Public Humanities Collaborative

The Public Humanities Collaborative (PHC) is a summer research opportunity that brings together students, faculty, and individuals and organizations in Hartford to work on public humanities: the study of how people interpret stories of our human experience. PHC is a component of Trinity College’s Summer Research Program funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, funds 16 students per summer ($3500 stipend plus 10 weeks housing). 

Each PHC team includes a Hartford-area humanities partner (such as a museums, libraries, cultural institutions, or related organizations), one or more Trinity faculty fellows, and two to four Trinity student researchers.

  • Students work approximately 15 hours a week with faculty on their humanities-oriented scholarship (such as journal articles or book chapters) and another 15 hours a week with Hartford humanities partners on public humanities projects (such as an oral history collection, interactive website, community discussion, exhibit, public performance, etc.)
  • Students, faculty, and Hartford humanities partners will attend a weekly lunch and workshop on topics such as collaborating using digital tools, presenting work to academic and public audiences, and creating social change in the city.
To apply:
  • Hartford humanities partners: submit a brief public humanities proposal by January 31.
  • Faculty fellows: submit a brief humanities research proposal here by January 31.
  • Student researchers: Explore the available faculty and partner proposals, then apply through the FRC summer research application by February 18.

The PHC coordinator will review applications to identify matching interests for potential teams. Team members will share a common interest in a broad humanities theme (such as colonization, literacy, or migration) and/or a methodological approach (such as oral history, storytelling, or digital mapping). The PHC coordinator will forward recommendations to the Faculty Research Committee, which makes all funding decisions.

PHC is a competitive application process, with preference given to first generation, under-represented, and other students with demonstrated financial need, for whom socio-economic status has prevented them from engaging with summer research opportunities.

If you have any questions, please contact PHC Coordinator, Megan Faver Hartline or CHER Communications & Data Assistant, Erica Crowley.

Recent Projects

Aboubacar Bakayoko ’20 and Lucy Pereira ’20 worked with the Amistad Center for Arts and Culture to develop a digital timeline, seen in the video below, for the “What We Wore” exhibit. This is a community sourced textile exhibition which features clothing showing another side of African American history in Hartford. Take a look at the full timeline here: . Aboubacar also worked with Professor Garth Myers on “Rethinking Urbanism: Lessons from Postcolonial Studies and the Global South,” combining archival research and oral histories of communities in Hartford, and Lucy worked with Professor Abigail Fisher Williamson on “Urban Responses to Immigration,” which examined how a diverse range of towns and cities respond to immigrants and how these responses shape immigrant incorporation.

Archie Chen ’19 and Peace Kabari ’20 worked with Professor Cheryl Greenberg on the “African American Views on Gay Marriage” project, where they examined archival documents on this topic, and True Colors, Inc. on the Gay Spirit Radio Archive Project, which includes audio from the America’s longest running LGBTQ+ radio show, “Gay Spirit,” produced by Keith Brown in Hartford. Hartford has been a historic center of organizing for the civil rights of LGBTQ+ people in Connecticut and around the country, and Archie and Peace were able to explore this history through their projects with Prof. Greenberg and True Colors.


Melani Norsigian ’20 and Megan Caljouw ’20 worked with Christine Pittsley at the Connecticut State Library to prepare the exhibit “Heroes on the Homefront: A Look into the Role of Connecticut Citizens During World War I”, featuring soldiers’ letters, photographs, and wartime recipes, which were also showcased on the library’s instagram (pictured below). In addition, Melani and Megan explored “French Novelists and the American Academy: A Digital Humanities Project” with Professor Sara Kippur, creating story maps of French novelists’ travels in America. See Megan’s story map on Alain Robbe-Grillet and Melani’s story map on Nathalie Sarraute.


Other past projects include:

    • Connecticut Landmarks, “Reimagining the Main Street History Center at the Butler-McCook House and Garden” with community partner Jana Colacino, Hartford Educator and Project Manager
    • Connecticut Public Affairs Network, “Civic Action Lab & Makerspace” with community partner Sally Whipple, Executive Director of Connecticut’s Old State House
    • The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, “Action Lab Initiative” with community partners Katie Burton, Program Coordinator, and Shannon Burke, Director of Education
    • Jewish Historical Society of Greater Hartford, “Ten ArtiFACTS that tell the Hartford Jewish Community” story with community partner Estelle Kafer, Executive Director
    • West Indian Social Club/West Indian Foundation, “Archives and Public Discourses: Immigration Narratives from Connecticut’s West Indian Diaspora, 1940-2010” with community partner Fiona Vernal
    • “Haddam Jail Legal History Project” with Professor Glenn Falk
    • “A Digital Archive of Caribbean Anti-Colonial Thought” with Professor Maurice Wade
    • “Poetry On the Page & In the Archives” with Professor Chloe Wheatley

For more information on past PHC projects, see this feature story.

If you have any questions, please contact PHC Coordinator, Megan Faver Hartline.