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Humanities Institute

Grants, Fellowships & CFPs

Horizons of the Humanities Exploratory Workshop: Experimentation

Deadline: Friday, May 5th, 2017

Sponsored by: University of California Humanities Research Institute

Only Graduate Students, Recent PhDs, and Faculty are eligible for this grant, fellowship, or residency.

Grant Overview

Description: UCHRI invites University of California faculty, graduate students and recent PhDs , as well as independent scholars and artists, to submit letters of interest to attend an all-day workshop on the topic of experimentation and the humanities. The aim of the workshop is to explore innovative agendas, partnerships, and methodologies that advance multidisciplinary, multimodal examinations of the topic. The workshop will examine both experimental practices and cultural representations of the experimental in both historical and contemporary frames. The purpose of the event is to form collaborative research groups that will participate in a studio on humanities experimentation during the 2017-18 academic year.

Who Can Apply: UC and non-UC faculty, graduate students, recent PhDs, independent scholars, artists, and media professionals

Award Amount: Travel, lodging, and meals to attend the event; potential opportunity to apply for additional funds to participate in the year-long research studio.

Application Opens: March 28, 2017 (online via FastApps)

Application Deadline: May 5, 2017 (11:59 pm PST)

Awards Announced: May 19, 2017 (expected)

Funding Source: The Horizons of the Humanities initiative, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon foundation

Final awards are contingent upon available funding.

View Frequently Asked Questions

Program Details

On June 16, 2017 at UC Irvine, UCHRI will host an exploratory all-day workshop on the topic of experimentation and the humanities to facilitate face-to-face networking and proposal development among groups of scholars and artists. The exploratory workshop will convene up to 15-20 competitively-selected UC faculty and graduate students, journalists, artists, and other public scholars for one day of networking, sharing research interests, and building an interdisciplinary research team.

The purpose of the exploratory workshop is to identify opportunities for research collaborations and partnerships beyond those typically found within traditional academic structures. To that end, we encourage applications from both humanities and non-humanities faculty and graduate students who are working on the topic of experimentation, as well as public scholars and artists from throughout California.

While establishing research affinities during the workshop, we encourage participants to think broadly about the topic and to consider interdisciplinary, multimodal scholarship and methods, as well as an expanded definition of research outcomes. Select research collaboratives that emerge from this initial exploratory engagement may be invited to apply for longer-term research funding as part of UCHRI’s Horizons of the Humanities initiative in order to conduct a year-long Experimentation Studio.

Topic Details

If you want to be a productive researcher, you have to conduct your experiments in such a way that you can be surprised by the outcome, so that unexpected things can occur. This only happens if, on the one hand, experiments are precisely set up but, on the other hand, are complex enough to leave the door open for surprise.

—Hans-Jorg Rheinberger in conversation with Michael Schwab, Experimental Systems: Future Knowledge in Artistic Research (edited by Michael Schwab), p. 200

Experimentation, once the province of science, is no longer an unfamiliar term in the arts and humanities both as a method and as an object of study.  Concomitant with the rise of digital technology, there has been a resurgence of interest in process-oriented andopen-ended research methods such as visualization, mapping, simulation, and modeling, all of which share some processual overlap with experimentation. These and other new practices are changing the epistemological basis on which humanities research is conducted, and are helping to create new kinds of knowledge.

Experimentation, and its role in shaping humanistic thought, takes on a particularly urgent meaning at a time when ecological crises, media proliferation, resurgent authoritarian populism, and economic precarity combine to blur long-cherished distinctions between humans, and technologies. Algorithmic governance and lively nonhuman agents all force new imperatives upon humanist inquiry. In this situation, experimental engagements with the contemporary can offer generative imaginations of both creative and repressive futures.

As a collaborative practice, experimentation calls on humanists to develop new modes of research that are attuned to principles of community, dialogue, and cohabitation. In a moment when there is intense pressure on humanists to produce quantifiable knowledge in the form of clear “outcomes”, this studio calls on scholars and practitioners to reflect on experimentation as a method for resisting the instrumentalization of the humanities in the university and beyond. The studio will be a space for interdisciplinary, collaborative work committed both to the process of generating knowledge and end product. We encourage collaborations between artists and humanists that combine modes of experimental practice to redefine the shape and outcomes of knowledge.

We invite letters of interest from scholars, artists, and researchers that (a) include a research abstract, and (b) reflect on experimentation as an object of study and as a research method. Potential areas of inquiry include:

  • Historical legacies of experimentation as an expression of creativity as well as power
  • Experimental dialogues between the human, social, and natural sciences
  • Experiments as sites of collaboration, collusion, and deception
  • The democratic experiment and the future of collectivity
  • Experimentation as work and play
  • Experimental thinking as epistemology and/or cultural values system
  • Role of experimentation in the blurring of distinctions between human, machine, and animal; animalization of human life/anthropomorphizing of the animal and machinic, technologic
  • Dialogues between experiments in humanistic and artistic practices

Application Details

Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact their respective campus representative on the UCHRI Advisory Committee for guidance in the process.

Applicants must apply online via UCHRI’s FastApps system. Required documents include:

  • Curriculum Vitae/Resume of the participant
  • Letter of Intent (800 words max) outlining your interest in the topic of experimentation and how a collaborative engagement would contribute to your continued research aims.

Successful applications should clearly demonstrate how the theme and would be suitable to research collaboration and excellence.

For program-related questions, please contact Marie Saldaña, Research Programs Manager at msaldana@hri.uci.edu.

For technical assistance with FastApps, contact techsupport@hri.uci.edu.

Please include the name of the program for which you need assistance.

For more information please contact: Marie Saldaña, Research Programs Manager at msaldana@hri.uci.edu

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