By Kären Haley
Executive Director, Indianapolis Cultural Trail, Inc.
The Indianapolis Cultural Trail Public Space Fellowship is inspired by a similar fellowship launched by The Bentway, a linear park created underneath an interstate in Toronto, Canada. We became familiar with The Bentway and got to know their two amazing leaders and program staff through The High Line Network, a peer learning collaborative created by The High Line in New York City.
Our Public Space Fellowship is a sixth-month long, paid fellowship and it is full time. Our first cohort will be able to shape how the Fellowship works in the future, too.
We’re excited to launch our Public Space Fellowship for so many reasons:
- Creating an opportunity for both the fellows and our team to try and test ideastogether and learn from them.
- Bringing inspiration and ideas from different and new perspectives to our team and ultimately to the city’s public spaces along the Cultural Trail.
- Having time and space for two people to go deep and focus on specific areas and topics they want to learn more about as they relate to how people do or do not engage with the Downtown Canal, Lugar Plaza and Georgia St.
- Providing hands on experience and leadership opportunities to people interested in learning more about civic dialogue and engagement and public space management.
- Making new connections for the first cohort of fellows with each other and introducing them to the community and leaders doing amazing work in Indy and around the U.S.
- Being intentional about recruiting fellows from Black, Latinx and other underrepresented communities to apply for the Fellowship.
Learning from our first cohort of fellows about what works and how we can improve on the Public Space Fellowship experience so that we can hopefully continue to evolve the Fellowship and start to recruit our second cohort of Fellows for next year.
I can’t wait to see who our first fellows will be. If you are interested in learning more, please visit our Fellowship website, contact Carrie Tracy with questions, and please share with anyone you think would be interested in this unique opportunity.