Humanities Programs in Focus | March 8, 2019 | By: Jessica Becker
We are so incredibly proud of the way our grant program provides crucial funds to support homegrown efforts in communities large and small around the state. For each WHC grant dollar we award, an average of $4.87* comes to the project as match from the local community. With seven deadlines every year, our grant program is accessible. It provides the assistance community leaders need to turn dreams into reality.
The recent grant awards are stellar examples. These projects bring people together for opportunities to stretch minds, meet new people, and explore ideas about what it means to be human today, in times past, and into the future.
Humanities events are happening all around the state, coming soon to someplace near you. You can read project descriptions here, find upcoming events here, and follow what is happening on our Facebook page!
Thank you for staying engaged, sharing your ideas, and supporting the humanities in Wisconsin. Now check out this impressive list of outstanding humanities projects we are funding!
Humanities Programs in Focus | December 14, 2017 | By: Meg Turville-Heitz
We’re pleased to award $8,000 to four great projects that tackle everything from the struggle for Civil Rights to negative stereotypes of Native Americans to regional culture and midwestern literature. The Wisconsin Humanities Council couldn’t fund these projects without support from the National Endowment of the Humanities. The NEH provides 90% of the funding that enables us to bring great programming, support and services to the state of Wisconsin. Project sponsors match grants in their community with an average of $3 for every $1 we award.
Congratulations to these four organizations! These projects tell meaningful stories about Wisconsin and bring communities together to explore important themes. We welcome you to be a part of the story and see these projects and events.
Inspiration starts here!
Humanities Programs in Focus | October 26, 2017 | By: Dena Wortzel
Heritage Days offers the “chance to overcome generations of mistrust and create passionate young historians who will keep history alive and relevant to our lives.”
Driving north on highway 13, just before you get to the town of Phillips in northern Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Concrete Park is hard to miss. More than 200 sculptures, made of concrete and studded with colored glass, depict giants, winged angels, figures of history and legend, menageries of wild and domestic animals, and various scenes of ordinary men and women in daily life. Read More
Humanities Programs in Focus | August 3, 2017 | By: Dena Wortzel
For many veterans of the Vietnam War, coming home was not about waving flags, proud friends and relatives, and open arms, as it was for the two veterans of Iraq who I helped to welcome home. Vietnam vets often felt, and were indeed treated, like pariahs even by family and friends. As Wisconsin veteran Bruce Canny told me recently, “Back then it was more or less to your advantage to keep it secret.” He recalls being shunned by one of his wife’s relatives, though they later became close.
It has been fifty years since Dow Chemical, the producer of napalm, was driven from the UW-Madison campus by the war’s opponents while, from towns across Wisconsin, men like Canny were being shipped to Vietnam – destined to come back changed, or not at all. Read More
Humanities Programs in Focus | March 30, 2017 | By: Jessica Becker
The humanities are about who we are and how we fit together.
There couldn’t be a more important time to talk about why the humanities matter. As we’ve said here before, the humanities are critical to civic discourse, community building, local identity, regional culture, and democracy.
What is the Wisconsin Humanities Council’s role in this? If the National Endowment for the Humanities is cut from the Federal budget, as has been proposed, the WHC would longer exist. If that happens, what will Wisconsin lose?
Or to put it another way, what is the real impact of the public humanities in Wisconsin? What strikes us most is how, like pebbles skipped across a pond, the community projects we support have many ripples.
Each WHC grant and every event we hold sets into motion untold numbers of creative ideas and personal connections, crossing through local and regional networks and touching every Wisconsinite. Read More
Humanities Programs in Focus | June 8, 2016 | By: Jessica Becker
Congratulations to the following three organizations!
The vagaries of the grant program are somewhat mysterious. For the May Mini-grant cycle, we had a smaller number of proposals than is typical. But what we lacked in quantity was made up for in quality. These three public humanities projects exemplify our mission to use history, culture and conversation to strengthen community life in Wisconsin.
Take a moment to read about these projects, reach out and congratulate their organizers, and mark you calendars for upcoming events.
Humanities Programs in Focus | March 2, 2016 | By: Jessica Becker
Congratulations to the following five groups for their recent Major Grant awards! If you read only the project titles, you may wonder at the ways these projects seem to be of a piece. It is as if, together, they are on a humanities mission.
The common reference to water is most obvious (Water Shapes Wisconsin, Wisconsin’s Underwater Treasures, Art on Tap: Wisconsin’s Early Breweries…). And indeed, water is a fundamental force that influences the culture and people of this region. When the students in Mt. Horeb consider the relationship between geography and music, they will find that musical traditions travel across the oceans to find purchase in places like Wisconsin. For students participating the the summer programs in Oulu, a town of about 500 people just six miles from the shore of Lake Superior, the stories they’ll learn of Finnish settlement in the area are intimately connected with Great Lakes culture.
There is also, we think, a strong resonance among the five funded projects that speaks to a desire for understanding how our place in Wisconsin fits in the wider world. Knowing how we fit helps us grapple with the continuity and brevity of our individual existence. And it is at the core of what The Humanities do.
So while each of these projects is unique and offers something special to its audience, together they increase our collective understanding. Together they are putting the tools of the humanities (curiosity, reflection, discussion) to work to reveal the complexity and beauty of life on earth. Read More
Tips for Grant Writers | December 2, 2015 | By: Bobbette Rose
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
Tips for Grant Writers | July 1, 2015 | By: Bobbette Rose
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 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 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
Humanities Programs in Focus | June 10, 2015 | By: Jessica Becker
We are proud to announce that six outstanding humanities projects have been awarded mini-grants. If this crop of summer projects is any indication, it’s going to be a great season.
With seven grant deadlines every year, we receive a wide range of applications. Our board members review each proposal and make funding recommendations. They are looking for projects that serve our mission, and they are specifically thinking about how well each proposed project meets the following criteria:
- Is grounded in the humanities
- Is rooted in the interests of their community
- Serves the public (We don’t fund projects intended for campus-only audiences.)
- Involves humanities experts
- Promotes and strengthens connections between people within the community
- Brings people together to explore and share ideas
- Fosters observation, inquiry, analysis, and/or reflection
- Promotes Wisconsinites’ understanding of our state, past, present, and future
- Reflects the organization’s commitment to improvement
Of course, our grant program is competitive. We cannot fund every proposal. But we are always impressed by the quality of the work being done by groups of people all over the state to bring the humanities to life for our communities. Thank you, and congratulations to the following six organizations!