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In Partnership with the Humanities Institute at Stony Brook University

At the heart of Herstory’s work is our training program which brings together an inter-age cohort of graduate fellows from all over the county with teachers, writers, retirees,  community activists, healthcare and human service providers, and young Dreamers,  dedicated to creating brave spaces to elevate the voices of those whose stories are silenced and unsung. 

In partnership with the Humanities Institute at Stony Brook University, where our Long Island and online programming is umbrella-d, we offer several training programs a year, ranging from our annual national two semester-long immersion in Herstory's pedagogy and practice, to shorter offerings for teachers, youth mentors and activists that take place year-round. 


Each new cohort participates in a 6-13-session practicum that combines a hands-on memoir writing experience with an intensive immersion in the Herstory pedagogy.  This is followed by an individually tailored, supervised field placement either within Herstory’s ongoing programs and projects, or, especially in the case of our national fellows, by a co-designed project to follow their interests and vision.


A new national cohort takes shape each September, with other trainings emerging as the need arises, ensuring that Herstory will be offering field placements year-round. Our current national cohort is focusing on carceral justice. For a preview description of our call for national fellows for the fall of 2024, themed around working behind and beyond bars, click here.

Call for Applicants


Teaching for Peace and Justice

Memoir as a Tool for Movement Building and Deep Change 


Meeting Fridays from 11:30 to 2:00 PM Eastern Time via ZOOM

Spring Semester, 2024

Application Deadline: January 3, 2024


We are reaching out to teachers, writers, graduate students in literature and the public humanities, retirees, community activists, health and human service providers who are ready to hit the ground running working locally in Long Island and beyond in contributing to the movement to use story-based strategies to help to elevate the voices of those whose stories most need to be heard.

Up to ten candidates, chosen competitively, will participate in a ten-session online practicum, followed by a 12-week field placement in school or community settings, or in work within the carceral justice arena.  In light of our growing programs for newcomers to this country, speakers of other languages will be given priority.


  • A lively interest in writing and in people and their stories.This will include a commitment to write one’s own memoir as part of the workshop, in order to experience a full immersion in the pedagogy.

  • A strong desire to incorporate teaching in school and alternative settings into current and future life plans.

  • A willingness to make a two-semester commitment to the program to ensure full participation in field placements.

  • While experience in leading groups is not an absolute requirement, preference will be given to those who have had this experience.


Selection Criteria:

Applicants will be judged based on how well their interests correspond to the goals of using guided memoir as a vehicle for personal and community empowerment, healing, and change, as well as their willingness to dedicate effort to this training program.  Special consideration will be given to candidates working at the forefront of movements for racial, environmental, carceral, public health, and disability justice, and other communities of healing in a world in distress.  Speakers of other languages are encouraged to apply.


Spring 2024: Participants will attend 10-session online training institute to learn Herstory’s method and begin their own memoir projects.

Summer or Fall 2024: Participants will engage in a 12-week supervised field placement in a school or community-based setting. The timing will be flexible according to each participant's schedule and needs.


Throughout the project period, fellows will work closely with mentors from across Herstory’s network to strategize how the stories generated by this project will be disseminated through online and print publication and public readings in order to make the pedagogy and its practice available to an ever-widening audience. They will play an active role in designing new ways to use story-based strategies for change.

A full commitment to the two-part training program, with full attendance in the Spring 2024 practicum, followed by a 12-session field placement, is a requirement for acceptance into the program.  Following graduation from the institute, a limited number of paid opportunities will be offered.

To Apply:
Applications will be considered on a competitive basis in the order in which they are received. Training is offered to selected candidates free of charge. If you have any questions, please contact Herstory's artistic director, Erika Duncan at

Our previous cohorts of trainees have included a former director of the literature program of the National Endowment for the Arts, a professor of Mathematics from Queensboro Community College, a past president of New York State TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages), a retired elementary school principal, an army veteran medic, a director of a re-entry task force, a retiree from a long career in public health and nursing education, a filmmaker, several visual artists, organizational leaders, Dreamers, human rights activists, local and national fellows, and much more.

In 2018 and 2019, through a special grant from the Regional Economic Development Council/ New York State Council on the Arts, we established a fellowship program for 6 Stony Brook graduate students in the Humanities, leading to new workshops in Spanish for Rural Migrant Ministry and extending our fastest growing program for young people who crossed the border by themselves, along with a now permanent disabilities program. In the fall of 2020, we joined forces with the Coalition for Community Writing to create a national fellowship program, leading to our first ever Herstory Mississippi Project, work with women and transgender folx experiencing homelessness in Denver, Colorado, a workshop for Syrian refugee women living in refugee camps in Lebanon, who were married before the age of 18, and a national/international writing project to (re)imagine mental health care.
Despite the wide variety in age, life trajectory and current student or employment status,  all have brought to our interviews a remarkably parallel wish: to go deeper into the work they are already doing with literature, community, empowerment and healing through engaging in our process and reaching the people who most need a voice at this time in history. All have come at a moment they define as a turning point in their lives,  when they are seeking a new direction.     


If you are at a turning point in your life and feel that this could be a new direction for you, we invite you to join our first round of early applicants. We are particularly seeking speakers of other languages, with a large increase in the demand for new workshops for our immigrant students and community members. 


* Partnerships created by the fellows include workshops with women from Rural Migrant Ministries in Riverhead;  an "Abriendo Puertas" workshop for Head Start parents, a workshop at Hofstra University in which criminology students write side by side with people returning from prison, a workshop at Stony Brook University in which female veterans write side by side with students seeking the missing pages in the Literature of War. 


To meet our 2022-2023 Fellows, click here.

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