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Exploring AI and the humanities: HUMAN Residency Fellowship announced

Front of Krebs Center Krebs Center for the Humanities
June 06, 2024

In partnership with Lake Forest College, Ragdale—Lake Forest’s prominent artist community—has just announced the HUMAN Residency Fellowship.

This fellowship offers a unique opportunity for artists to explore the intersection of the humanities and the domains of artificial intelligence, emphasizing questions of equity and social justice. Ragdale is a major partner with HUMAN and an important destination for artists and authors.

The HUMAN residency is part of the College’s $1.2 million grant from the Mellon Foundation led by Professor of English and Executive Director of the Krebs Center for the Humanities Davis Schneiderman. This multi-year initiative at Lake Forest College explores artificial intelligence from a humanities perspective, equipping students with the skills to ethically integrate AI into their professional lives while emphasizing questions of justice and equity.

The HUMAN Residency Fellowship invites artists from all creative disciplines to submit proposals describing how a residency would support their work in exploring the impact of AI through a humanities lens. The HUMAN Residency curatorial board will review applications and select a cohort of six artists who best address questions about the impact of bias on AI outputs, the influence of dominant historical narratives on current AI technologies, and the ethical considerations for integrating AI into daily human life.

“The HUMAN Residency Fellowship provides a unique opportunity for artists to engage with the critical questions surrounding AI, and to explore how the humanities can inform our understanding of these technologies and their impact on society.”
—Davis Schneiderman, Lake Forest College

The selected artists will participate in an initial six-day themed residency, followed by an individual 18-day residency session scheduled within the three years of the project. The fellowship includes a $1,000 stipend for the initial residency and a $3,000 stipend for the individual residency, along with travel funds. Awardees will also be asked to participate in programs such as panel talks, visiting artist lectures, or workshops at Lake Forest College as part of the residencies and will have their participation feature as part of a culminating AI symposium in 2027.

“This partnership with Lake Forest College provides a special opportunity to bring together an innovative group of artists whose work is actively engaged in how technology and AI are shaping humanities,” said Ragdale Executive Director Paul Sacaridiz. “Artists play a critical role in helping us to see the world in new ways, and this residency provides a platform to explore new ideas, to take risks, and to expand our understanding of contemporary culture.”

The Mellon Foundation describes HUMAN this way: “HUMAN explores what it means to be human in the age of AI by engaging an interdisciplinary group of humanities faculty fellows who, in partnership with Chicago-based organizations, lead an effort to develop new courses, digital humanities research projects, seminars, publications, artist residencies, and other means for students to gain a broad understanding of the role that the humanities should play in public policy, cultural preservation, and community education in an AI-inflected world.

Davis Schneiderman outdoor portrait “We are thrilled to partner with Ragdale on this important initiative,” said Schneiderman. “The HUMAN Residency Fellowship provides a unique opportunity for artists to engage with the critical questions surrounding AI, and to explore how the humanities can inform our understanding of these technologies and their impact on society.”

The HUMAN Residency Fellowship is part of Lake Forest College's broader efforts to address the urgent need for an informed understanding of the interplay between the humanities and artificial intelligence, ensuring ethical developments, promoting equitable technological advancement, and nurturing meaningful human-AI collaboration.

About Ragdale: Ragdale is an artist residency program located in Lake Forest, Illinois that provides time and space for artists to develop new works. Hosting more than 200 residencies annually, Ragdale is one of the largest creative communities in the United States and is driven by a commitment to social justice, environmental stewardship, and access for artists with disabilities. Comprising a series of historic homes, purpose-built studios, and access to 50 acres of protected prairie land, Ragdale provides artists with a remarkable environment to explore their work.

About the Krebs Center: The Krebs Center for the Humanities is set in an Italianate villa in Lake Forest where the traditional and the cutting-edge converge and where literature, philosophy, history, and the arts are not just subjects of study but also dynamic forces that prepare students to meet an ever-evolving future. The Krebs Center underscores the College’s commitment to paving the way for a future where creativity, critical thinking, and empathy take center stage.

Find application information here.