Topics in Popular Culture: Researching, Writing, and Workshopping Your Ideas

Topics in Popular Culture: Researching, Writing, and Workshopping Your Ideas March 1, 2019


June 23-June 28, 2019 

“Topics in Popular Culture: Researching, Writing, and Workshopping Your Ideas” 


For the fourth year, the PCA/ACA, the BGSU Department of Popular Culture, the Ray and Pat Browne Library for Popular Culture Studies and the Music Library and Bill Schurk Sound Archives are jointly sponsoring a summer research institute at Bowling Green State University from Sunday, June 23, 2019 through Friday morning, June 28, 2019. This institute is generously supported by the School of Cultural and Critical Studies, the Dean of University Libraries, the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Provost at Bowling Green State University, as well as by the PCA/ACA.

The institute will introduce 20-25 scholars from across the country and abroad to the research and pedagogical treasures of BGSU’s very special collections:

The Ray and Pat Browne Library for Popular Culture Studies was founded in 1969 and is the most comprehensive repository of its kind in the United States; it includes more than 190,000 catalogued books.  The collection’s primary focus is popular fiction, popular entertainment (radio, television, film, and the mass communication industry), and the graphic arts/advertising. Besides books and magazines, the collection includes fanzines, comics, movie posters, postcards, greeting cards, trading cards, television episode scripts, and many three-dimensional items (i.e. action figures, fast food toys, games)

The Music Library and Bill Schurk Sound Archives is considered the nation’s premier academic collection of popular music sound recordings. Established in 1967 for the scholarly study of popular music and music recordings, the Bill Schurk Sound Archives includes almost a million recordings in all formats (LP, 78, 45, CD, tapes and more), discographies, books, and periodicals related to popular music and the recording industry.

The staff of these exceptional collections will assist institute participants in locating unique resources for use in their teaching and research in accordance with Fair Use guidelines.  Additionally, volunteer faculty scholars from both BGSU and the PCA/ACA will lend their time and expertise to help participants with their individual projects. Select presentations and roundtables on scholarship will enhance the research experience where members can share and discuss best practices. Along with providing an opportunity for specialized individualized research, the Institute aims to create a learning community among institute scholars to share experiences, exchange ideas and cultivate collegial support among established and emerging scholars.


If selected, a nonrefundable $125.00 registration fee is required for all participants. This fee must be received within 10 working days of the date of acceptance. Accepted Institute participants are responsible for their transportation, food, and housing costs.  Housing will be available at a minimal rate in a newer BGSU residence hall adjacent to the Jerome Library.  Off- campus lodging can also be secured at area motels (details for lodging options provided at a later date).  Participants can expect to spend a range of $40-$76 per night on lodging, depending on the type. On-campus dining will be available on a limited basis throughout the week; the local area also has a good assortment of restaurants and grocery stores in all price ranges.  A number of social events are also scheduled where food will be provided.


Please note that the Summer Research Institute is quite distinct from an academic conference. Unlike an academic conference that requires few formal commitments during from participants, this workshop is an immersive, weeklong research experience among a community of learners. Establishing long-lasting professional ties with other popular culture scholars is one outcome of the Institute. Accordingly, participants are required to attend the opening session, all lunches, and workshop discussions. The close proximity of accommodations will ensure that participants can easily attend all the components of the Institute.


A select number of participants will receive $400 travel grants. Selection criteria for these grants will be based on the quality of the research proposal and the demonstration of how the applicant will make use of the collections during the institute and beyond. There is no additional application for a grant. Please note that in order to receive a grant, applicants must be traveling at least of 50 miles to the Institute. If a grant is awarded, the registrant is still required to pay the $125 registration fee. It is also expected that the grant recipient present their research at a regional or national PCA/ACA conference within two years of the institute.



Required materials for the application:

  1. The application form. [Download the pdf here.]   Please print out the form, fill it out, and send all application materials in one email.
  2. A recent CV
  3. A brief description, no more than two pages, of research or teaching project. (Please refer to the Ray Browne Popular Culture Library and Music Library/Bill Schurk Archives collections to explore materials available.)
  4. One written page answering the following questions:

How will this research project further your personal or professional goals?

What is your expectation of the institute and BGSU Library staff in supporting your research project?

Please email all the above items as an attachment to:

Applications are due on or before Friday, April 26, 2019. Applications accepted after the date will be considered if space is still available. Notification of acceptance and grants will be communicated in early May.


Applications will be considered based on the quality of the research proposal and the availability of resources and staff to support your project.

While the research institute is intended for academic and independent scholars who intend to use these collections over time, applications from advanced graduate students who will be utilizing these collections in their work will also be considered.

Please contact Dr. Lynn Bartholome, PCA/ACA Executive Director ( if you have questions or need additional information.

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