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Call for Applications for Works in Progress: A Meeting for Middle Tennessee Public Historians

The Robert Penn Warren Center invites community members undertaking works of Middle Tennessee public history to share their projects and move them forward at an upcoming meeting on March 2, 2024 for accepted applicants.

Recognizing the institutional challenges that public historians face, the gathering will open up a welcoming and supportive space for collaboration and give participants access to Vanderbilt’s extensive library holdings for a fixed term (ninety days) after the conclusion of the programming. Each participant will present for five minutes about the scope and progress of their research and the barriers they face as independent historians.

Drawing upon their editorial experience working with Vanderbilt University Press on the community-authored book I’ll Take You There, Professors Learotha Williams and Amie Thurber will advise participants on the nuts and bolts of historical research. They will offer attendees thoughts on best practices for ethical research methods, facilitate discussions, and offers strategies for resource-sharing.

Presentations also include a discussion from VU Librarian Bobby Smiley on accessing the vast resources and collections available through VUL. John Bradley of the Writing Studio will discuss writing and tailoring projects for different audiences. Gianna Mosser of VU Press will give advice on approaching publishers and finding collaborators to strengthen your project’s impact.

Eligibility: Anyone developing a historical research project focused on the Middle Tennessee region. This could be a book manuscript, an oral history archive, or other multimedia collection.

Application Process: Submit your application to the RPW center ( between October 15 and December 11. The conference is limited to 20 participants, who will be notified of acceptance no later than December 15.

Application Details:

  • Resume/bio/CV
  • A project abstract of 300 words describing the scope and goals of the research project
  • Describe current barriers to your public history work and how this conference could help move your manuscript forward.
  • 1–2 published book titles or finished examples that serve as a model inspiration for your project.
  • A working table of contents or overview/summary for the project if available.

Co-sponsored by the RPW Center’s Harry C. Howard Jr. Lecture and Vanderbilt University Press