Summer Institute in the Arts and Humanities

The University of Washington's Summer Institute in the Arts and Humanities offers students financial support and a platform for exploration in the arts and humanities.

About the Summer Institute

The Summer Institute in the Arts and Humanities (SIAH) offers an opportunity for undergraduates to engage in scholarly research with accomplished scholars and peers while earning full-time academic credit. This scholarly experience occurs in the context of seminars and tutorial-style lessons with faculty who offer expertise from disciplinary and interdisciplinary points of view in a space that encourages mutual learning with peers as well as independent thought.
Student participants develop individual, original research ideas related to an interdisciplinary theme, create a scholarly research paper or project, work through a faculty and peer critique process and formally present their work at a closing symposium.

SIAH Mission

The institute was created by the Office of Undergraduate Research in collaboration with the Simpson Center for the Humanities to provide an intensive research opportunity for arts and humanities students that…

  • Increases the number of undergraduates doing research in the humanities

  • Engages humanities and arts faculty in research with undergraduates

  • Establishes a community of undergraduate arts and humanities scholars

  • Creates a forum for humanities undergraduates to present their scholarly work

UW Faculty on the Summer Institute

The following is an excerpt from the closing remarks for the 2005 UW Summer Symposium in the Arts and Humanities.
Words by Phillip Thurtle (Professor, Comparative History of Ideas, University of Washington).

Thursday, August 11, 2005

I’m proud to work at a university that values undergraduate research in the arts and humanities. At most universities, when research opportunities arise for students they are typically in the sciences. Because of this, many of us don’t know what undergraduate research in the humanities looks like. This is a shame because research in the arts and humanities has different goals, different outcomes, places different demands on students, and offers different types of opportunities for those who undertake and witness it. As our society becomes increasingly oriented to the awesome power of the sciences it becomes more important, not less, to encourage research in the humanities amongst our students.

So what does research in the arts and humanities offer?

This question is at once easy to answer and hard to convey the full importance of. For me, original research changes lives. The best research touches us, even draws us into a new ways of inhabiting our world, and makes the world and us larger. In the theme of this year’s summer institute, original research can take a world that has become commonplace and make it strangely new again. It does this by supplying novel explanatory frameworks. It does this by pointing to new and special occurrences that we might not have noticed. And it can do this by revealing new patterns in how the world itself is organized. Once it does this, however, an amazing thing occurs. The research opens up new concepts, territories, and spaces for explorations. If I can steal a theme from Comparative History of Ideas student Jennifer Stuller’s presentation, if magic is creating something from nothing, then what you have witnessed today is a little bit of magic.
The magic of research in the arts and humanities focuses the big issues of life and make them perceivable, even personal. In doing so, it transforms those who are willing and able to be touched by it.

The Summer Institute in the Arts and Humanities at the University of Washington is sponsored by