On-Water Intensive Community River Fellows

Call for Applications

Due April 1, 2018

Notifications by April 20, 2018


The Penn Program in Environmental Humanities (PPEH) at the University of Pennsylvania invites applications for up to four Community River Fellowships for the Schuylkill River and Urban Waters Research Corps’ June On-Water Intensive. We seek applicants (including artists, activists, community organizers, designers, educators, filmmakers, scientists, and/or self-identified tidal Schuylkill enthusiasts) whose interests and experiences align with the pursuit of advocacy, scholarship, and engagement related to urban waterways. Candidates applying to be Community River Fellows must not be currently affiliated as students, staff, or faculty at the University of Pennsylvania.

Founded in April 2016, the Schuylkill River and Urban Waters Corps is an informal collective of academic, non-profit, civic and community organizations. The Schuylkill Corps organizes a public, cooperative interdisciplinary Research Seminar, co-convened by Peter DeCarlo (Drexel), Danielle Redden (Bartram's Garden), and Bethany Wiggin (Penn). The Seminar meets twice monthly during the school year. In June 2018, the Corps will offer its first On-Water Intensive Research Seminar, open by application to college students and community members at large. It will be collaboratively taught by faculty from the sciences, arts, and humanities. Led by environmental scientist DeCarlo and historian Wiggin, additional confirmed instructors include Jacob Rivkin (Penn), David Velinsky (Drexel), and Roland Wall (Academy of Natural Sciences). Enrollment is capped at 18.

The June On-Water Intensive explores the river through four interdisciplinary lenses and sets of questions, guided by experts in relevant fields:

  • The Anthropocene, the geologic era following the Holocene, as made and experienced from the tidal Schuylkill

  • Environmental history and science at the confluence of the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers

  • Management and governance of the river, including its human and more than human populations

  • Arts-driven inquiry into the tidal river’s past and future

Mini-lectures, collaborative experiments, and civic dialogues introduce and elaborate each topic; assignments generate possibilities and opportunities for analytical, critical, and creative work along, on, or in the water itself. Prior boating experience is not necessary, however all applicants should be able to swim.

The intensive will meet in mobile, on-water classrooms (on floats, wooden boats, kayaks, and motorized launches) as well as in workspaces on land in University City, Bartram’s Garden, and the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge. Students receive intensive mentoring by the seminar instructors and collaborate closely with one another to develop their own final interdisciplinary projects. Together we will produce final projects that could potentially become part of a public curriculum of educational materials and creative arts-science experiments designed for continued river engagement, historical and environmental literacy, and stewardship.

The Fellowship carries an award of $1,000. Fellows will be expected to attend each day of the Intensive in full, review orientation materials, and produce a culminating report and final project.

Application Instructions:

Requirements for this application:

  • Cover Letter including a Statement of Interest

  • CV or Resume

  • Names and Contact Information for two Relevant References

Submission Instructions:

  • Application materials must be collated into a single PDF and emailed by April 1, 2018 to director@ppehlab.org