Public Scholars Program

Because public policies reflect the values and aspirations of a city, community, or national culture, we must increase the availability of rigorous academic scholarship on the impact of arts and creativity. Curb’s Public Scholars Program engages arts and cultural leaders in dialogue around specific issues to generate research questions that decision makers find useful.

As part of our mission to advance the standing of creative and cultural expression in generating innovative approaches to real-world problems, the Curb Public Scholars program supports graduate students in finding ways that their research can have an impact beyond the academy. The program facilitates initiatives that explore creative ways to implement research findings, develop evidence-based public policies, and transform academic work into publicly available resources.

Public Scholars receive grants of up to $2000 in research funds, shared office space in the Curb Center, and mentorship from Curb Center faculty. Graduate students may propose projects that apply arts or creative expression to an issue raised by their dissertation or other research to engage a public audience. Recipients of these grants meet with local and national leaders as well as fellow scholars regularly throughout the academic year; develop and deliver materials that advance understanding, application, or the impact of the student’s research on community life; and reflect on the outcomes of that development in a final symposium.

A call for applications for the 2018-19 academic year will go out to all Vanderbilt Directors of Graduate Studies, and will be posted on this page, in February 2018. If you have any questions and/or would like to be added to our mailing list to receive application materials in the spring, please contact Mindy Kessler, at 615.322.2840 or