Smart Scholars Program
For the 2020–2021 academic year, Smart Museum staff will work with selected Smart Scholars to ensure the realization of their projects remotely by providing accommodations where possible.
Posted August 12, 2020
Call for Proposals
The Smart Museum of Art supports excellence in undergraduate education at the University of Chicago by expanding opportunities for object-centered inquiry. The Smart Scholars Program is designed to foster an expanded range of scholarly and creative expressions for undergraduate researchers interested in the visual arts. This program supports research opportunities at the Smart Museum of Art resulting in an original creative work (such as visual art, music, dance, writing, etc.), program, or scholarly essay. Students propose their own projects grounded in academic research into one or more objects in the Museum’s collection. For example, this research can propose utilizing library, database, archive, conservation, materials science laboratory, or another museum’s resources to pursue the realization of the proposed project.
Successful proposals will be awarded a $4,500 stipend distributed over the course of the academic year. A limited amount of additional funding may be available for expenses related to project documentation, technology, supplies, travel, etc. If your proposal is selected for the Smart Scholars Program, your assigned mentor will work with you early on in your project to help you identify whether additional funding is needed. If you and your mentor determine that additional funding is needed, a budget document with cost justifications will be required for review and approval by no later than the end of the fall quarter 2020.
You can read about projects completed by Smart Scholars last year elsewhere on the Smart Museum of Art’s website. As we anticipate working remotely for the majority of this academic year, Smart Museum staff will work with you, if selected as a Smart Scholar, to ensure the realization of your project remotely by providing accommodations where possible.
- Academic research into one or more objects in the collection of the Smart Museum of Art. For example, this research can propose utilizing library, database, archive, conservation, materials science laboratory, or another museum’s resources to pursue the realization of the proposed project.
- Regular meetings with a mentor from any of the Smart Museum’s departments (to be assigned).
- Successful completion of the proposed project.
- Position can be configured for remote working, as circumstances require.
- Undergraduate student in good standing at the University of Chicago in any major
- Must have already completed at least one full year of undergraduate studies at the University of Chicago
- Must be a registered student at the University of Chicago for the current academic year
Excellent research and communication skills, time management skills, and some training or experience in the proposed area (medium of proposed creative work, program, scholarly essay, etc.). It is helpful if applicants have already completed an introductory Art History course, but this is not a requirement.
Skills that will be Gained from this Experience
Smart Scholars will experience the creative and intellectual satisfaction of seeing their research into works of art come to fruition in a public forum through display, readings, performance, or other activities.
There is some flexibility in beginning and end dates of the project, but it is expected that Smart Scholars will spend the majority of the current academic year working on their proposed project at a rate of approximately 10 hours per week. This will naturally fluctuate from week to week. Smart Museum staff will work with students individually on project scheduling and hours per week in a way that meets the needs of each unique project. Students accepted into the Smart Scholars Program this year will be required to prepare a work schedule for the duration of their project and share that with their assigned mentor. It is important to keep the year-long term of the academic calendar in mind when crafting your project proposal. As noted above, there will need to be a certain amount of flexibility between working on your project remotely vs. on-site at the museum or elsewhere due to the COVID-19 pandemic (please also take this into consideration when crafting your proposal). As we anticipate working remotely for the majority of this academic year, Smart Museum staff will work with you, if selected as a Smart Scholar, to ensure the realization of your project remotely by providing accommodations where possible.
Successful proposals will be awarded a $4,500 stipend distributed over the course of the academic year
(1) Resume or CV (Curriculum Vitae)
(2) Unofficial transcript (please download an unofficial copy from the Registrar’s office; do not submit a screen shot of your myuchicago page)
(3) 350-word project proposal, including:
(a) Identification of one or more focal works from the Smart Museum of Art’s collection
(b) Description of work to result from research: creative work (such as visual art, music, dance, writing), program, scholarly essay, etc.
(c) Identification and description of any resources needed to complete research and resulting project, if applicable
(d) Please use the contact information below if you have questions about what to include or not include in your proposal narrative (as you craft your proposal, please read about projects completed by Smart Scholars last year on the Smart Museum of Art’s website)
E-mail your completed application packet (items listed above in the “Application requirements” section) as a single PDF document to Aaron Wilder, Academic Engagement Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Application review will begin on September 18, 2020 (review and selection on a rolling basis). Candidates will undergo a thorough review by Smart Museum of Art staff and finalists will be invited to interview.
If you have questions about the application process or would like to discuss your ideas as you are developing your project proposal, contact Aaron Wilder, Academic Engagement Coordinator, email@example.com.
Smart Scholars is an initiative of the Smart Museum of Art’s Feitler Center for Academic Inquiry made possible in part by generous funding from the Smart Family Foundation of New York. Additional support has been provided by the University of Chicago’s College Center for Research & Fellowships (CCRF).