Humanities and Arts

Research in the humanities and arts covers a wide spectrum of activities, from single-author, publication-oriented scholarship at one end to public exhibitions and performance events at the other. Research methods are correspondingly diverse, including the study of documents carried out by individuals in libraries and archives (both on and off campus), fieldwork performed at outside institutions that are governed by their own constraints and regulations, lab-based digital experiments conducted by research teams, and studio work done by creative artists. Outcomes often involve some form of public presentation, such as public lectures, international conferences, concerts, theatrical presentations and exhibitions. Some of this research overlaps with activities performed in other parts of the university; some is unique to the humanities and arts cluster; and some is quite specific to a particular unit or department.

Research activities dovetail in substantial and significant ways with teaching; this overlap obtains in particular in the arts, where both research and teaching often require performance spaces and involve gatherings of varying sizes, from small groups to a full symphony orchestra. In many cases, such activities will be possible before stage 4 only with carefully executed risk-mitigation measures.

Guidance on lab protocols, library use, office access, childcare, and travel can be found in the relevant sections elsewhere in this handbook.

Humanities and Arts Restart

All steps taken toward resumption of research activities on and off campus are contextualized within the phased approach that Stanford has defined as the overarching framework for recovery:

Stage 0: Essential staff only on campus.

Stage 1: COVID-19 testing capacity increases; state/county begin relaxing restrictions on essential workers; access by key essential personnel and solo faculty by individual arrangement only.

Stage 2: COVID-19 testing at full capacity; gradually increase personnel/access to include graduate students by arrangement only; small public gatherings allowed.

Stage 3: COVID-19 testing at maximum needed capacity; standards of activity based upon ability to physically distance; undergraduate students begin returning to campus in restricted numbers.

Stage 4: No state/county restrictions; vaccine possibly available; a “new normal”; full population of undergraduate students returns to campus.

Summary list of research and teaching activities

  • Research conducted by an individual in Stanford libraries and archives (stage 1, with restrictions)
  • Research conducted by individuals and groups in libraries and archives off campus (stage 3; stage 2 only with travel exception)
  • Research conducted by individuals and groups in archives on campus involving interaction with librarians and archivists (stage 3)
  • Research conducted by individuals and groups in archives off campus (stage 3)
  • Production of physical equipment (digital and analog); preservation, conservation and maintenance of collections (beginning in stage 2)
  • Language training (initially only online, in person beginning stage 3)
  • In-person studio instruction (initially via Zoom only, in person beginning stage 2 in sufficiently large space or outdoors)
  • Human-subject research (stage 2 in limited capacity only)
  • Classroom observations in schools, video recording of events in museums, etc. (stage 3)
  • Theatrical and musical rehearsals (initially only via Zoom and Jacktrip, in person stage 3-4)
  • Conferences and public lectures (stage 3-4, depending on site capacity and restrictions)
  • Theatrical and musical performances on campus (stage 3-4, as above)
  • Theatrical and musical performances off campus (stage 3-4, as above)
  • Creative projects by individuals and teams in shared labs and studios on campus (stage 3-4, depending on space capacity and restrictions)
  • Creative projects by individuals in private studios on campus (stage 2)
  • Creative projects by individuals and teams off campus (stage 3-4, depending on space capacity and restrictions)
  • Exhibitions in public spaces (stage 3-4, depending on space capacity and restrictions)

Recovery Checklist

  • Any personnel coming to campus must take COVID-19 Hygiene Best Practices Training, EHS-2470 in STARS, complete the daily Health Check tool, be an approved essential personnel in the ORMS system, and abide by all health and hygiene requirements set forth by the University, the county, and the state.
  • Each unit establishes a return to research/teaching and programmatic activity safety/reopening committee to establish the unit’s standard operating procedure (SOP) protocols and then to review and locally approve the SOP for each area lead requesting to return to spaces critical for unit programming.
  • The department chair/unit director, or appointed proxy, sends the finalized protocol to the appropriate oversight office (Dean’s Office, VPA, etc.) via their submission process for review, comments, and approval.
  • A representative of the unit’s safety/reopening committee or designated proxy may want to work with a representative from Zones on site to facilitate a more comprehensive review and understanding of how specific facilities would be used. The unit’s safety/recovery committee representatives or designated proxy confer with the appropriate Zones representative for specific technical information and plans for each facility to be considered for in-person use. Plans are labeled with quantitative assessment of facilities’ ventilation and sent to EH&S, who make the appropriate safety determination for each building/space.
  • Safety/occupancy guidelines, whose application is validated in partnership with EH&S and LBRE, prescribe: i) the square footage for building density; ii) unique COVID hygiene requirements; iii) mechanical and natural ventilation requirements/realities. For Humanities & Arts, these guidelines are determined by HSDO. For Cantor, Anderson, and Stanford Live, they are determined by VPA. Volunteer student organizations under the aegis of VPSA should apply guidelines in coordination with appropriate oversight offices for facilities hosting use by VSOs (e.g., TAPS, DoM, R&DE/ResEd, etc.).
  • The unit’s safety/recovery committee representatives or their designated proxies coordinate with Zones representatives to install the exterior door sign and a kiosk. It is the building manager’s responsibility to install indoor signage – viz. closed rooms, closed doors, room capacities, elevator capacities, one-way stairways, etc. – and to distribute PPE and sanitization supplies as required throughout the building.
  • Tools to help our departments and programs think through their return to research process have been developed by HSDO Facilities and Capital Planning: