Studio Associate

Rich Harwood, President and Founder of The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, has created the Studio on Community to advance new ideas for strengthening communities and society in a rapidly changing world. The associate position lasts for five to six months (full time), or nine to twelve months (part time). Associates will receive office space at the Harwood Studio on Community in our Bethesda, MD office, a stipend, professional development training, exposure to new networks, and mentorship from one of the country’s leading authorities on civic life.

The Studio on Community

Studios have long existed as a combination workshop and space where the act of reflection can merge with acts of production. Drawing members who seek to participate in and contribute to these activities, the studio environment also provides the space and time for individuals to focus on and develop their own ideas and skills. Located within The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, the Studio on Community provides the opportunity for Rich Harwood and a high-performing team of individuals to strengthen the civic fabric of our communities and our country by innovating and incubating new ideas, projects and initiatives.

Studio Associates will work directly with Rich Harwood, a national leader whose practice, methods, ideas and approaches have helped shape the field of civic and community change for nearly 30 years. Associates will be enriched by the process of learning from and working with each other, Rich Harwood, and the larger team at the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation.

The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation is founded on a deep civic faith in our ability to solve our toughest shared problems by placing people rather than organizations or tribes at the center of our actions, engendering a sense of belief and can-do spirit, and coming together in the common enterprise of community to accomplish our goals. Everything we do at the Studio is an expression of that faith, and is an attempt to develop concrete, practical answers to society’s most fundamental challenges.

Studio Associate Position Description

This is a tremendous opportunity for individuals who are seeking a time-bound, purpose-driven experience and who want to be part of a larger effort to advance new solutions for communities and society, particularly at a time of growing division and inwardness.

Studio Associates will work on projects in the following areas:

  • Advancing knowledge on fundamental civic issues. The Studio produces books, articles, blog posts, and research reports to advance the national and international discourse about what it takes to build successful communities in the 21st century. Projects may focus on concepts such as the emergence and meaning of a new American narrative, the role of civic rituals in society, the renewed role for the human element in civic and political affairs, and the dynamics around how new ideas and practices spread.

Associates will support existing research and writing efforts through secondary research, discussion, and editing. Additionally, associates will engage in original writing and research activities based on their own interests. Associates are also expected to write and publish at least one piece in their own voice that draws on the Harwood approach as it applies to their own context.

  • Developing concrete solutions to iconic, community-based challenges. For 30 years, organizations have reached out to The Harwood Institute and Rich Harwood for help solving their most urgent problems. In the past, Harwood has worked with United Way Worldwide, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Goodwill Industries International, Walmart, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Australian Federal Government, among others.

Studio Associates will have the opportunity to contribute to special projects Rich Harwood is undertaking by conducting research and interviews, participating in internal strategic planning conversations, and helping to shape final reports and deliverables for partners. Projects may include: creating new approaches for communities to take shared responsibility for supporting children and families impacted by the opioid epidemic, designing mechanisms that enable fast-growing national NGOs to remain fiercely local, and helping large companies develop more effective strategies for investing in and more authentically relating to local communities.

Additional Benefits

Studio Associates will:

  • Attend a Harwood Public Innovators Lab

  • Participate in an annual Harwood Summit

  • Shadow Rich Harwood in Harwood Institute meetings for learning and exposure

  • Participate in weekly and monthly discussions about the Studio, the Harwood practice, and civic issues

Potential Candidates

Professionals committed to strengthening communities and using their skills, critical thinking and creativity to advance the Studio conversation and further the mission of the Harwood Institute. This is not a traditional research fellowship. Members of the Studio on Community are eager to develop and test concrete solutions to messy problems with an international expert in civic innovation. Applications are accepted with or without an institutional affiliation. Examples of ideal candidates include:

  • A university faculty or staff member or graduate student seeking an opportunity or leave of absence to accelerate their research, and/or increase the impact of interdisciplinary engagement at their home institution;

  • A consultant or coach wanting to expand their professional experience and knowledge;

  • Independent researchers and scholars, educators and other related professionals.


Studio Associates must possess the following characteristics:

  • Excellent writer

  • Strong researcher

  • Conceptual and critical thinker

  • Good communicator

  • Personable and strong sense of humor

  • Very focused, disciplined and rigorous

  • Internal standard of excellence

  • Enjoys working as part of a team

  • Has the ability to work in an unstructured, independent environment


  • Minimum of 20 hours per week for 9-12 months OR 40 hours per week for 5-6 months

  • Up to $12,500 stipend

  • Must work in the Institute’s Bethesda, Md., office

Note for university faculty/staff members and graduate students: in the past, university faculty have been granted paid leaves of absence to participate in the Studio Associateship. We are happy to help you request financial support from your university or college through a supplemented leave of absence or through other appropriate approaches.

To Apply

Send letter of inquiry about your interest along with your qualifications to Miranda Klugesherz, Special Assistant to the President & Founder, at Spots are limited, and applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.

The Harwood Institute is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

About The Harwood Institute

The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation is a nonpartisan, independent nonprofit that teaches, coaches and inspires people and organizations to solve pressing problems and change how communities work together. Founded by Richard C. Harwood in 1988, the Institute partners with some of the world's largest nonprofits, and their tools and frameworks have spread to all 50 states in the U.S., across Australia and Canada, and have been used by individuals in more than 40 countries worldwide.

About Rich Harwood

Rich Harwood is Founder and President of The Harwood Institute. For more than 30 years, he has devoted his life to transforming communities and changing our public discourse. Rich’s work has included helping communities deal with issues related to the environment, healthcare, improving public education and healing from disasters. A few years ago, he led the community process in Newtown, Connecticut, to determine the fate of the Sandy Hook School, where 20 children and 6 adults were tragically murdered on December 14, 2012. He has authored a number of books and articles on the state of politics and public life and has spoken extensively on these subjects over the course of his career.