NEH awards IUPUI-Ivy Tech partnership $119,009 grant to create world religions curriculum

With funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis will work in partnership with Ivy Tech Community College faculty to create 150 course modules on world religions for Ivy Tech humanities classes.Photo courtesy of Center for Interfaith Cooperation.

The NEH, in Washington, D.C., recently announced it has awarded IUPUI $119,009 to conduct “World Religions in Greater Indianapolis,” a two-year study program on contemporary religious traditions in greater Indianapolis for 15 faculty members at the Indianapolis campus of Ivy Tech Community College.

Led by IUPUI professors Edward Curtis and Arthur Farnsley and Ivy Tech humanities chair Jack Cooney, the program will help the Ivy Tech faculty develop course modules on five world religions for the existing Ivy Tech humanities core, including courses on history, literature and cultural anthropology.

“This NEH grant for ‘World Religions in Greater Indianapolis’ exemplifies all we reach for at Ivy Tech Community College as we provide our students with learning opportunities which lead them to flourishing lives as well-educated citizens and as resourcefully nimble employees,” Cooney said. “We are both honored and proud to partner with our teacher colleagues at IUPUI whose vision for this substantial NEH grant is not without regard to our possibilities.”

The Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture, a unit of the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, will operate the program, which will connect Ivy Tech faculty to experts on Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism at IUPUI, Indiana University Bloomington, Butler University and Marian University.

The program seeks not only to bolster humanities content at Ivy Tech but also to create more understanding of Central Indiana’s religious diversity, especially of recent immigrant communities.

“This project will aid faculty in helping students understand the breadth of religious traditions in America and in central Indiana,” IUPUI Chancellor Charles R. Bantz said. “At a time when there are far too many examples of misunderstandings about religions, this is a vital project. I am pleased that the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture, one of our outstanding research and public outreach centers, is willing to lead this project.”

Ivy Tech faculty in the program will be introduced to world religious traditions and their sacred texts, and study their significance to U.S. history and culture. After their study of a particular tradition, the faculty will then arrange discussions with members of a recent immigrant community from that tradition. The faculty will create the Ivy Tech course modules as capstone projects based on their comprehensive studies.

Participating religious communities from Central Indiana include Jews from the former Soviet Union, Russia and Ukraine; Spanish-speaking Roman Catholic Christians from Latin America; Muslims from West Africa; Hindus from India; and Buddhists from Vietnam.

“We are grateful to all of our community partners for making it possible to bring together Central Indiana’s academic experts and its rich immigrant cultures in a program for Ivy Tech faculty,” said Bill Blomquist, dean of the IU School of Liberal Arts.

NEH grants are among the most prestigious research awards in the humanities. The “World Religions in Greater Indianapolis” program received one of only four grants awarded in the NEH’s “Bridging Cultures at Community Colleges” category, for which there were 46 applications.

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the NEH supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation.

Exhibition: Dontrell: Think and Drink

On Monday, April 13 from 5:30-8:00 pm, Nathan Alan Davis and cast-members will kick off the 2015 “Think and Drink” series at Sun King Brewery. This event will be subtitled “Think and Drink: Brews, Beats, and Rhymes,” and will feature DJ Kyle Long and Tatjana Rebelle (host of Lingo and Vocab). This event will feature some of the top beat poets and spoken word artists who will perform along with attendees and Sun King employees to create and spit their own rhymes. DJ Kyle Long will be spinning an eclectic fusion of international music throughout the evening. Donations will be taken at the door to benefit the Starfish Initiative.

25 IU faculty from five campuses earn New Frontiers in Arts and Humanities grants

IU Vice President for Research Jorge José | Photo by Indiana UniversityOn the heels of President Michael A. McRobbie’s announcement as part of Indiana University’s Bicentennial Strategic Plan of continued funding for the New Frontiers in the Arts and Humanities program, Vice President for Research Jorge José has named 25 more faculty members to receive New Frontiers grants.

Considered one of the largest internally funded university arts and humanities programs supporting scholarship and creative activity, the New Frontiers program has awarded more than $9.3 million to 451 faculty members in the past 10 years.

The new five-year extension was the second made by McRobbie after the Lilly Endowment’s Excellence in Indiana Initiative funded an initial five years beginning in 2004-05. This latest round of awards provides up to $50,000 each in Creativity and Scholarship Awards to 19 faculty members from four campuses and up to $15,000 each in Experimental Fellowship Awards for six faculty members from three campuses.

New Frontiers has helped define IU’s commitment to support innovative and creative scholarship with the potential for transformative achievement, McRobbie noted.

“New Frontiers has repeatedly fostered exciting new opportunities for our faculty by integrating the arts, scholarship and creativity, and empowering that relationship with a strong commitment of support,” he said. “This program has allowed our faculty to expand the breadth and depth of their research and creative activity and led to the development of innovative works across a wide range of disciplines. In doing so, it has guaranteed that IU’s longstanding tradition of excellence in the arts and humanities continues to thrive and enrich our quality of life.”

José said continued support of the program validates IU’s commitment to the arts and humanities as a sustaining stakeholder in IU’s mission set down in the Bicentennial Strategic Plan.

“The New Frontiers program, which is unique among major research universities, fosters and strengthens the university’s commitment to transformative innovation, outstanding scholarship, and creative and intellectual achievement,” José said. “More broadly, New Frontiers helps demonstrate the importance of the arts and humanities in contemporary life and is truly a signature program for the university.”

In addition to these grant programs, New Frontiers also supports outstanding and topical scholarly symposia through the New Currents program, and faculty travel for research and creative activity through the Exploratory Travel Fellowship program.

Jean Robertson, the Chancellor’s Professor of Art History at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis’ Herron School of Art and Design, has been a New Frontiers grant recipient and later a member of the IU faculty panel that reviews new grant applications. She said receipt of the award provided her the support, motivation and freedom to attain new levels of academic achievement.

“Beyond the practical benefits, New Frontiers funding has given me moral support and strong motivation. I want to justify the confidence Indiana University has expressed in me, thus I aim even higher than I would on my own,” she said. “I don’t know of another university in the country that provides such generous financial support for faculty who specialize in arts and humanities disciplines, and the sheer volume of research that IU faculty members have been able to accomplish as the outcomes of New Frontiers grants is jaw dropping.”

Recipients of 2014-15 New Frontiers grants are:

New Frontiers of Creativity and Scholarship

  • Heather Blair, Department of Religious Studies, IU Bloomington, “The Gods Make You Giggle: Finding Religion in Japanese Children’s Picture Books”
  • Purnima Bose, Department of English, IU Bloomington, “Intervention Narratives: Afghanistan, the United States, and the War on Terror”
  • Judith Brown, Department of English, IU Bloomington, “Passive States: India and Global Modernism”
  • Maria Bucur-Deckard, Department of History, IU Bloomington, “The Century of Women”
  • Konstantin Dierks, Department of History, IU Bloomington, “Globalization of the United States, 1789-1861: An Interactive Digital Atlas”
  • Jeffrey Gould, Department of History, IU Bloomington, “Port Triumph”
  • Patricia Ingham, Department of English, IU Bloomington, “A Cultural History of Curiosity: Part 1, Monkey Business”
  • Sarah Knott, Department of History, IU Bloomington, “Mother: the past in our present”
  • Elizabeth Kryder-Reid, Department of Anthropology, IUPUI, “An Investigation of Stakeholder-Defined Value at Two Contested Cultural Heritage Sites in Indiana”
  • C. Thomas Lewis, Department of Human-Centered Computing, IUPUI, “Participatory Filmmaking Confronting HIV Stigma”
  • Eden Medina, School of Informatics and Computing, IU Bloomington, “How Data Become Law: Computer-Mediated Evidence in Cases of Human Rights Violations”
  • Jonathan Rossing, Department of Communication Studies, IUPUI, “Humor, Race, and Rhetorical Agency in Post-apartheid South Africa”
  • Kelly Alisa Ryan, Department of History, IU Southeast, “Violence, Self Presentation and Power”
  • R. Matthew Shockey, Department of Philosophy, IU South Bend, “The Bounds of Self: An Essay on Heidegger’s ‘Being and Time'”
  • Ruth Stone, Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology, IU Bloomington, “Ebola in Town: Critical Musical Connections in Liberian Communities during the 2014 Ebola Crisis in West Africa”
  • Alberto Varon, Department of English, IU Bloomington, “Textual Citizens: Literary Manhood and the Making of Mexican Americans, 1848-1959”
  • John Walsh, Department of Information and Library Science, IU Bloomington, “CoBRA: Comic Book Readership Archive”
  • Brenda Weber, Department of Gender Studies, IU Bloomington, “Gendered Modernity and Mediated Mormonism”
  • Gregory Witkowski, Lilly Family School of Philanthropic Studies, IUPUI, “Donors in a Dictatorship”

New Frontiers Experimentation Fellowships

  • Jim Ansaldo, Indiana Institute on Disability and Community, IU Bloomington, “Exploring the Impact of Improv Classes for Teens on the Autism Spectrum”
  • Lesley Baker, Herron School of Art and Design, IUPUI, “Digital Clay — Extrapolation”
  • Andrew Hopson, Department of Theatre, Drama and Contemporary Dance, IU Bloomington, “Using Motion Tracking to Control Audio Playback”
  • Gregory Schrempp, Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology, IU Bloomington, “Science the Second Time Around”
  • Susan Skoczen, Department of Humanities, IU Kokomo, “Electroformed Metal Mesh as New Material in the Creation of Wearables”
  • Rachel Wheeler, Department of Religious Studies, IUPUI, “Songs of the Spirit: Building Bridges between Eighteenth and Twenty-first Century Mohican Music”

Call for Proposals: 5×5 READ INDY

Indiana Humanities LogoIndiana Humanities and Indy Reads are teaming up to host a 5×5 event on Thursday May 14th. 5×5 is a platform for new and innovative ideas related to the arts. We eagerly seek inventive and inspiring proposals on the theme READ INDY.

We’re looking for ideas that use literature, reading, and/or the written word to create powerful arts and humanities experiences for the people of Indianapolis.

We’re inspired by projects like St. Paul’s Sidewalks Poetry and Maine’s “Stories for Life” alternative sentencing program, the tantalizing blurriness between the words “story” and “game,” and the myriad work of the Indiana-based Center for Civic Reflection. We think reading and literature can address important needs, like sustaining the bonds between an incarcerated father and his child or helping veterans reflect on and make sense of their military service. We believe everyone should get a chance to encounter the beauty and pleasure of literature, in unexpected places and during even our most mundane activities.

IRBlogo-243x300We invite you—artist, scholar, student, organizer, educator, Hoosier—to think big about how reading and the written word can deeply and positively impact people’s lives, and how the creative potential of the arts and humanities can help make it happen in Indianapolis. We challenge you to find ordinary places or everyday experiences that could be transformed by the infusion of reading and words. We encourage you to think of ways that reading together might change how we do our work, how we understand our lives and our world, or how we relate to each other.

The winning project, selected by a panel of judges with audience input at a live event on May 14, will receive $10,000 to take the proposal from idea to action.

We can’t wait to see your ideas for projects or program ideas that will, in the words of Plan 2020, build a more “authentic city life.”

Big Questions to Think About

  • How can the written word—literature, poetry, drama, essays—solve real problems in our city? Can literature intervene where other methods can’t?
  • How can the act of shared reading create or strengthen bonds among strangers, neighbors, families, friends, coworkers, or classmates—and inspire them to make their community better?
  • What wacky, imaginative, singular encounters with literature, reading and big ideas can draw new people into the arts and cultural life of Indianapolis?

Guidelines to Follow

  •  Anyone in the Hoosier state—individuals, collectives or organizations–is eligible to submit a proposal except employees or board members of Indiana Humanities and Indy Reads. We’re open to ideas from both individuals and non-profit organizations, so long as your idea will directly impact and serve Marion County.
  • Submissions must involve the humanities and/or arts (we know, we know—the lines are very fuzzy). Basically, if your proposal involves people having powerful experiences with the written word, you’re covered.
  • Submissions must be received via the online application by Friday, April 10.
  • Five finalists will be selected to present their ideas to a panel of judges and a live audience on the evening of Thursday, May 14. Finalists will be notified by Monday, April 20.
  • Finalists must be available for the event on May 14th from 4pm-9-pm.
  • Finalists must be available for a 1-2 hour meeting with Indiana Humanities and Indy Reads to go over logistics and presentation tips; this meeting will be scheduled at a mutually agreeable time in the three weeks prior to the May 14 event.
  • A $10,000 prize will be awarded to the winning presenter to implement their idea.
  • Only one idea per applicant will be accepted for READ INDY. You can apply again for other 2015 5×5 competitions.

Other Things to Keep In Mind

  • Think not only in terms of public projects but also of public programs that can engage a neighborhood, a community or a city in imagining a brighter future for Marion County.
  • You may propose a stand-alone project, program or series, or explain how the $10,000 prize will help you launch a larger, more long-term initiative.
  • The more participatory your proposed project idea, the better. In other words, we’re not terribly interested in proposals for book manuscripts. In your application, share your ideas about who will participate and what their participation looks like.
  • Finalists are often judged not only on the creativity of their idea, but also the feasibility. Do you have a realistic budget and work plan? If your idea requires the buy-in of key stakeholders, how will you get them on board?
  • Is someone else in the community already doing a project similar to the one you are proposing? Do an environmental scan to see if you are duplicating existing efforts. If your idea is similar, this may be an option for a creative and exciting partnership.
  • Bear in mind, individuals who apply must have fiscal sponsorship in order to accept the $10,000 prize. There are lots of great organizations in Indianapolis who can offer fiscal sponsorship: do your homework and we’ll be happy to direct finalists to sponsor organizations if they still need it come May.

How to Apply

Complete the short online application, making a compelling case for how your idea aligns with READ INDY, and what you will be able to accomplish with a $10,000 prize. The application deadline is Friday, April 10; no late applications will be accepted. Finalists will be notified by Monday, April 20. Finalists will pitch their ideas on Thursday, May 14 at Fountain Square Theater.


About 5×5

5×5 is a platform for new and innovative ideas related to the arts. At each of four events throughout the year, five finalists have five slides and five minutes each to present a creative project or program for the city of Indianapolis. Finalists present their ideas to a live audience and panel of judges. At each event, one winner will be awarded $10,000 to put their idea into action. The series of idea-generating events is hosted and shaped by some of the city’s most important young creative leaders.

5×5 was launched in 2013 by Central Indiana Community Foundation, Christel DeHaan Family Foundation and the Efroymson Family Fund as a way to inspire, ignite and financially support creative and innovative ideas related to the arts.

In 2015, 5×5 is partnering with Plan 2020, the Bicentennial Agenda for the City of Indianapolis. Indiana Humanities and Indy Reads will kick off the year with READ INDY, followed by AUTHENTIC INDY with the Harrison Center for the Arts, DREAM INDY with Big Car, and INVEST INDY with Verge.

About Indy Reads

The mission of Indy Reads is to promote and improve the literacy of adults and families in Central Indiana.

About Indiana Humanities

Indiana Humanities connects people, opens minds and enriches lives by creating and facilitating programs that encourage Hoosiers to think, read and talk.

Contact Information

Alyssa Newerth, Director of Advancement at Indy Reads. (317)275-4048

Leah Nahmias, Director of Programs at Indiana Humanities (317)616-9804

Congressional Research Grants Applications Available Now

dclogo_300px_400x400The Dirksen Congressional Center invites applications for grants to fund research on congressional leadership and the U.S. Congress. The Center, named for the late Senate Minority Leader Everett M. Dirksen, is a private, nonpartisan, nonprofit research and educational organization devoted to the study of Congress. Since 1978, the Congressional Research Grants program has invested more than $944,208 to support over 436 projects. Applications are accepted at any time, but the deadline is March 1 for the annual selections, which are announced in April.

The Center has allocated $50,000 in 2015 for grants (an increase of $15,000 over 2014) with individual awards capped at $3,500. Stay tuned for news on the application and selection process.

The competition is open to individuals with a serious interest in studying Congress. Political scientists, historians, biographers, scholars of public administration or American studies, and journalists are among those eligible. The Center encourages graduate students who have successfully defended their dissertation prospectus to apply and awards a significant portion of the funds for dissertation research. Applicants must be U.S. citizens who reside in the United States.

Complete information about what kind of research projects are eligible for consideration, what could a Congressional Research Award pay for, application procedures, and how recipients are selected may be found at The Center’s website.

To Apply: Download the Word document — Congressional Research Grant Application — and complete the required entries. You may send the application as a Word or pdf attachment to an e-mail directed to Frank Mackaman at Please insert the following in the Subject Line: “CRG Application [insert your surname].”

Deadline: All proposals must be received no later than March 1, 2015.

NEA Literature Fellowships: Prose, FY 2016 Applications Now Available

thThe Arts Endowment’s support of a project may begin any time between January 1, 2016, and January 1, 2017, and extend for up to two years. The NEA Literature Fellowships program offers $25,000 grants in prose (fiction and creative nonfiction) and poetry to published creative writers that enable recipients to set aside time for writing, research, travel, and general career advancement. Applications are reviewed through an anonymous process in which the only criteria for review are artistic excellence and artistic merit. To review the applications, the NEA assembles a different advisory panel every year, each diverse with regard to geography, race and ethnicity, and artistic points of view. The NEA Literature Fellowships program operates on a two-year cycle with fellowships in prose and poetry available in alternating years. For FY 2016, which is covered by these guidelines, fellowships in prose (fiction and creative nonfiction) are available. Fellowships in poetry will be offered in FY 2017 and guidelines will be available in the fall of 2015. You may apply only once each year. Competition for fellowships is extremely rigorous. We typically receive more than 1,000 applications each year in this category and award fellowships to fewer than 5% of applicants. You should consider carefully whether your work will be competitive at the national level.

Deadline: Mar 11, 2015 You must submit your application electronically through, the federal government’s online application system. The system must receive your validated and accepted application no later than 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time, on March 11, 2015.

Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL) Fostering Civil, Political, and Labor Rights in Cuba Applications Now Available

imagesDRL invites organizations to submit SOIs for programs that promote internationally-recognized individual, civil, political, and labor rights – as set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international agreements – in Cuba.

The Cuban government fails to respect freedom of speech and the press, restricts internet access, maintains a monopoly on political power and media outlets, circumscribes academic freedom, and maintains some restrictions on the ability of religious groups to meet and worship. The government refuses to recognize non-governmental human rights groups or permit them to function legally. The government continues to prevent workers from forming independent unions and otherwise exercising their labor rights. Common human rights abuses on the island include those involving the abridgement of the right of citizens to participate in their government, including through periodic and genuine elections, as well as the use of government threats, extrajudicial physical violence, intimidation, organized mobs, harassment, and detentions to prevent free expression and peaceful assembly. In addition, the government continues to engage in or permit the following abuses: short-term, arbitrary unlawful detentions and arrests, harsh prison conditions, selective prosecution, and denial of fair trial. Authorities also interfere with privacy, engaging in pervasive monitoring of private communications without legal authority and with impunity.

Award Amount:
Lower: $500,000 – Upper: $2,000,000
Organizations may form consortia and submit a combined SOI. However, one organization should be designated as the lead applicant.
Limitation: Two per Indiana University
An organization may submit no more than two applications.
IU Internal Deadline: 1/14/2015
DRL Statement on Interest Deadline: 2/5/2015
To apply for IU Internal competition:  For consideration as an institutional nominee, submit the following documents electronically to limited submission,, by January 14, 2015 for internal coordination. It is highly recommended that you contact Donna Carter at indicating your interest in this program to help expedite the review process.

  1. 1-2 page Statement of Interest (limitation does not include references) that includes:
    • A statement of work or synopsis of the program, including a brief statement on how the project will have a demonstrated impact;
    • A concise breakdown explicitly identifying the project’s objectives and the activities and expected results that contribute to each objective; and,
    • A brief description of the applicant(s) that demonstrates applicant(s) expertise and capacity to implement the program and manage a U.S. government award.
  2.  A letter of support from Chair or Dean
  3. Abbreviated CV for the PI (not to exceed 3 pages)

Limited Submission 

IUPUI applicants must copy Etta Ward,, on submissions.

Fellowship Opportunity at Washington College and John Carter Brown Library

Brown University's John Carter Brown Library.  Image taken from

Brown University’s John Carter Brown Library.

The C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience and the John Carter Brown Library invite applications for the Hodson Trust-John Carter Brown Fellowship, a unique research and writing fellowship. The deadline for applications for the 2015-2016 Hodson-Brown Fellowship is March 15, 2015.

The Hodson Trust – John Carter Brown Fellowship supports academics, independent scholars, writers, filmmakers, novelists and artists working on significant projects relating to the literature, history, culture, or art of the Americas before 1830.

Fellowship award: $20,000 plus housing and university privileges

Duration: two months of research in Providence, RI (any time between September and May) and two months of writing in Chestertown, Md. (any time between May and August)

Residence: In Providence, a private room in the John Carter Brown Library’s Fellows’ Residence; in Chestertown, exclusive occupancy of a restored circa-1735 house.

Work space: In Providence, space in the John Carter Brown Library; in Chestertown, a private office in the circa-1745 waterfront Custom House, home of the Starr Center

Deadline for 2015-2016:March 15, 2015

Further information and criteria:

Questions may be directed

Developing Diverse Researchers with InVestigative Expertise (DRIVE) Applications Available Now

imagesThe DRIVE program is designed to enhance the diversity and research and creative activity mission of IUPUI. Faculty from historically underrepresented populations, usually defined as African-American, Latino-American, Native American, Pacific Islanders, and women are particularly encouraged to apply. The DRIVE program supports projects that have the potential for sustainability through external funding.

Deadline: March 2, 2015 (SLA Internal Deadline February 23), 5 pm

Guidelines and Application

Release Time for Research (RTR) Applications Available Now


IUPUI maintains a robust research enterprise. To support faculty in having adequate time to prepare competitive proposals, the IUPUI Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research has developed the Release Time for Research (RTR) internal funding mechanism. This funding program allows IUPUI faculty a “buy out” of teaching time to prepare high quality grant/contract proposals for submission to external funding agencies. It also supports non-tenure track faculty who are full-time senior lecturers or clinical track faculty possessing terminal degrees relevant to their fields, and who have a desire to engage in research or creative activity in an area that directly relates to their teaching or service mission.

Deadline: February 2, 2015 (SLA Internal January 26), 5 pm

 Guidelines and Application