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New Graduate Student Summer Travel Grants Available

New Graduate Student Summer Travel Grants Available

Graduate students working on their dissertations in humanities fields can now apply for summer travel fellowships through a new program offered by the UT Humanities Center.

The fellowships help UT graduate students travel to library and museum archives in order to examine ancient manuscripts, read through court records or an author’s personal papers, or listen to one-of-a-kind audio recordings related to a historical event. 

Christine Shepardson, professor of religious studies and a 2016-17 UTHC faculty fellow, believes that such funding is critical to supporting the highest quality student research. 

“While digital humanities projects are making some ancient texts available online, the large majority of original ancient manuscripts, inscriptions, and papyri are only available by traveling in person to the library, museum, or archive that holds them,” she says. “Studying manuscripts in person allows scholars to see words added in the margins, erasures and overwriting, differences in handwriting and ink colors, and other important aspects of a manuscript that can be invaluable to studying the material and its transmission.”

The new travel fellowships are unique in that they also help students attend art exhibitions or groundbreaking performances shown only in major metropolitan centers. These events are often not permanently archived, but they can be central to research in art history or performance studies.

This was important to Kerri Considine, a UTHC graduate fellow studying theatre. 

“On a recent research trip to New York, I was able to see the U.S. premiere of Caryl Churchill’s new play, Escaped Alone, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and this led to my publishing a timely review of the performance,” she says. She added that this experience also supported work she was doing as dramaturg for the Clarence Brown Theatre’s production of Caryl Churchill’s Top Girls.

Humanities Center Director Amy Elias believes that such funding is crucially important for graduate students in the humanities.

“While they are trying to write their dissertations during the academic year, our award-winning graduate students often teach work-intensive undergraduate courses with course preparation, paper grading, student tutorials, and innovative pedagogies,” she says. “The summer months offer these students precious time to travel to archives central to their own research.” 

A limited number of fellowships of up to $1,400 are available for summer 2017 to PhD students at the dissertation stage of their degree program. 

For more information, email the UT Humanities Center.

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