Public Humanities Principals

Successful applications to Ohio Humanities demonstrate that the public Humanities are central to their project. As you review the information below, make sure to note how your project aligns with these principals and include this information in your final application

1. Cultural programs with a clear humanities focus

Your project must make use of a humanities perspective. Programs should situate and share stories in the context of the humanities, encouraging participants to engage in considered reflection on those stories.

  • Areas of study include: history, anthropology, folklore, archaeology, literature, languages, linguistics, philosophy, ethics, comparative religion, jurisprudence, historical and critical approaches to the arts, and aspects of the social sciences which use historical or philosophical approaches.
  • Ohio Humanities is unlikely to fund:
    • Projects that emphasize skills training, motivation, and empowerment, or the process of learning rather than reflection on and discussion of specific humanities issues.
    • Projects that emphasize the creative process or the art form (theater, dance, music, opera, visual, etc.) rather than the cultural, aesthetic, or historical contexts of art.
    • Projects that focus on construction, preservation, restoration, or the purchase of collections for museums or libraries.
    • Creation or purchase of a mural, memorial, monument, or plaque.
2. Cultural programs involving humanities professionals

Ohio Humanities prefers to fund the creation of content and places a high priority on supporting the work of humanities professionals. Ohio Humanities is unlikely to fund projects in which humanities professionals are not centrally involved in planning and/or implementing the program.

  • A humanities professional generally has an advanced degree in a humanities area of study (e.g. MA, MLS, or PhD). Projects may also draw on individuals with a wealth of relevant knowledge about a topic, but lack advanced training in the humanities (e.g. a local historian or educator). Applicants must be able to demonstrate how the humanities professional will ensure accuracy and provide relevant context and interpretation of the topic from a humanities perspective.
    • Be aware that there are specific requirements for living history and historical reenactment projects.
    • Scholar-performers must demonstrate extensive knowledge about the individual presented and the context of that person’s culture and times. Composite characters may be used only for relatively anonymous figures (e.g. canal digger or steelworker). Ohio Humanities may request a bibliography from scholar-performers.
    • Scholar-performers should have training in theater performance. Projects that make use of living historians must provide a video of the presenter with the application (DVD or a link to a video online).
    • Projects involving historical reenactment must depict events that originally occurred in Ohio and in the general area where the contemporary project will take place.
3. Cultural programs with public benefit
  • Allow Ohioans to interpret the past and imagine the future;
  • Guide Ohioans in defining individual beliefs, values, and aspirations;
  • Help Ohioans understand and engage diverse cultures;
  • Engage the broadest possible audiences;
  • Create and sustain vibrant communities;
  • Support the development of innovative opportunities and relationships.
  • Ohio Humanities does not fund:
    • Projects focusing on individual scholarship for academic or other specialized audiences.
    • Book publication costs.
    • Activities that result in academic credit, including fellowships or scholarships.
      • Ohio Humanities may choose to offer special programs that provide continuing education units for certain professionals.
    • A project that is to be used as a fundraiser for the sponsoring organization or other related organizations.
4. Cultural programs with balanced views

Public programs should encourage open discussion by raising questions among speakers and audience members.

  • Projects cannot advocate partisan or political courses of action.
  • Projects that deal with potentially controversial topics must give fair consideration and expression to alternative viewpoints.
  • Projects that address religious topics must scrupulously avoid any component that promotes advocacy or conversion.
  • Ohio Humanities does not fund:
    • Projects that do not present a balanced viewpoint.
    • Projects that discriminate against persons or groups.
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