Can academic work engage the public?

Across the disciplines, academics are rethinking what it means to share their work, to contribute to a changing intellectual and writerly environment, and to continue to produce and publish as public intellectuals, scholars, activists, and teachers. Creative research methods and dissemination have the capacity to engage non-academic publics, appealing to them on affective, narrative, intellectual, or activist registers.

At a time of social and technological change with respect to how information functions and circulates, many scholars are asking: “who are we trying to reach, why, and how?”

The Toronto Humanities at Large Workshop

The Toronto Humanities at Large Workshop is a free 5-day online workshop that will take place May 17-21, 2021. It will be offered online with a morning meeting and time for writing in the afternoons. Each workshop requires full-day commitments, for the full length of the workshop.

Applications open in January. Preference is given to mid-level (Associate) professors and/or who have published a previous book (academic or creative). An ideal candidates would be a scholar who has a clear sense of their project and has done significant research, but who is in the early stages of writing. The workshop is not primarily intended for those who are hoping to adapt an existing academic manuscript.

Please note: the 2021 Workshop was cancelled due to the CAUT Censure of University of Toronto.


Eva-Lynn Jagoe is an Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and Spanish. She is the author of Take Her, She’s Yours, a forthcoming nonfiction memoir, and teaches courses on critical and creative nonfiction. She has been co-organizer of this workshop, as well as of Banff Research in Culture. Gretchen Bakke is a professional editor and writer with extensive experience writing for both academic and non-academic readership. Author of The Grid: The Fraying Wires between Americans and our Energy Future (a 2016 Bill Gates pick) Bakke is currently a Visiting Professor of Anthropology at Humboldt University in Berlin.

Participant Feedback About Previous Workshops

“I got more excited about writing that I have been in quite a while and it really expanded how I am thinking about the goals I have and the craft I want to develop.” “This workshop was the best thing I did all year! […] Nothing we did was not productive.” [The workshop] “exceeded my expectations because I am leaving excited to write and work on this new project.” “I really felt that I learnt so much in such a short amount of time. I have completely changed the way I think about writing and hope that I’m going to put some of the strategies into practice. My allergy to academic writing has become even more pronounced.” “This workshop is a fine example of JHI’s mandate to ‘enable humanities research to reach outside the university walls and engage with the wider public.’ By supporting 15 scholars in their efforts of public engagement not only do you increase the chances of our individual projects reaching the wider public but also we will be bringing our learning back to our home departments and universities so that we can spread the learning to others. THANK YOU!” “It was transformative and eye-opening.”

Contact Eva-Lynn for more information.