Humanities Institute

Humanities Institute and Institute for Urban Policy Research and Analysis (IUPRA) Community Fellows Program


Community Sabbatical Roundtable 2018
Community Sabbatical Roundtable 2018

The Humanities Institute is proud to expand our groundbreaking program that supports community-based research and intellectual work in the Austin non-profit community. Formerly called the Community Sabbatical Research Grant, the program is now called the HI and IUPRA Community Fellows program in recognition of our new partnership with The Institute for Urban Policy Research and Analysis (IUPRA). 

Founded by the Humanities Institute in 2005, the Community Fellows Program enables professionals in the non-profit sector to enhance and develop their skills and knowledge in order to better serve their organizations and communities.


In our new partnership with IUPRA, the Fellows program will include two tracks: As in the past, the Humanities Institute Community Fellows program addresses a problem that many directors and professional staff of non-profit organizations confront: a lack of time to reflect on broad, long-term issues in the face of on-going daily demands. The program responds to this dilemma by helping non-profit leaders carve out time and intellectual space for reflection, collaborative research, and community discussion about a question or issue that Fellows are seeking to resolve for their organization and those it serves. HI Community Fellowships have been granted to leaders of organizations devoted to arts and literacy, education and youth development, and health and social services.  

The IUPRA Community Fellows program focuses on applying an equity lens to research and policy. The fellowship is designed to support individuals as they refine their skills, capabilities, and perspectives to study inequity.  Fellows will collaborate with a UT faculty member to pursue a project designed to affect social and economic equity outcomes for their organization via policy.


All Community Fellows are matched with a University faculty member with related interests who provides assistance on the Fellow’s project. Fellows also receive a $5000 fellowship and access to UT libraries and databases. 

Professor Namkee Choi and 2019 Community Sabbatical Grantee, K.C. Lawrence

Professor Namkee Choi and K.C. Lawrence (AGE of Central Texas), 2019 Community Fellow.

Approximately two HI Community Fellowships and one IUPRA Community Fellowship are awarded per year. More than thirty local organizations have benefited from Community Fellows support, including the Austin Public Library Friends Foundation, Capital IDEA, Foundation Communities, Safe Place, Texas After Violence Project, and Texas Folklife. In addition to supporting the Fellows projects, the program provides an opportunity for non-profit professionals to network with each other.  See our Press Page to learn more about how the Community Fellow program has been featured in the press.

For more information, please contact the Humanities Institute at (512) 471-9056 or If you are interested in applying to be a Community Fellow and would like to understand the kind of research projects this program supports, please make sure to review the descriptions of the currently funded projects below, as well as previously funded research projects under "Past Fellows and Projects." Prospective applicants are also welcome to submit a one-page proposal abstract up to two weeks before the grant deadline to receive feedback about whether the proposed project is appropriate for a Community Fellow and how to strengthen the proposal prior to submission.


2020-2021 Community Fellows

Dr. Travis Marcum, Austin Classical Guitar 
“My Music: From Community to Classroom and Back”

Bonnie Cullum, The VORTEX 
"Towards a Green New Theatre" 

Gina LaMotte, EcoRise
"Strategies for Cultivating Resilience in K-12 Schools, Teachers and Students" 

Lauren Maples, Partners for Education, Agriculture, and Sustainability (a.k.a. PEAS)
"Building a School-Based Model for Eco-Therapy to Help Communities Cope with Emotional Upset Caused by Covid-19"


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    University of Texas at Austin
    Office Address: SAC 4.138
    Mailcode F1900
    Austin, Texas 78712