Public Engagement Programs
The Whiting Public Engagement Programs, including the Public Engagement Fellowship and the Public Engagement Seed Grant, celebrate and empower humanities faculty who embrace public engagement as part of their scholarly vocation. They fund ambitious, often collaborative projects to infuse into public life the richness and nuance that give the humanities their lasting value. Over time, we hope they will also help cultivate communities of practice dedicated to this form of service; underscore just how essential history, philosophy, and the study of the arts are in helping us absorb the news of the day, participate as citizens, and live meaningful lives; and ultimately help to broaden understanding of the value of advanced work in the humanities.
These two programs are entirely separate: aspiring Fellows need not have received a Seed Grant, and receiving a Seed Grant does not automatically qualify a grantee for a future Fellowship. Both programs support ambitious public-facing humanities projects. The stage of a project will determine the relevant program.
About the Public Engagement Fellowship
The Whiting Public Engagement Fellowship of $50,000 is for public-facing projects far enough along in development or execution that the nominee can present compelling, specific evidence that they will successfully engage the intended public. For the strongest Fellowship proposals, both the overall strategy and the practical plan to implement the project will be deeply developed, relationships with key collaborators will be in place, and connections with the intended public will have been cultivated. In some cases, the nominee and collaborators may already have tested the idea in a pilot, or the project itself may already be underway.
About the Public Engagement Seed Grant
The Whiting Public Engagement Seed Grant of up to $10,000 supports projects at a somewhat earlier stage of development than the Fellowship, before the nominee has been able to establish a specific track record of success for the proposed public-facing work. It is not, however, designed for projects starting entirely from scratch: nominees should have fleshed out a compelling vision, including a clear sense of whose collaboration will be required and the ultimate scope and outcomes. They should also have articulated specific short-term next steps required to advance the project and understand the resources required to complete them.
Nominations are now being accepted for the 2022-23 cycle from invited schools, societies, and institutions.
Guidelines for the 2022-23 cycle are available online here. Nominators for this cycle should submit the names of nominees by June 1, 2021; nominees should submit their first-round applications through the online portal by June 14, 2021.
Please note that these programs are open only to candidates who have been nominated by one of our partner organizations. Nominating partners include universities, scholarly societies, humanities councils, and other institutions that are able to draw on a wide network of full-time humanities scholars working on publicly-engaged projects. Organizations interested in being considered as nominators in future cycles should e-mail us.
The Foundation will host five information sessions for nominees and prospective nominees to answer questions about the application and selection process. Sessions will take place on the first Wednesday of the month at 2pm ET between February and June, 2021 (Feb 3, March 3, April 7, May 5, June 2). Register for an info session here.
We are continually looking to expand our set of peer reviewers. If you have expertise in both the content of a humanities field and a mode of public engagement and would like to learn more, please e-mail us.
To learn more about publicly-engaged humanities across the United States, we encourage you to explore the National Humanities Alliance's Humanities for All initiative and the work of the state humanities councils.