Public Scholarship


The Simpson Center advances scholarship as a publicly engaged practice, promoting mutually beneficial partnerships between higher education and organizations in the public and private sectors and providing pathways for scholars to share their academic work with broader public audiences.

Public Scholarship Programs

Reimagining the Humanities PhD and Reaching New Publics

From 2015-2021, the program prepared UW doctoral students in the humanities for this task by meaningfully connecting them to the diverse, access-oriented institutions of higher education in the Seattle District community colleges, and by supporting the development of both doctoral students’ public projects and publicly engaged graduate seminars taught by UW faculty in the humanities.

Barclay Simpson Scholars

The Simpson Center for the Humanities biannually invites proposals from doctoral students in the humanities to pursue public-facing projects in their areas of study and practice. Our inaugural cohort of fellows met throughout the summer of 2021, with the next cohort to be selected in the fall of 2022 for the summer of 2023. The fellowship builds on the Simpson Center’s longstanding commitment to public scholarship and furthers the groundbreaking work undertaken by University of Washington faculty, doctoral students, and their community partners.
Public Scholarship Projects

Seattle’s Freeway Revolt: A Living Legacy of Civic Activism

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, many Seattle citizens joined together to oppose the construction and expansion of freeways that would have destroyed the heart of Seattle. This anti-freeway movement was instrumental in halting two major freeways (RH Thompson and Bay Freeway) and significantly downsizing a third (the I-90), saving parks, shorelines, and thousands of homes and businesses.