The Smart Scholars program supports research opportunities at the Smart Museum of Art resulting in an original creative work (of visual art, music, dance, writing), public program, or scholarly essay.

The Feitler Center for Academic Inquiry at the Smart Museum of Art welcomes proposals from University of Chicago undergraduates in any field of study for research projects resulting in an original creative work (of visual art, music, dance, writing), program, or scholarly essay. Students propose their own projects grounded in academic research into one or more objects in the Smart Museum’s collection.

Smart Scholars proposal submission deadline for the 2021–2022 academic year is Sunday, August 29, 2021, by 11:59 pm Central.

Learn more about the program and proposal requirements

Smart Scholars Q&A sessions/proposal workshops

Issa Lampe, Director of the Feitler Center, and Aaron Wilder, Academic Engagement Coordinator, will provide a short overview of the Smart Scholars program and will answer students’ questions about the proposal submission process and the program in general. Two Zoom sessions are available during the first week of August 2021 (please register in advance for the session most convenient for you using the relevant hyperlink below):

If you have questions about the application process or would like to discuss your ideas as you are developing your project proposal, please attend one of the Q&A sessions/proposal workshops outlined above. If you are not able to attend either of these sessions, contact Aaron Wilder, Academic Engagement Coordinator,

Past Projects

As you craft your proposal, please read about projects completed by Smart Scholars last year.

Project Highlight: 2020–2021 Smart Scholar Marco Kaisth created a poetry chapbook in response to research into the provenance of two Indian miniature paintings: the first, in the Smart Museum’s collection, the second, passed down through Kaisth’s family. Kaisth could not have predicted the messy year over which this project would come into being but creating this chapbook helped serve as a kind of anchor, a way of constructing stability and meaning in a time without much.

Browse the archive of past projects

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