Student Curator Application

Applications are due by January 17, 2018. To apply to be a Student Curator, please click here. 



At its core, Holding History is the Wisconsin Idea in action: the project not only welcomes public audiences into University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Special Collections, but also provides a forum for training an interdisciplinary group of students to share their knowledge and the resources of the campus with our broader community. We welcome applications from students in any and all majors. Past Student Curators have majored in Art History, Astrophysics, Biology, Computer Science, Creative Writing, East Asian Studies, Education, English, History of Science, Molecular Biology, and Political Science (to name just a few).


Holding History is an extracurricular, non-credit program that offers mentorship, community, and training opportunities for a small group of Student Curators. Those selected as Student Curators will be expected to devote approximately 8-10 hours per month to preparation for and presentation at Holding History’s varied events. Generally speaking, most of each month’s time commitments will happen in 1- to 2-week periods around pre-scheduled HH events.

Potential Student Curators must be willing to prioritize scheduling and attendance at events and activities. Student Curators will also be expected to respond within 24 hours to occasional surveys, planning emails, etc.


  • 1-2 Training Sessions at Special Collections
    • Training sessions are hands-on opportunities to learn about old books, explore personal interests, and get to know others in the cohort.
  • One Mentor Luncheon with a guest speaker
    • These are very special events that we arrange just for Student Curators. For instance, for our most recent event, students got the chance to spend an hour and a half interacting with Peabody Award Winner Anne Strainchamps, Senior Producer and Co-Founder of NPR’s To The Best of Our Knowledge.
  • One Keynote Public Event + Post-Event Recap
    • Keynotes give you a chance to put your training to work with a live audience of about 60 attendees who show up for each of our events. Post-Event Recaps give us a chance to relax, share a meal together, and walk through questions and feedback.
  • One Pop-Up Event
    • Pop-Ups are like a Keynote, but less formal and focused on a specific audience. Calhoun and Marty design the Spring Pop-Up; Student Curators work together as a team (with feedback from Calhoun and Marty) to design the Fall Pop-Up.
  • One Hands-on Workshop/Activity in the Fall (Papermaking, Printing Press, Field Trip, etc)
    • Instead of Training Sessions (which kick off the Spring semester), we organize some sort of hands-on, book-based learning activity to kick off the fall semester.


    • One Keynote Public Event with gathering afterwards
    • One Pop-Up Event
    • One field trip/social event


JOSHUA CALHOUN, Co-Director of Holding History, is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who specializes in Shakespeare, 16th- and 17th-century poetry, and the history of media. As a Faculty Affiliate at the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, he also teaches courses in the environmental humanities. In his teaching and research, he gets to explore three things he loves (and thinks everyone else should love, too): Shakespeare, old books, and nature. He is currently writing a book titled The Nature of the Page: Ecology, Poetry, and Papermaking in Renaissance England @awayandback /

SARAH MARTY, Co-Director of Holding History, is a Faculty Affiliate at UW Arts Institute and Professor of Arts Management at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater  As a producer she enjoys collaborating with campus and community partners, whether working with the Director of the Marching Band for the UW Varsity Band Show or welcoming the Dalai Lama to the Overture Center for the Arts. A trained musician and stage manager, she recently recorded a Swissconsin album of accordion music with her grandmother and is the Producing Artistic Director for Four Seasons Theatre. @smartyfiles /