Interseminars Faculty Proposals

The Humanities Research Institute announces a $500k initiative, including $55k for programming, toward interdisciplinary teaching and research in the humanities and arts funded by the Mellon Foundation.

Read about the third Interseminars project.

The third and final call for Interseminars faculty proposals has closed. The information posted here is for reference.

Tenure-stream faculty in the humanities and arts, what would you do with the opportunity to:

  • have the time and resources to explore ideas/projects with other scholars beyond the limits of existing campus structures and funding?
  • change the culture/practices of interdisciplinary research and teaching?
  • shift the lines between research and teaching?
  • team teach an interdisciplinary graduate seminar with faculty from other departments and fields?
  • work with a cohort of funded graduate students from diverse backgrounds and fields?
  • transform a reading group into a funded interdisciplinary research project with other faculty and graduate students?
  • collaborate with other faculty and graduate students on a conference, exhibition, or public performance in your research area?

The Interseminars Initiative provides funding and administrative infrastructure for collaborative teaching, extended interdisciplinary inquiry, and public- and community-facing research in the humanities and arts. This initiative aims to build communities of inquiry around emerging research directions and to promote the value of heterogeneity and access in graduate education in the humanities and arts. The Interseminars initiative encourages projects that center students from populations historically underrepresented in graduate education and that advance diverse ideas, perspectives, and experiences.

In its third and final round, Interseminars will fund an 18-month interdisciplinary project that will provide course releases and summer funding for 2-3 faculty coordinators, up to eight graduate fellowships, and programming funds for a public- and/or community-facing culminating event (such as a conference, exhibit, or performance). We invite proposals for projects that will take place from fall 2024 to fall 2025.

First two Interseminars Cohorts

The inaugural Interseminars project is in progress. You can read about the project and follow their work on the Inquiry blog.

The second Interseminars project was announced. Learn more about the Interseminars 2 graduate students.

Interseminars Informal Faculty Collaborator Network

Looking for potential collaborators for an Interseminars proposal? You may enter your contact information and research interests in this shared Google doc.

Info Session

Did you miss one of our info sessions? You can watch a video of the March 2023 info session below.


Proposals must include a minimum of two (and up to three) tenure-stream faculty from the Urbana- Champaign campus representing at least two different disciplines or interdisciplines in the arts and humanities. Faculty members may participate in only one proposal each. Preference will be given to projects that include faculty conveners from at least two different academic units. We encourage applicants to consider diversity across disciplines and faculty ranks.

All faculty must commit to being available for the entire term of the project. Faculty members who will be on sabbatical during the 2024–2025 academic year or during the fall 2025 semester are not eligible to participate.

Once a project is selected, the faculty conveners and two members of the Interseminars Steering Committee will use an open call to select a cohort of up to eight graduate students currently enrolled in participating arts and humanities PhD, DMA, and MFA programs at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Students must be taking coursework during the 2024–25 academic year to be eligible. The selection process will be facilitated by the HRI Interseminars Project Coordinator and will be completed by December 15, 2023.


    Award Details

    Each Interseminars award will provide:

    Faculty support:

    • Opportunities for up to three tenure-stream faculty to help design and participate in an Interseminars methods seminar in Fall 2024 and to design and team-teach their Interseminars theme-based course in Spring 2025. To enable participation in the Interseminars courses, each faculty member will be released from one course in fall and one course in spring in their home unit—to be replaced by the Interseminars co-taught seminar each semester. The department providing each release will receive an administrative allowance of $21,000 per course (up to a total of $42,000) as a result of the faculty member’s participation in the Interseminars initiative. In the case of faculty holding a dual percentage (joint) appointment, the distribution of funds will be determined upon award.
    • Research funds of $8,000 per summer for each faculty convener (for a total of $16,000 per faculty member).

    Graduate student support:

    • Fellowships of $25,000 for up to eight graduate students in a participating arts and humanities degree program (MFA, PhD, or DMA) for the 2024-2025 academic year.1
    • A summer fellowship of $5,000 per graduate student fellow per summer for two years (2024 and 2025).
    • Research funds of $2,250 per student (which can be used for travel, books, and other research-related expenses).

    Project programming funds:

    • Up to $15,000 per semester for visiting speakers and programming in conjunction with the proposed Interseminar course in Fall 2024 and Spring 2025 (up to $30,000 for the year).
    • Up to $25,000 for the culminating event (such as an exhibition, performance, or conference) in fall 2025.


    1These fellowships include a waiver of full tuition, service fee, AFMA fee, and library fee. In addition, the University provides payment of the health service fee, basic dental and vision coverage, and partial payment of the graduate student health insurance fee per semester. While all graduate students’ situations are different, this fellowship is meant to obviate the need for other graduate appointments, such as fellowship, teaching assistantship, research assistantship, or hourly positions, during the term they are being supported by an Interseminars fellowship.

    Responsibilities and Duties

    Reporting, Archiving, and Assessment

    Each project's faculty conveners will be required to submit a mid-project report of activities by January 2025 and a final project report of activities by December 2026. These reports are not only pragmatic documents regarding the project's progress, but also intellectual resources, functioning as an important archive for future interdisciplinary initiatives in graduate education.

    In consultation with the Project Coordinator and Interseminars Steering Committee, faculty conveners will participate in developing evaluations of the broader Interseminars experience within two months of the end of the Interseminars project.

    Time Commitment

    Each Interseminars project will be required to adhere to the following timeline: 

    • September 15, 2023–May 15, 2024: Faculty conveners revise the graduate student call for applications, select graduate fellows, and plan the fall 2024 course.
    • Summer I (2024): The Interseminar project collective (faculty and graduate students) meets for one week in workshop format to establish shared interests and approaches; build a sense of intellectual community; develop plans for a semester-long course, which graduate students will help co-design; and set shared goals for summer research.
    • Fall I (2024): Faculty conveners teach a graduate seminar on interdisciplinarity and collaborative research in the humanities and arts and related topics. The design of this course will be shared by the faculty conveners, the Interseminars Steering Committee, and the Project Coordinator. Interseminar Graduate Fellows will enroll for credit.
    • Spring (2025): Faculty conveners team-teach their theme-based graduate seminar, which is taken for credit by Interseminar graduate fellows. A budget for the project's culminating (Fall 2025) event will be required by March 1.
    • Summer II (2025): The Interseminar project collective meets for (at least) one week in workshop format to pursue either (a) development of research for publication or other forms of dissemination based on the Interseminar course; or (b) development of pedagogical models for interdisciplinary teaching based on their Interseminars project. Plans for the fall culminating event should be finalized by July 1.
    • Fall II (2025): The Interseminar project collective presents a public- and/or community-facing collaborative culminating event or project (such as an exhibition, a performance, a symposium, or other event).

    Application Guidelines

    1. Proposal narrative (no more than 2000 words; Please use template). The narrative should provide:

    • description of the proposed topic, providing the intellectual rationale for the proposed project theme and methodology;
    • an explanation of how the project draws on faculty expertise and how graduate students will participate in planning design of the project’s courses and events;
    • plan for recruiting and mentoring historically underrepresented graduate students;
    • provisional course description for spring interdisciplinary graduate seminar (including course rubrics and numbers);
    • plan for assessment of project impact, including methods of assessment and timeline for documenting assessment.               

    2. 2-page c.v. for each faculty convener.

    3. A draft of a call for applications for graduate student fellows for the proposed project (1 page). Call should reflect the full 18-month experience of the Interseminars project and should center graduate students from historically underrepresented groups. The draft graduate CFP should also include a proposed date and time for the fall 2024 and spring 2025 weekly seminar, upon which all conveners agree.

    4. A list of 4–7 prospective visiting speakers (scholars, artists, activists) to invite for a public lecture and in-class workshop.

    5. Approval from the executive officer(s) of each faculty convener's department/academic unit(s) or the appropriate budgetary decision-maker from the faculty convener's unit. (Please use EO form; open in Adobe Acrobat for a fillable form.) The executive officer agrees to: release the faculty member from one course in fall 2024 and one course in spring 2025; offer the proposed course for credit under the proposed rubric(s); and acknowledge that the department will receive funds that will help offset expenses incurred as a result of the faculty member’s participation in the Interseminars initiative.

    Completed proposals must be submitted as a single PDF file in our online form by September 1, 2023. Notification of awards will be made by September 30, 2023.

    Selection Criteria

    Proposals will undergo peer review by the Interseminars Steering Committee. Proposals will be evaluated according to the following criteria: intellectual significance; clarity of the proposed project design; contribution to interdisciplinarity; commitment to diversity, including plan for recruiting and mentoring underrepresented graduate students; feasibility; and the potential impact on the future of interdisciplinary graduate education.


    Notification of awards will be made in by September 30, 2023.


    Read more information about the Interseminars initiative. Direct questions to the Interseminars account.