The CHI Grad Fellowship Program

Administered by the MSU Department of Anthropology, the Cultural Heritage Informatics Graduate Fellowships offer Michigan State University Graduate students  with the skills and experience to apply digital methods and computational approaches to cultural heritage collections, materials, data, questions, and challenges. 

While fellows will participate in lectures and workshops in order to introduce them to the landscape of issues and approaches in the domain of digital cultural heritage, the organizational focus of the fellowship  (which lasts an academic year) is on the design and development of a significant and innovative digital cultural heritage project.  The fellowship project (which can be developed individually or collaboratively) will be launched at the end of the fellowship. 

The CHI Graduate Fellowship is both applied and experiential, not only asking students to explore and understand the impact that digital methods and computational approaches have on cultural heritage , but providing them with critical skills and opportunities to build digital applications, and experiences. The Fellowship has a strong ethos of openness, thoughtfully arguing for the value of open access, open source, and open data within digital cultural heritage as well as strongly encouraging the use of open source tools, frameworks, and technologies for applied work.

To support their work, fellows will receive a stipend of $2000 per semester. In addition, fellows have the opportunity to receive an additional $1000 to expand their project during the summer.  As the fellows will be expected to present their work at professional conferences and meetings, they will receive an additional $1000 in travel funds. While applicants may have previous technical experience, such experience is not required to apply.

The Cultural Heritage Informatics Fellowship program is generously supported by the Graduate School,  The College of Social SciencesThe College of Arts & LettersThe Department of AnthropologyThe Department of History, and The Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures

Fellowship Projects

The primary goal of the fellowship program is to provide an opportunity for participants to individually or collaboratively develop a significant and innovative digital cultural heritage. Projects might include (but are certainly not limited to) a serious game, a mobile application, a digital archive, or a collaborative digital publication. The project must also have a significant public component. It is very important to note that there is no single mechanism by which fellows will come to these projects. If applicants have an existing idea for a specific project, they are welcome to include that in their application statement. If applicants have an interest in a platform or technology (but no specific project in mind), they are encouraged to include that in their application statement. If fellows do not have a particular project or platform in mind, they will work with members of the Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative in order to define a suitable project.

Responsibilities (2019-2020 Fellowship)

The Cultural Heritage Informatics Grad Fellowship carries the following obligations:

  • All CHI Grad Fellows must attend the weekly meeting on Fridays from 1:30-3pm in LEADR (Old Hort 112) .
  • All CHI Grad Fellows must be in-residence at LEADR for 9-3 each week on Fridays (part of this time will be dedicated to the fellowship program’s weekly group meeting, while the rest of the time will be dedicated to collaborative/communal work between all of the fellows).
  • All CHI Grad Fellows must complete a series of prerequisites (technical tutorials, readings, and exercises) before the beginning of the fellowship in the fall (more on that below).  Failure to complete these prerequisites by 8/26 will result in the fellowship being revoked 
  • All CHI Grad Fellows must write at least 1 substantive blog post per month on the CHI Website
  • All CHI Grad Fellows must submit a project proposal no later than 12/6/2019
  • All CHI Grad Fellows much complete and launch their project by no later than 5/1/2020
  • All CHI Grad Fellows must submit all final reporting materials by 5/4/2020

Those students who are not able to meet these obligations should not apply.


In order to be eligible to apply for a Cultural Heritage Informatics Graduate Fellowship, applicants must:

  • be enrolled and be in good academic standing in a graduate program at Michigan State University (either at the Masters or Doctoral level). A primary focus of the graduate program must be cultural heritage (broadly defined).
  • be enrolled (and remain enrolled) full-time in the year for which they are applying.

Awards will be made to individuals who demonstrate academic achievement, are committed to a career that embraces digital cultural heritage, and show potential to make meaningful contributions in the domain of digital cultural heritage.

How to Apply

Applicants must complete and submit the following materials in order to be considered:

  • A cover letter addressed to the selection committee
  • A current copy of their CV
  • A brief statement (3 pages maximum) discussing the applicantʼs professional and scholarly goals, their interests in cultural heritage informatics (broadly or specifically), and how the fellowship program will contribute to their professional & scholarly development.
  • An unofficial copy of current transcripts
  • A completed Cultural Heritage Informatics Fellowship Application Form 

Please note that incomplete applications will not be considered

Application packages must be submitted electronically in PDF form to:

Ethan Watrall
Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology
Director, Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative
Associate Director, MATRIX: The Center for Digital Humanities and Social Sciences

All questions or inquiries must be directed to Ethan Watrall

2019-2020 Application Deadline

Completed application package for 2019-2020 must be received by 5pm (EST) on May 4, 2018