Archive for the ‘Tips for Grant Writers’ Category

Grants 101: Healing through the Humanities

Humanities Programs in Focus, Tips for Grant Writers | December 1, 2016 | By:

A poem and artwork by a participant in an Untold Stories workshop

It’s through the reflection allowed by the humanities that we gain the perspectives that help us heal.

by Meg Turville-Heitz

We’ve been looking at measuring the impact of humanities programs through evaluation. Last time, I wrote about evaluating impact internally – how we improve our own programs with honest post mortems. This article focuses on our external impact and talking about why the humanities matter. Read More


Grants 101: Evaluating your relationships

Humanities Programs in Focus, Tips for Grant Writers | November 2, 2016 | By:

Picturing Milwaukee People & Places

Experiences with the humanities change lives. We know that. We also know that beyond the tally of who participated directly, the impact of an encounter with ideas can ripple outward in unpredictable ways.

by Meg Turville-Heitz

A few weeks ago I started a conversation about evaluating our impact in “Taking measure of your humanities project.” I talked about how we can evaluate impact both from the perspective of how programming affects how organizations operate, and what individual participants take home. This week, I’m sharing the story of Professor Arijit Sen’s project, Picturing Milwaukee, as a case study in using participant feedback to improve programming and organizational relationships.

I visited Sen at his UW-Milwaukee Building-Landscape-Culture field school this past summer to talk about how his project evolved since he received two Major Grants from the Council several years ago. His experience was enlightening. He looked beyond the feel-good successes in participant evaluations of his project to focus on where he missed the mark.

In thinking through those short-comings, Sen built a far better project and more meaningful partnerships that led to a much deeper community impact than he had initially imagined. Read More


Grants 101: Taking measure of your humanities project

Tips for Grant Writers | September 22, 2016 | By:

Electric flash

It was a fabulous project. The best project. Everyone said so …

Taking measure of your humanities project

by Meg Turville-Heitz

Evaluations. Ugh, why? You’ve completed your project and it’s time to move on to the next thing. Sometimes it feels like a forced exercise in number crunching and self-scrutiny that can kill the buzz from your successes. Other times it may leave you feeling like you are sugar-coating a big lemon.

Evaluations get a bad rap. Really. Good evaluations promote better projects – both our ability to offer guidance, and your ability to design great programming. Evaluation can help institutions improve how they do their work and provide a way to talk about why the humanities matter. Thus we’re taking a step back and looking again at how we measure what we measure. We’re realizing we can do better. And there are some pretty compelling reasons why we need to. While reporting numbers and dollars is a function of grant funding everywhere, it’s really the impacts that matter, especially in the humanities.  Read More


Our New Grant Program Director is Here!

Humanities Programs in Focus, Tips for Grant Writers | July 14, 2016 | By:

New WHC grant program director's farm

This is where our new Grant Program Director, Meg Turville-Heitz, calls home.


We are excited to introduce you to Meg, our new Grant Program Director!

Hi! I’m Meg, the new WHC Grant Program Director.  I’m the newest member of the Wisconsin Humanities Council staff and I’ve been asked to introduce myself. Pleased to meet you! I’m eager to learn about your public humanities programs and work with you on your grant applications.

I’m a writer; writing an introduction should be easy. But I have that Midwest “humble” ingrained from birth, that tendency to not crow, to blush at praise, and to self-deprecate whenever there are opportunities to shine. Add to that an irreverent and somewhat gallows-minded sense of humor and I spend a lot of time kicking myself, mostly metaphorically, with under-the-breath “I shouldn’t have said that” moments.

But I digress.

Read More


Reflections: Our Favorite Humanities Experiences of 2015

Humanities Programs in Focus, Our Working Lives Project, Tips for Grant Writers, Voices from the Field | January 20, 2016 | By:

Header-imageSMALL


The past year has been an important year at the WHC. We have been working hard to use our online presence to support and strengthen the statewide humanities community. These efforts include using Facebook to spread inspiration, encourage curiosity, and celebrate your work, and ours. We also participate in the lively and often reverential Twitter conversation about the public humanities.

And here, on Humanities Booyah, we are sharing best practices for public programming, talking about the challenges of writing grant proposals, and highlighting voices, ideas and projects with articles written just for you. A year ago, we declared our goals for this online magazine. In the coming year, we will be Read More


Grants 101: Be Good, Be Brief, and…

Tips for Grant Writers | December 2, 2015 | By:

Be-Brief

Be Good, Be Brief, and…Be Gone, a board member of the historical museum I once directed used to advise me.  A retired corporate executive and the organization’s treasurer, he was fond of dispensing aphorisms with a wink in his eye.  He taught me, a graduate student with more words than available pages, the importance of a one-page memo.  He taught me how to get to the point.

One challenge of writing a strong grant proposal is Read More


What Is(n’t) Oral History. Or, the Rise of the “Oral History of [Fill in the Blank].”

Tips for Grant Writers, Voices from the Field | November 18, 2015 | By:

The-Simpsons-Season-15-Episode-2-My-Mother-the-Carjacker

 

Troy Reeves works as an Oral Historian for the UW-Madison Archives, which is a part of the UW-Madison Libraries. For over ten years,  Troy has been keeping an eye on where and how the term ‘oral history’ pops up on the internet. It turns out that not all of the claims meet his professional criteria for best-practices in recording, preserving and archiving personal stories. 

After arguing for the power and the value of Oral History in a previous Humanities Booyah article, he suggested it might be useful to address the common use of the term for those of us working in the public humanities. Troy’s love for pop-culture doesn’t mean he wants to see the work of Oral Historians go completely rogue, at least not entirely.

Read More


Announcing Grants for Northern Wisconsin

Tips for Grant Writers | August 12, 2015 | By:

NW-WI-Writers-Fest-quote

Whether you think of it as north of HWY 8, HWY 29, or HWY 10, northern Wisconsin is known for many things—snow, bears, outdoor sports, lakes and woods and some would say, a unique Up North culture. Joel Friederich, an Associate Professor of English at UW-Barron County, is doing all he can to add literature to the mix by strengthening what he calls a ‘NW Wisconsin literary landscape.’ 

This weekend is the second annual Northwest Wisconsin Writers Festival. How a connection to place can inform and ground writing will be one of the topics of discussion among authors and audiences. The featured authors, Nickolas Butler and Marnie Mamminga, are both known for stories and characters set in northern Wisconsin. Read More


Grants 101: Working With Humanities Experts

Tips for Grant Writers | July 1, 2015 | By:

Grant Program Director Mark Livengood shares some tips for grant writers periodically here as part of Humanities Booyah. Mark consults in person and over the phone with people all the time, listening to ideas and talking through potential public humanities projects. He is approachable and insightful. He also notes that some questions come up again and again. This week he gives us some of his talking points on the subject of Humanities Experts. 

We have seven clearly stated  criteria for judging grant proposals listed in our Grant Guidelines. One is that projects should be firmly grounded in the humanities: “Strong public humanities programs engage humanities experts and community members so that both local knowledge and academic expertise are respected.”

So what, exactly, do we mean by ‘humanities expert?’

Ojibwe artist Wayne Valliere works with students

Ojibwe artist Wayne Valliere works with students as part of a 2013 WHC Major Grant-funded project called “These Canoes Carry Culture: Birchbark Canoe Building for At-Risk Youth.”

When describing the grant proposal they’re working on, people sometimes ask me “What does the WHC mean by humanities expert?”  I usually mention the definition included in our grant guidelines.  In the spirit of the WHC’s Working Lives Project, I’ve reformatted that definition into a brief position description for a WHC humanities expert: Read More


What Good Oral History Is All About

Tips for Grant Writers, Voices from the Field | May 20, 2015 | By:

IMG_0409Troy Reeves oversees what he casually calls ‘oral history activities’ at the UW-Madison Archives, which is a part of the UW-Madison Libraries. He came to Wisconsin via Idaho, where he was Idaho’s Oral Historian (employed by their state historical society). Over the past eight years he has converted the UW collection’s audio oral histories from analog to digital and been extremely proactive around the state to support and facilitate oral history projects.

Since his arrival in 2007, Troy’s expertise as an oral historian has been highly sought after. In fact, he has been involved as a consultant in so many WHC-funded grants, we wonder if he has cloned himself to get all the work done. Until recently he was the only full-time oral historian at the state or university level.

Troy believes strongly in the power, and value, of oral histories. So we asked him to share with you some of what he does when he is working with groups to get oral history projects started on solid footing.

Important Things to Know about Oral History: A Short Essay on a Big Topic 

I’ve been a professional oral historian for just about 16 years.  I still remember my first public presentation, back in 1999, on the topic. But not for what I said. Rather for the first question (really two) asked of me:

“Who are you?” And “What are you doing here?” Read More