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Link to Apply: FrameWorks Online Application

Before you apply, make sure you’ve read the description below of the theme and the proposal requirements. It is also important to familiarize yourself with the FrameWorks program.


In 2024-2025, successful FrameWorks Fellowship applicants will be invited to research and write critical articles that interpret the theme “Our Houston.” The application form asks you to propose an article that addresses the theme of “Our Houston” through a humanities-based analysis of a “cultural artifact.”

How to Think About the Theme:
Let the theme, “Our Houston” inspire rather than limit you.

Think of all the ways Houston defies definition. From above, it appears as an arterial mass of highways that circle, intertwine, and stretch across hundreds of square miles. No less Houstonian are its intimate pockets, the neighborhoods between freeways, the encampments beneath bridges, its suburban cul de sacs, dying strip malls, and lively streetcorners. Houstonians are thriving and dying. Some live in splendor and some in squalor. Some Houstonians know no other home and some are building new homes here from scratch. Houston can be as inspiring as it is heartbreaking and loving as it is brutal.

We gather in temples, churches, mosques, museums, theatres, dance halls, parks, restaurants, the streets. Every one of our buildings and bayous has a Houstonian story to tell. So do the works of our painters, sculptors, writers, musicians, singers, dancers, graffiti artists, chefs. We have so much to learn from each other, and so much to tell the world.

Or maybe the world can help Houstonians better understand themselves. What does, say, The Odyssey have to teach us about the meaning of home? How does being Houstonian change your interpretation of, for example, a Shakespeare play? Or a Toni Morrison novel? Or a Rumi poem? Or a Frieda Kahlo painting? How would existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre read the directive on the I-45 railway bridge to “BE SOMEONE”? Is there a piece in the MFAH or Menil or Blaffer that sings a peculiarly Houstonian song?

What is a “Cultural Artifact”?
If the theme lends itself to big ideas, the cultural artifact will focus your approach. Instead of writing broadly about “Our Houston” you will engage it through a detailed analysis of a cultural artifact of your choosing.

For our purposes, the term “cultural artifact” refers to something created by human beings which, properly researched and analyzed, will help you (and ultimately your reader) understand the culture out of which it arose, while giving you (and your reader) the opportunity to engage the theme.

Your cultural artifact should stand up to detailed scrutiny but be of a manageable scope given editorial word limits (5000 words per article). Prioritize depth over breadth. For example, it is much easier to do justice to a single novel than an entire literary movement. So, too, privilege the particular over the general. A careful interpretation of a specific historic event is easier to manage than a sweeping overview an era.

Cultural artifacts may include but are not limited to a novel, a building facade, a philosophical text, a mural, a Greek tragedy, a painting, a music video, a poem or collection of poems, an historical map, a city ordinance, an oral history, a play, a family recipe, the text of a speech, a sculpture or statue, Beyonce lyrics, a dance performance, an example of AI-generated digital art, a video game, historical Houston Rodeo advertisements, an art installation, and so forth and so on.


Double check that you meet the eligibility requirements:

  • Rising sophomores and juniors are invited to apply.
  • You need not be a student in the Honors College.
  • You must have a GPA of 3.5 or higher.
  • You do not have to be a humanities major, but a strong humanities background is preferred.

Click here to fill in the online form.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This application form requires you to fill out all fields before you can submit. The following fields, in particular, will need offline preparation

  • Has a faculty member agreed to serve as your FrameWorks mentor? Y / N
  • What is the name of the Faculty Member who has agreed / offered to serve as your FrameWorks mentor?

Experience has taught us that FrameWorks Fellows do better in the program when they work with faculty mentors with whom they have an established relationship. While you need not have a faculty mentor lined up to be eligible, preference will be given to applicants who do. While some applicants are encouraged to apply by faculty who volunteer their mentorship, typically prospective fellows take the initiative by approaching faculty with whom they have worked well in the past. CLICK HERE for useful tips.

Other prompts that will require advanced offline preparation:

  • Why do you think you are a good candidate to be a FrameWorks Fellow? (Your answer cannot not exceed 200 words.)
  • Propose a humanities-based research project that you would like to undertake as a FrameWorks Fellow. What would you write about, and why?  Please note, your answer must engage the 2024-2025 FrameWorks theme: “Our Houston” (Your answer cannot exceed 350 words). [you are not committing to the project proposed in this field. Rather, we will use your answer to ascertain the quality of your writing and your grasp of humanities research. If you already have a faculty mentor, consider developing your answer to this prompt in consultation with them.]  


If you have any questions, email Max Rayneard