Popular Culture Summer Research Institute 2020

the 2020 summer research institute has been cancelled due to the covid-19 outbreak.  we will be back in 2021.  check back in december 2020 for additional information!  stay well and be healthy.

Popular Culture Summer Research Institute at Bowling Green State University

Coming in Summer, 2021:

“Popular Culture Past and Present: Experiencing the Archives” 



For the fifth 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 14, 2020 through Friday morning, June 19, 2020. 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 the globe to the research and pedagogical treasures of BGSU’s very special collections. Scholars will engage in conversations and activities to learn best practices in researching, writing, and workshopping projects in popular culture.  

 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 one 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.  

See pictures from last year’s institute.


If selected, a nonrefundable $125.00 registration fee is required for all participants. This fee must be received within 10 working days from 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 time of acceptance).  Participants can expect to spend a range of $60-$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 distinct from an academic conference. Unlike an academic conference that requires few formal commitments during the event 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.  

Travel Grants 

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 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. Grant checks will be dispersed at the end of the institute.


Application instructions 

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 attachments to: execdir@pcaaca.org.  

Applications are due on or before Friday, May 1, 2020. Applications accepted after this date will be considered only if space is still available. Notification of acceptance and grants will be communicated in mid-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 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 (execdir@pcaaca.org) if you have questions or need additional information. 


2020 Summer Research Institute Tentative Schedule

This tentative schedule is subject to change at the discretion of the Institute staff.

Sunday, June 14

12:00-4:00 PM             Arrival of Institute Participants and Check-In

                                           Centennial Hall Lobby

 6:00-7:00 PM              Opening Reception, Introduction of Participants, Staff, and


7:00-8:00 PM               Ray Browne & “The Bowling Green Method,”  Lynn Bartholome

8:00-9:00 PM               Initial Discussion of Institute Participants’ Projects

Monday, June 15

8:00 AM                          Breakfast (tba)

8:30 AM-10:30 AM    Overview of Popular Culture Library, Music Library, and Bill

                                           Schurk Sound Archives and Library Tours

10:30-10:45 AM          Break

10:45-Noon                   Strategies for Working in the Collections

12:00- 12:45 PM         Lunch

12:45-8:00 PM             Participants Work in the Collections

7:30/8:00 PM               Optional Dinner (tba)

Tuesday, June 16

8:00 AM                          Breakfast (tba)

8:00 AM-Noon             Participants Work in the Collections

12:00-12:45 PM          Lunch

12:45-2:45 PM             Roundtable: Exploring Methodology

                                    Presenters: Gary Hoppenstand, Michigan State University

                                     Kathy Merlock Jackson, Virginia Wesleyan College


2:45-8:00 PM               Participants Work in the Collections

7:30/8:00 PM               Optional Dinner (tba)

Wednesday, June 17

8:00 AM                          Breakfast (tba)

8:00 AM-Noon             Participants Work in the Collections

12:00-12:45 PM          Lunch

12:45-1:45 PM             Workshopping Your Ideas

1:45-8:00 PM               Participants Work in the Collections

7:30/8:00 PM               Optional Dinner (tba)

Thursday, June 18

8:00 AM                          Breakfast (tba)

8:00 AM-4:00 PM     Participants Work in the Collections (lunch on your own)

4:00-5:00 PM              Workshopping Your Ideas, Part II

5:30-9:00 PM              Pizza, Beer (Root Beer and Sodas, That Is!), and a Movie

                                           Conference Room, Best Western (Across from BGSU)

                                           (no alcohol, please)

Friday, June 19.

8:00 AM                          Coffee and Biscuits

8:00-9:30 AM               Participants Work in the Collections

9:30-11:30 AM            Brunch and Concluding Remarks

Safe Travels!

Collections remain open until 5:00 PM