Skip to main content
Photo courtesy of Emily Buhrow Rogers

Photo courtesy of Emily Buhrow Rogers

  • American Council of Learned Societies Names Leading Edge Fellow to Support COVID-19 Research and Storytelling

    The American Council of Learned Societies has announced the cohort of its 2020 Leading Edge Fellowship program, assigned to organizations around the country. Fellow Emily Buhrow Rogers, who holds a PhD in sociocultural anthropology from Indiana University Bloomington, will join the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, where she will research community artists’ responses to COVID-19 in the United States and beyond as part of Folklife Magazine’s series Chronicling Community Artists during COVID-19.

    ACLS launched the $1.6 million rapid-response fellowship, generously sponsored by the Henry Luce Foundation, to galvanize the power of humanities scholarship and training in addressing critical challenges facing communities hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Each Leading Edge Fellow partners with a nonprofit organization on publicly engaged projects that document and respond to the pandemic and that advance collective understanding of the societal fault lines that have worsened its impact: inequality, increasing precarity, divisive media, and racism. The Center’s project, Chronicling Community Artists during COVID-19, is a groundbreaking national series that explores one key question: how are individuals and their communities responding to COVID-19?

    “The Smithsonian has long been a place where Americans turn to understand their experience,” said Michael Atwood Mason, director of the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. “And it has also been a place where emerging professionals seek opportunities to learn and grow, to share their ideas and discover new perspectives. We are grateful to the American Council of Learned Societies and the Luce Foundation for their partnership and the recognition that this is a key moment when all Americans want to explore how COVID-19 is impacting individuals and communities across the nation.”

    Over the course of a year, Rogers will produce multimedia, online stories for Folklife Magazine and work to connect those stories with broad audiences.

    Rogers is one of five awardees who represent the first cohort in this two-year public scholarship initiative. The Leading Edge Fellowship program will be complemented by a series of innovative workshops designing new practices and structures for academia in the wake of the pandemic.

    About the American Council for Learned Society

    Formed in 1919, the American Council of Learned Societies is a nonprofit federation of seventy-five scholarly organizations. As the preeminent representative of American scholarship in the humanities and related social sciences, ACLS holds a core belief that knowledge is a public good. As such, ACLS strives to promote the circulation of humanistic knowledge throughout society. In addition to stewarding and representing its member organizations, ACLS employs its $140 million endowment and $35 million annual operating budget to support scholarship in the humanities and social sciences and to advocate for the centrality of the humanities in the modern world.

    About the Henry Luce Foundation

    The Henry Luce Foundation seeks to enrich public discourse by promoting innovative scholarship, cultivating new leaders, and fostering international understanding. Established in 1936 by Henry R. Luce, the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Time, Inc., the Luce Foundation advances its mission through grantmaking and leadership programs in the fields of Asia, higher education, religion and theology, art, and public policy.


  • Support the Folklife Festival, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, sustainability projects, educational outreach, and more.

    .