When Congress established the National Endowment for the Humanities, and subsequently the LEH, it defined the humanities to include the following disciplines:
- Foreign languages (classical and modern)
- Comparative religion
- Art history
- Theory and criticism
- Philosophical and historical approaches to social sciences
These fields are differentiated from the quantitative social sciences and the arts (visual, performing or creative). However, the social sciences and the arts can interface with the humanities in terms of method or content. For example, political theory and cultural anthropology and geography are considered humanities disciplines. So are folklore and certain interdisciplinary fields such as American, ethnic and women’s studies.
The LEH funds a variety of program formats including, but not limited to, planning, discussion, exhibition, short-term consultancies, and media projects. As the field of humanities continues to grow and diversify, the LEH remains open to new formats. Special consideration is given to projects that generate content for the wider audiences of Louisiana Cultural Vistas magazine and Know Louisiana, the Digital Encyclopedia of Louisiana.
- Discussion: This category includes projects that enable humanities scholars to meet directly with a public audience. Discussion projects may take the form of symposia, community forums, debates, conferences, seminars, workshops, discussion groups, lectures, and panel discussions.
- Documentary Film or Radio: This category provides funds for the production of documentary projects that use one or more humanities disciplines to examine a topic(s) of Louisiana history and/or culture.
- Digital Media: Accessible to the public through the Internet, this format consists of interpretive virtual exhibits of local history and culture, folklore/folkways and museum exhibits. The site developed may also be interactive and include teacher guidelines and curriculum materials.
- Exhibition Development: Exhibitions using artifacts, documents, works of art, and/or other cultural objects to interpret ideas and concepts are eligible. Funds may be used to assist in interpreting the permanent collections or temporary exhibitions of museums, or to assemble permanent or traveling exhibitions. In addition, eligible applicants may apply for funds for the interpretation of historic sites.
- Festivals/Literary or Film Festivals: This format includes informances, chautauquas, interpretive demonstrations of folkways and traditional food, music, crafts and practices, and scholar led film screenings and discussions as well as author readings and discussions.
- Planning: This format provides funds for completing the preliminary work necessary to plan complex humanities programs. Funds may be used to engage humanities scholars and/or consultants, to pay travel expenses and to cover other essential expenses. Planning Grants are available through the Outreach Grant program.
- Publication: Consists of the production of Louisiana humanities publications and photodocumentaries; interpretive brochures, guides and booklets, catalogues, and teacher manuals. Under this format, the LEH would also support the development of interpretive and historically/culturally significant, community walking/driving tours.
- Scholar-in-Residence: This format allows for the placement of a humanities scholar within an eligible sponsoring organization. Such a scholar could aid the sponsor in the planning and implementation of humanities programs; long-range planning efforts; defining and clarifying public policy issues; and increasing cooperative activities between the sponsor and local humanities resources.
Detailed requirements appear in the descriptions of specific grant types or formats.
Given the central role played by humanities disciplines in all LEH projects, humanities scholars should figure prominently in any LEH-funded project–as project planners, speakers, panelists, resource persons, and evaluators. If a grant applicant is not trained in, or professionally involved with the humanities, the first step for developing a program should be to engage an appropriate scholar as project advisor. If prospective applicants need assistance in locating humanities scholars, there are at least two avenues open. They can (1) discuss their needs with an appropriate dean or humanities department head at a nearby college or university, or (2) contact the staff of the LEH directly.
Programs must be designed to address the out-of-school public rather than exclusively the scholarly community. We encourage the participation of the general public. Programs may also target specific audiences, such as families, professional groups, ethnic and/or minority groups, or women’s groups. Representatives of the community must be involved in all phases of a project to complement the presence of the humanities scholars. The LEH encourages advance planning with community groups and consultation with LEH staff on outreach strategies.
To avoid advocacy and bias, programs sponsored by the LEH must provide for a balance of viewpoints, especially those projects dealing with controversial contemporary issues. For example, a project addressing the First Amendment’s relation to religion in public schools should provide subject matter for both sides of the issue.
The LEH awards grants to nonprofit groups, organizations and institutions operating in the state of Louisiana. However, the LEH will accept applications from ad hoc groups formed for the purpose of planning and implementing humanities programs. In some cases individuals may apply after consultation with LEH staff.
Cost share is the amount of funding provided by non-LEH sources. This support may be either in actual cash or in the form of in-kind contributions including volunteer time, contributed equipment and supplies, contributed facilities, and indirect costs.
Within the actual budget, LEH grant funds, as a rule, cannot be used for the following purposes:
- Food, entertainment or liquor costs
- Expenses incurred prior to the grant award date
- Equipment purchases
- Paid Advertising
- Indirect costs (overhead) of sponsoring organizations
LEH Staff reviews all grant applications submitted through the LEH online application portal. The online application closes at 11:59 p.m. on the day of the specified deadline. No exceptions are made. The staff issues recommendations to the LEH Grants Review Committee. The committee approves or rejects applications based on the project’s humanities content, the development and dissemination of new scholarship about Louisiana, the involvement of humanities scholars, audience and outreach, geographical diversity, community involvement and partnerships, synergies with other LEH programs, and applicant’s track record for completion of prior projects. See guidelines for specific grant tracks for additional requirements.
All grants require a Project Director’s Final Report and Final Budget for issue of final payments. Sponsoring organizations are obliged to provide an objective assessment of whether program activities fulfill or do not fulfill the original intent of the project as articulated in the grant proposal. All programs must include an outside independent evaluator to provide an objective assessment. The evaluation narratives supplement the quantitative data gathered from the audience. See guidelines for specific grant tracks for additional requirements.
The LEH staff is available to review preliminary proposals, suggest humanities scholars and outreach strategies, review preliminary budgets, advise on LEH guidelines and work with project directors to adapt projects for usage in Louisiana Cultural Vistas magazine and KnowLA, the Digital Encyclopedia of Louisiana. Click here to contact LEH grants staff today.