 3-4 (you will only have to participate in one hour-long group interview). Shortly after these group interviews, we will notify applicants who advance to schedule follow-up interviews to take place on March 28th and 29th.
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.
Questions about Praxis Fellowships and the application process should be directed to Brandon Walsh. Completed application materials are due March 1st and can be uploaded through the GSAS application portal, which will open on January 15th. 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.