March 2, 2017
Seven organizations awarded INcommon Grants

Learn more about the seven new projects awarded through our INcommon Grants, as part of the NEH’s Humanities and the Legacy of Race and Ethnicity initiative.

Indiana Humanities is pleased to award seven new projects through our INcommon Grants, as part of the NEH’s Humanities and the Legacy of Race and Ethnicity initiative. The projects, which will bring Hoosiers together to consider the persistent social, economic, cultural and racial issues that confront our communities, demonstrate how the humanities are vitally relevant for tackling issues in our state.

The goal of INcommon was to seed projects that creatively and thoughtfully used humanities ideas, readings and scholars to spark in-depth conversation, insight and consideration into others’ points of view.

Each of these projects not only will create powerful and meaningful learning opportunities for Hoosiers, they also serve as models of public humanities excellence:

Water Is Life: Native Peoples of the Great Lakes | Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art

Award: $3,900

The Eiteljorg will present a symposium to analyze how indigenous peoples shaped the land and history of the Great Lakes region. The program will explore how for indigenous peoples living today, being native is not just a racial/ethnic identity—it is also a political identity where individuals’ rights rest within their status as a citizen of their respective tribal nation, a sovereign nation. The program will create a dialog with the broader community to discover shared values centered upon water.

Thirteenth: Literature and Legacy | Trustees of Indiana University (Indiana University Kokomo)

Award: $4,479

Indiana University Kokomo will present “Thirteenth: Literature and Legacy,” a public humanities program that invites Hoosiers to come together for conversation about seminal texts of African American literary and legal history. The works under consideration span three centuries of American history, beginning in the antebellum period, moving through the Civil War and Jim Crow, and culminating in a reexamination of race and justice in 2016. This reading and conversation series comprises four events, three of which feature a reading of a primary literary text, followed by a brief lecture and community conversation guided by a scholar-facilitator with expertise in the field. The fourth and final event will screen 13TH, followed by a discussion about the film with a scholar-facilitator.

Deep Dialogue: Readings on Race and Ethnicity | Writers Guild at Bloomington

Award: $4,317

The Writers Guild will highlight four contemporary poets whose writing explores the meanings of race, history, beloved community and healing. The guild will host six events, starting with a scholarly panel open to the public to provide historical foundations of the racial/ethnic groups being discussed and the impact of literature in revealing the experiences of these groups. Four workshops will offer contemplative readings and discussions of the selected poems, and a closing event will allow attendees to evaluate the impact of the workshops and discuss how this work might be continued in the future.

The Art of Being Black in America | Trustees of Indiana University (IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs)

Award: $4,994

“The Art of Being Black in America” event will bring together scholars, practitioners and artists whose work draws upon the intersection of African American history, race, and popular culture in order to ignite a conversation about how the creative arts have the capacity to give individualized voice(s) to historically silenced people. An outdoor screening of a research-based film and small group discussions follow the panel.

PEOPLE + PROPERTY: Uncovering Housing Inequities | The House Life Project in partnership with Renew Indianapolis

Award: $5,000

The House Life Project (HLP) will collaborate with humanities scholars to organize a series of community conversations that explore racial and ethnic discrimination in housing policy. Scholars will generate essays in response to each conversation to document and contextualize the complexity of the issues. The events are designed to be intimate in scale (approximately 15 to 20 people), whereas the essays will reach a broader audience via the HLP website, photocopied zines and other public outlets.

Powerful Conversations on Race | Indiana University on behalf of Spirit & Place, a project of The Polis Center at IUPUI

Award: $5,000

As Spirit & Place celebrates the theme of POWER in 2017, it will launch “Powerful Conversations on Race,” a community discussion series that will bring together diverse citizens, humanities-based readings and facilitators trained in the civic reflection dialogue model for critical conversations on historical and contemporary issues surrounding race. The primary source for this work will be The Charleston Syllabus: Readings on Race, Racism and Racial Violence (2016). Spirit & Place will provide 24 individuals with civic reflection training and work with them to facilitate a number of community conversations around central Indiana.

Welcoming Refugees: Communities in Conversation | Butler University (Desmond Tutu Center)

Award: $4,995

The Desmond Tutu Center proposes a two-part project. The first part of the project is to complete the finishing touches on an in-progress short documentary film featuring refugees from Burma and the Indianapolis communities that have welcomed them. The second part of the project would use the documentary to engage Indianapolis communities in conversations that raise local awareness of the presence of refugee neighbors in hopes that awareness will lead to cooperation and collaboration.

Review committee members were tasked with narrowing down an incredibly competitive pool of 38 applications. Our reviewers, leaders and experts from civic, academic and cultural life, included Modupe Labode, Professor of African American Studies and Museum Studies at IUPUI; Doran Moreland, IH board member and Executive Director of Statewide Diversity and Community Outreach for IvyTech Community College; Doneisha Posey, Administrative Law Judge for the Indiana Civil Rights Commission; Tim Robinson, JD, IH board member and Director of Grants Management at Lumina Foundation; and Tiffany Tolbert, Northwest Field Office Director for Indiana Landmarks.

Funding for this one-time grant comes in part from the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Humanities and the Legacy of Race and Ethnicity initiative.


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