Call for Proposals: Summer 2023 Story+ Projects

Story+ logo: a word bubble with the word Story+ inside

Deadline: December 5, 2022

Deadline for applications is December 5, 2022 at 5:00 pm. We anticipate announcing selected teams in early January.

Story+ is a 6-week summer program that immerses interdisciplinary teams of students, faculty, and staff in arts and humanities research and public storytelling. Story+ promotes inquiry-based learning and vertically integrated collaboration through projects that may be driven by archival research, oral history, textual analysis, visual analysis, cultural criticism, art, or other humanistic research methods. Small teams of undergraduates, supervised regularly by graduate student project managers, collaborate on focused projects that contribute to the broader research, teaching, scholarly communications, and/or public engagement agendas of sponsors such as Duke faculty, Duke librarians, non-profit organizations, and other University or non-University entities. Story+ final products have taken the form of a variety of written content, museum/gallery/library exhibits, websites, annotated archives, short films/videos, curricula, podcasts, social media content, and other genres.  

A typical Story+ team consists of a project sponsor, a project manager (MA, MFA or PhD student), and three undergraduate project researchers. Story+ provides funding for undergraduate and graduate students so that they can dedicate time and attention to six weeks of project work.  

With mentorship from sponsors, project managers, and Story+ infrastructures, undergraduate students learn how to conduct rigorous interpretive research in a team setting, connect academic knowledge to broader social issues, and communicate their research for diverse audiences in a complex media environment. Graduate students get the distinctive pedagogical and professional opportunity to manage complex collaborative projects, mentor undergraduates, and facilitate the networks of relationships that such projects require. Project sponsors benefit from the opportunity to engage a dedicated team of students and the scholarly resources of Duke to begin a new project, shift an existing project into its next phase, or bring a project into completion with an eye towards engaging a broader audience. All participants benefit from the opportunity to try out new ideas and methods among a supportive, creative community of colleagues.

Call for Proposals: Story+ 2023

For summer 2023, we anticipate selecting up to 6 teams. As has been our practice, all proposals will be reviewed by a committee composed of program co-directors, FHI support staff, Library staff, past graduate student mentors, and previous project sponsors.

While we have found benefits to remote research work and might return to offering programs with this option in the future, we do not anticipate teams working remotely this year. Therefore all project proposals should anticipate a full return to on-site engagement for summer 2023.

What have Story+ Teams Done?

Outcomes of past Story+ teams have ranged from “finished products” (e.g., a completed curatorial plan, a physical exhibit, or a published research report), “prototypesor pilot projects (e.g., a prototype online teaching module or a proof-of-concept audio podcast), as well as preliminary, exploratory research that contributes to a larger ongoing project (e.g., oral histories, translation, transcription, or archival discovery). As possible points of reference, please see our Story+ website for descriptions and outcomes from previous teams. While we value products, we also encourage participation by those committed to experimenting with novel processes of research. In particular, we recognize that team-based approaches may be new to some, and we want to work with you to explore how such an approach might enhance your work.

What Are the Objectives of Story+?

Our primary objectives are to enable teams to conduct rigorous, hands-on arts/humanities research, to facilitate collaborative and creative research transmission, and to promote community, inclusion, and care as humanistic modes of work.

We recognize that most undergraduate applicants will be new to research outside the classroom and/or to team-based research specifically. Story+ “Central” works collaboratively with project sponsors and project managers to cultivate week-to-week and overarching workflows that also teach independent and rigorous research practices.

What Time Commitment Should Project Sponsors Expect?

Project sponsors should plan to be accessible to their teams on at least a weekly basis and are expected to be regularly available to collaborate with their full team. The most successful of our projects have been those with sponsors who have clearly articulated goals for their own engagement with the teams and who identify key components of responsibility for project managers and work with them to amend/expand those plans as the work evolves.

We have articulated a Story+ Policies and Expectations for Story+ Team Leaders, which you should find helpful as you draft your proposal.

Please submit proposals via Qualtrics, at

by December 5, 2022 at 5:00 pm.  

The Qualtrics application form asks for the following components: 

  1. Brief description of the overall project planned to be on-site at Duke campus for the full six-weeks of work (May 17-June 30). Think of this as the short abstract we might use to advertise the team to prospective student applicants. (250 words)
  2. Description of the specific project goal(s) and output(s) you hope to accomplish through Story+. Please address how Story+ goals (providing a rich arts/humanities team-based research and public storytelling experience for graduates and undergraduates) align with your project goals.
  3. A basic timeline (approximately May 17 to June 30) of project milestones, proposed team-based processes, desired outcome(s), and how/why this work is important to your research/your unit/your organization. 
  4. A tentative six-week work plan. This might include a sketch of methods, methodologies, weekly schedule, opportunities for students, campus/community partners who might collaborate, post-Story+ afterlives of the work. 
  5. List of essential skills undergraduates will need to contribute to the project. The more specific you can be, the better. We return to these details when constructing our call for applicants. (Please note that, while you can encourage particular undergraduates to apply and they have the opportunity to rank your project as their first choice, all undergraduate applicants will be placed in a general pool for consideration across projects.)
  6. List of skills or technologies you believe your project will need beyond those brought by students. If you can provide training or access to these skills and technologies, please indicate that here. If you cannot, please suggest pathways for acquisition, if you know of online or campus resources. If you don’t know where to access them, let us know that also. This information will help us plan how best to support each team’s work as well as possibilities of shared training sessions across teams.
  7. The name(s) of any specific graduate students you have in mind for the role of your project manager? If you do not have a specific student in mind, please list essential skills or disciplinary knowledge you would like your project manager to have. We have had Master’s students and Doctoral students fill this role with success.
  8. Any funding from external sources or other Duke units that you plan to engage to support the work of the team. This can be for additional graduate or undergraduate team participants, to support away-from-campus field trips, or fund visitors to campus for team consults.

Story+ is funded by Together Duke and administered by the Franklin Humanities Institute in conjunction with Bass Connections, with additional support from the Duke Libraries. 

Associated Program(s)