At a fundamental level, the Woodson Fellowship provides a space, intellectual and physical, for emerging scholars to bring their research to fruition. While this work necessarily happens individually, the Fellows' Annex in Minor Hall provides a dedicated place where fellows can complete this work in community with one another. Over the years, it has become clear that the residential aspect of the program, the camaraderie, the informal conversations, the fellowship, is just as important as the intellectual exchanges and formal mentoring built into the program.
At the beginning of their two-year residencies, the CGWI administrative staff assigns fellows to individual carrels in the Annex, each of which is furnished with a workstation (with iMac computers), a filing cabinet, and ample room for library books. Post-doctoral fellows who have teaching responsibilities during their time at the Institute take up residence in individual offices within the fellows annex.
A brief video tour of the Fellows Workshop space and Fellows' Annex in Minor Hall
The Workshop is the foundation of Fellowship Program because it encourages the kinds of collaborative intellectual exchanges that shape, deepen, and expand an individual's scholarship. The workshop, in practice, yields results. Key to its sucess is: immersion and interdisciplinarity.
Amanda Gibson (2021 Fellowship cohort) speaking about the format of the fellowship workshop
The workshop provides an opportunity for each fellow to receive feedback from a guest interlocutor from their respective field about a dissertation or manuscript chapter. Prior to the workshop, the fellow circulates a chapter of their choosing to all of the fellows in the program, the guest interlocutor, and the Woodson Director and Associate Director. During the workshop itself, the group weighs in on the individual's work in a seminar-style discussion moderated by the guest interlocutor.
These exchanges allow for each individual fellow to gain experience presenting and discussing their work. The experience exposes the larger group to the work of their colleagues in the program, immersing Woodson Fellows in a range of disciplinary perspectives, backgrounds, and methodologies. Time and time again, former Woodson Fellows have stressed the importance of this interdisciplinarity on their resulting research. This is why the workshop is what makes the Woodson fellowship program work.