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.

Each spring, graduate students are invited to propose projects that apply arts or creative expression to an issue raised by their dissertation or other research and designed to engage a public audience.  Scholars are awarded up to $2000, have access to Curb Scholar workspaces, and receive mentorship from Curb-affiliated faculty.  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.

2019-2020 Public Scholars Application Now Available

We are now accepting applications for the 2019-2020 academic year. To be considered for a 2019-2020 Curb Pubic Scholar award, the following materials are due to Kimberly Kane by Monday, April 8, 2019:

  1. A Letter of Interest which includes details about your degree program, advisor, and anticipated graduation date and addresses how participation in the Curb Public Scholars Program will enhance your professional development
  2. Curriculum Vitae
  3. Completed Information Form with Advisor Signature
  4. A 500-word essay, 3-minute video, or 8-page PowerPoint presentation which provides background for your project inspiration, details what the project encompasses, addresses who your public is and how your project could impact this group, and details how the proposed project compliments your thesis project work.
  5. A 150-word preliminary deliverables timeline addressing the project goals and completion dates
  6. A 150-word preliminary budget detailing how funds will be spent over the life of the project

All applications will be reviewed by the Curb Center leadership team, with final decisions communicated to all applicants by April 24, 2019.

If you have any questions about the process please contact Administrative Manager Kimberly Kane (615.322.2872 or

‘Farzana’s Field’ by Linda Peters (oil on canvas) part of 2016-2017 Public Scholar Chelsea Peters Bangladesh water conservation project