Propose a Humanities Project for the 2023 Story+ Summer Research Program

November 22, 2022


The Story+ Summer Research Program is now accepting proposals for Summer 2023 projects that engage undergraduate and graduate students in collaborative research on humanities-based topics. Proposals are due by December 5 at 5 p.m.

About Story+

Story+ is a six-week summer program that immerses interdisciplinary teams of students, faculty and staff in humanities research and public storytelling. Story+ promotes inquiry-based learning and vertically integrated collaboration through projects that may be driven by archival research, oral history, textual analysis, visual analysis, cultural criticism or other humanistic research methods.

Small teams of undergraduates, supervised by graduate student mentors, collaborate on focused projects that contribute to the broader research, teaching, scholarly communications and/or public engagement agendas of Duke faculty, Duke librarians, nonprofit organizations and other university or nonuniversity project sponsors. Story+ final projects have taken the form of writing, exhibits, websites, annotated archives, short films/videos, podcasts, social media content and other genres.

A typical Story+ team consists of a project sponsor, a graduate student mentor and three undergraduate researchers. Project sponsors benefit from the opportunity to engage a team of students, who are provided with appropriate guidance and mentoring through Story+, in producing a tangible product that may further their work. Story+ undergraduate students learn how to conduct rigorous interpretive research in a team setting, connect academic knowledge to broader social issues and communicate their research stories with diverse audiences – within and outside the university – in a complex media environment. Graduate mentors get the distinctive pedagogical and professional opportunity to manage a complex collaborative project and facilitate the network of relationships that such projects entail.

Call for Proposals: Story+ 2023

The Franklin Humanities Institute invites proposals from Duke faculty, archivists, artists and other campus and community members for the Summer 2023 edition of Story+. For Summer 2023, we anticipate selecting up to six teams. As has been our practice, all proposals will be reviewed by a committee composed of program co-directors, FHI support staff, Library staff, past graduate student mentors and previous project sponsors.

While we have found benefits to remote research work and might return to offering programs with this option in the future, we do not anticipate teams working remotely this year. Therefore all project proposals should anticipate a full return to on-site engagement for Summer 2023.

We seek projects on any topic that are anchored in humanities research methods and questions, with well-defined project goals that can be feasibly completed in six weeks. Outcomes of past Story+ teams have included finished products (e.g., a completed curatorial plan a physical exhibit or a published research report), prototypes or pilot projects (e.g., a prototype online teaching module or a proof-of-concept audio podcast), as well as preliminary, exploratory research that contributes to a larger ongoing project (e.g., oral histories, translation, transcription or archival discovery).

We encourage proposals that build upon or toward course offerings, Humanities Labs or Bass Connections teams during the regular school year. As possible points of reference, please see our Story+ website for descriptions and outcomes from previous teams. P.I.s or projects previously supported by Story+ are eligible to apply, but note that priority may be given, in these cases, to projects that demonstrate a significantly new direction or outcome. Individuals are strongly encouraged to consult with program co-directors Lou Brown and Jules Odendahl-James about interest and available opportunities.

Story+ is built upon the foundational values of care, inclusion and community. Our primary objectives are to enable undergraduate and graduate students to participate in rigorous, hands-on humanities research; to facilitate collaborative and creative research transmission; and to promote teamwork and interdisciplinarity as humanities modes of work.

Our values also animate how we reach out for partnerships across Duke and beyond Duke, in the projects we solicit and select, in the ways we recruit and support students, and in our common programming throughout the summer. We understand that our work is done with and within a privileged institution of higher education that has a historically complicated relationship with research subjects, objectification and positivism. To generate humanistic research means paying attention to how structures and systems influence the collection of evidence, methods of analysis and communication of results and to our particular identities and contexts as researchers.

This embrace of situated knowledge does not require that Story+ projects adhere to certain topics, modes of work or presentation practices; it does however, require a self-awareness about the choices any particular project makes from subject matter, to methodology, to communication with the public, to divisions of labor and supervisory authority. As such, we ask all potential and participating partners to consider how, following our Story+ Code of Conduct, they and their projects will contribute to a research community where inclusion, consensus and reciprocity are at the heart of practice and communication.

Project sponsors should plan to be accessible to their teams on at least a weekly basis and are expected to be regularly available to collaborate with their full team. The most successful and highly ranked of our projects are those with dedicated sponsors and clearly articulated goals. All project leaders will be asked to oblige the Story+ Policies and Expectations for Story+ Team Leaders and the Story+ Code of Conduct included therein.

Please submit proposals via Qualtrics by December 5 at 5 p.m.

The application form will ask for the following components:

  • Brief description of the overall project planned to be on-site at Duke campus for the full six-weeks of work (May 17-June 30). Think of this as the short abstract we might use to advertise the team to prospective student applicants (250 words).
  • Description of the specific project goal(s) and output(s) you hope to accomplish through Story+. Please address how the overall goals of the Story+ program (providing a rich arts/humanities team-based research and public storytelling experience for graduates and undergraduates) align with your project goals.
  • A basic timeline of project milestones, proposed team-based processes, desired outcome(s) and how/why this work is important to your research/unit/organization. 
  • A tentative six-week work plan. This might include a sketch of methods, methodologies, weekly schedule, opportunities for students, campus/community partners who might collaborate, and/or post-Story+ afterlives of the work. 
  • List of essential skills undergraduates will need to contribute to the project. The more specific you can be, the better. We return to these details when constructing our call for applicants. (Please note that, while you can encourage particular undergraduates to apply and they have the opportunity to rank your project as their first choice, all undergraduate applicants will be placed in a general pool for consideration across projects.)
  • List of skills or technologies you believe your project will need beyond those brought by students. If you can provide training or access to these skills and technologies, please indicate that here. If you cannot, please suggest pathways for acquisition, if you know of online or campus resources. If you don’t know where to access them, let us know that also. This information will help us plan how best to support each team’s work as well as possibilities of shared training sessions across teams.
  • The name(s) of any specific graduate students you have in mind for the role of your project manager. If you do not have a specific student in mind, please list essential skills or disciplinary knowledge you would like your project manager to have. We have had Master’s students and Doctoral students fill this role with success.
  • Any funding from external sources or other Duke units that you plan to engage to support the work of the team. This can be for additional graduate or undergraduate team participants, to support away-from-campus field trips, or fund visitors to campus for team consults.

Story+ is co-directed by Lou Brown and Jules Odendahl-James. Story+ is funded by Together Duke and administered by the Franklin Humanities Institute in conjunction with Bass Connections, with additional support from the Duke Libraries.

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