Podcasting the Humanities: Creating Digital Stories for the Public

National Humanities Center Regional Institute for Graduate Students

June 15–19, 2020 at the Digital Humanities Center, San Diego State University

Podcasting has become a common form of storytelling in the digital and social media age. This five-day institute will provide hands-on training for PhD students in the humanities to translate research, commentary, and community-sourced narratives into podcast episodes.

Working in cross-disciplinary and intra-university teams, participants will learn how to storyboard an idea, to create and collect audio content, and to edit their narrative into an entertaining, powerful podcast. All equipment will be provided, and technical support will be given throughout the week.


The program seeks to:

  • Advance the democratic commitments of the professional humanities by inculcating in emerging humanities scholars a sense of responsibility to the human experience of diverse American publics.
  • Foster new models of expertise that are responsive both to the traditional authority-based credentialing systems of the professional humanities and to the emerging concerns of university-based and public constituencies.
  • Grow capacity for collaborative—team, interdisciplinary, cross-university—scholarship.
  • Extend the potential of the professional humanities to curate archives of human experience in a way that adds depth and understanding to contemporary public affairs and cultural conversations.

Participants will:

  • Forge new intellectual connections between public life, humanities research, and responsive, digital media.
  • Deepen collaborative inquiry and project management skills.
  • Hone their ability to communicate humanities expertise in accessible and publicly-responsive formats.
  • Acquire conceptual and technical skills to create, revise, and publish broadcast-ready podcasts.
  • Develop skills and networks valuable within and beyond the university.

Keynote Speaker

Barry Lam
Barry Lam, associate professor of philosophy at Vassar College and creator of the popular, award-winning podcast series Hi Phi Nation, will frame the week by sharing his journey from research to podcast.

San Diego State University

Application Process

This institute is limited to 30 participants who are currently PhD students in a humanities discipline.

Students are nominated into the program by their home institution. The National Humanities Center will accept up to two (2) students per partner institution. NHC staff work with university representatives to develop recruiting materials, including an orientation meeting with faculty and students. This program quickly reaches capacity, so participating institutions are encouraged to indicate their interest and submit applications as soon as the application portal is opened each year.

Once selected, students will work with NHC staff to finalize travel plans, complete all required paperwork, and prepare for the residency program. Students will also participate in a short welcome orientation video conference and receive a detailed syllabus.

The tuition cost per participant is $2,400, which includes housing for participants from outside the San Diego area. Tuition covers all programming, including equipment and materials, housing, and meals. Each student will also receive a $500 stipend.

Next Steps and Timeline

  • December 2, 2019: Registration opens for universities to reserve up to two seats. This commitment does not require student nominations—just reserves the space.
  • April 10, 2020: University partners submit nominations for up to two current humanities PhD students for a position in the residency program.
  • April 13, 2020: The NHC will establish contact with participants, schedule a video orientation, and share expectations and a syllabus.

Commitment Form

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