No. These grants support projects that are hosted by an accredited institution of higher education in the United States. However, community partners (including but not limited to non-profit arts and cultural organizations) are able to receive subawards from the grantee college or university.
In A Typology of the Publicly Engaged Humanities, The Humanities for All initiative outlines various approaches to such work. While all aspects of these efforts form important bridges between segments of the humanities communities, this grant opportunity focuses particularly on the third category highlighted in the article: “Research initiatives involving higher education faculty and students partnering with community members in the creation of knowledge.” Reciprocity between the higher education constituencies and the community is key element of this kind of humanistic work.
While this definition emphasizes “research,” we would highlight two definitions from Imagining America’s Scholarship in Public: Knowledge Creation and Tenure Policy in the Engaged University (2009): In the report they emphasize:
Publicly engaged academic work is scholarly or creative activity integral to a faculty member’s academic area. It encompasses different forms of making knowledge about, for, and with diverse publics and communities. Through a coherent, purposeful sequence of activities, it contributes to the public good and yields artifacts of public and intellectual value.
They also note the different forms that these “artifacts” can take:
Community-based projects generate intellectual and creative artifacts that take many forms, including peer-reviewed individual or co-authored publications, but by no means limited to these. The continuum of artifacts through which knowledge is disseminated and by which the public good is served matches, in inclusiveness and variety, the continuum of scholarship. This is why we recommend the use of portfolios in the tenure dossier. The portfolio may include writing for non-academic publications; presentations at a wide range of academic and nonacademic conferences and meetings, as well as at participatory workshops; oral histories; performances, exhibitions, installations, murals, and festivals; new K-16 curricula; site designs or plans for “cultural corridors” and other place-making work; and policy reports.
Programs such as Imagining America, The Whiting Foundation’s Public Engagement Fellowship and Grants, Bringing Theory to Practice’s The Way Forward program, Project Pericles, and many of the over 2,000 projects in the National Humanities Alliance’s Humanities for All database provide vivid examples of this kind of work. Communities involved as partners are often located near the college or university, but not always, since work of humanists in partnership with scientists or business or incarcerated communities on challenges like climate change or public health or civil rights are certainly “publicly engaged,” even if the public might be broadly dispersed or inclusive.
Please note that this program seeks proposals that will advance projects related to six key themes: racial equity, climate change, US-global relations, public health and pandemic recovery, strengthening democracy, and exploring America’s diverse history.
The program funds established publicly engaged humanities projects that can demonstrate evidence of significant preliminary work as well as a record of accomplishment and impact with target audiences. Projects in the start-up phase or in early stages of development are ineligible for these grants.
No. These grants do not fund the creation of new projects or initiatives. Projects in the very early stages of development would not be competitive.
This program is intended as a relief program and aims to provide timely support for programs and projects that are confronting setbacks and disruption due to the pandemic. Therefore, the funds must be used completely during the 12-month award period, and we will not accept requests for no-cost extensions. We encourage applicants to consider how best to structure their budgets so that funds can quickly support staff, participants, and programming that have been adversely affected by the pandemic.
Yes. For the purposes of this program, indirect cost rates are limited to 10% of the overall grant budget.
Yes. The grant funds may not cover the following costs:
- overlapping project costs with any other pending or approved application(s) for federal funding and/or approved federal awards
- competitive regranting
- cancellation costs
- pre-award costs incurred more than 90 days before the start of the grant term
- equipment costs in excess of 20% of total project costs
- travel (both foreign and domestic)
- construction, purchase of real property, major alteration and renovation
- collections acquisition
- the preservation, organization, or description of materials that are not regularly accessible for research, education, or public programming
- promotion of a particular political, religious, or ideological point of view
- advocacy of a particular program of social or political action
- support of specific public policies or legislation
- projects that fall outside of the humanities and the humanistic social sciences (including the creation or performance of art; creative writing, autobiographies, memoirs, and creative nonfiction; and quantitative social science research or policy studies)
- support of non-US citizens
Online Grant Application Process
This will vary, depending on how much work you have prepared before you begin the application process. Simply filling in the form will probably take an hour, plus you will need to submit your proposal and supporting documents. You will also need to secure an senior administrator at your college or university to write a letter in support of your application. We highly recommend that you start the process several weeks before the deadline to get a sense of what is required and start preparing your materials.
No, you may work on it in multiple sessions, though you will need to save your work after you finish each section of the application. Once you have submitted the application, you cannot work on it again.
Applications for ACLS Sustaining Public Engagement Grants are read by scholars from diverse fields in the humanities and interpretive social sciences who have extensive expertise in the publicly engaged humanities and project management in a range of higher education institutions.
Yes, you may request feedback generated through ACLS’s peer review process by writing to [email protected] with the subject line “Request for feedback –” followed by your full name, e.g. “Request for feedback – Jane Q. Applicant.” Requests for comments from the 2021 competition must be received by June 30, 2022.
Due to the number of requests ACLS receives each year, and the work of administering new fellowships each spring, we do not begin processing feedback until the summer, after the competition year is complete. Thank you for your patience.
Please also note that feedback is made available at the discretion of each reviewer. Comments may not be available from every reviewer who assessed your application. We encourage peer reviewers to provide constructive feedback to applicants looking to improve on their ideas or how they express those ideas; comments are not an explanation or rationale for why an application was not selected for an award. Such feedback also is not intended to be directions that, if followed, would lead necessarily to greater success in other competitions.