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Institute for Social Change

The Institute for Social Change will pause for 2024. In its place will be a two-day workshop for graduate students to connect and develop their skills in public scholarship with staff from Imagining America. The workshop will be held at Rackham on May 15 and 16, 2024.

Graduate Public Scholars Creating Culture, Catalyzing Change

  • Dates: May 15 and 16, 2024
  • Time: 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. each day
  • Location: Rackham Graduate School

During this two-day workshop, Imagining America (IA) staff will create space for graduate student co-learning at the critical intersections of public scholarship, cultural organizing, and institutional change in higher education.

Facilitators will share key findings from an IA action research project that interviewed change-oriented administrators, graduate students, and community-based culture keepers about barriers and opportunities for public scholars. Building on the research findings, IA created two pedagogic tools to support reflection and action for public scholars and community-based research partners: the IA Public Scholar Conversation Cards and the Organizing Culture Change Public Scholar Imagination Guide. The card deck encourages public scholars to consider why their work matters and how it challenges academic culture and produces critical knowledge to tackle pressing public issues. The guide provides a variety of reflection and action activities for anyone trying to improve their own practice and for those interested in making the university a more hospitable, caring, and creative place to nurture public, engaged, and activist scholarship, artmaking, and design.

Through facilitated conversations, peer sharing, and play, participants will develop a more expansive understanding of what kinds of knowledge matters and how to nurture supportive relationships and environments for public scholars to thrive.

Each workshop participant will receive copies of the card deck and workbook.


  • Connect with peers in a supportive and collaborative space to imagine possibilities for connecting your scholarly and/or intellectual interests to community needs and the greater public good
  • Build a sense of connection and community among a cohort of students interested in public scholarship
  • Articulate personal sense of purpose and motivation for engaging in public scholarship
  • Reflect on challenges and opportunities related to doing public scholarship inside and outside the academy
  • Learn about diverse modes of publicly engaged scholarship through research sharing and reflection activities that explore the practical and theoretical dimensions of publicly engaged work in a variety of professional, community, and organizational contexts
  • Become more familiar with the resources and support available for graduate students in public scholarship at the University of Michigan and beyond


Students in any Rackham graduate program are eligible to apply and participate.

Application and Deadline

Students must apply to participate by completing a short application demonstrating their interest and motivation for participating. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until May 1.

About IA

The Imagining America consortium (IA) brings together scholars, artists, designers, humanists, and organizers to imagine, study, and enact a more just and liberatory ‘America’ and world. Working across institutional, disciplinary, and community divides, IA strengthens and promotes public scholarship, cultural organizing, and campus change that inspires collective imagination, knowledge-making, and civic action on pressing public issues.

Contact the Program in Public Scholarship

1530 Rackham Building
915 E. Washington St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1070
Email: [email protected]


The Program in Public Scholarship is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The office is closed Saturdays and Sundays and on the following holidays: Thanksgiving (Thursday and the following Friday), Christmas through New Year’s, Memorial Day, Independence Day (July 4), and Labor Day.