Humanities Out There was founded in 1997 by Professor of English Julia Lupton as an education partnership between UCI’s School of Humanities and the Santa Ana Unified School District. With funding from GEAR UP Santa Ana and a National Endowment of the Humanities grant, UC Irvine Humanities graduate students collaborated with K-12 teachers and university faculty consultants to develop and revise lessons for publication. The curricula have been distributed to teachers throughout California and the nation.
In 2015, Humanities Out There was relaunched by Humanities Commons (now the Humanities Center)—the UCI School of Humanities’ research hub for faculty and graduate students—under the leadership of Julia Lupton and Amanda Jeanne Swain. In its current form, H.O.T. forms partnerships with local arts and cultural institutions to serve and engage with the public through its undergraduate and graduate internship programs.
Lucena Lau Valle (PhD Visual Studies), served as the inaugural Humanities Out There Teaching Fellow, supervising the H.O.T. Practicum from 2015-2017. Alden Sajor Marte-Wood (PhD English) was the Teaching Fellow for 2017-2019. Miguel Ramon is the current Teaching Fellow for 2019-2020.
Funded by individual donations and a $50,000 grant from the Luce Foundation, the Graduate Public Fellows Program sent its first six Humanities PhD students “out there” in 2016. These graduate students held 20-week internships at such cultural institutions as Laguna Art Museum, Orange County Parks, PBS SoCal, South Coast Repertory Theater, and Viet Film Festival. The list of partnering institutions has grown to include the Bowers Museum, Heritage Museum of Orange County, and Los Angeles Review of Books, among others. Upon completion of their internships, Public Fellows share their experience at an Open House event at UCI.