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LEH Accepting Public Nominations for Humanities Awards

The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities is now accepting public nominations for the 2017 Humanities Awards. Since 1985, the LEH has honored Louisianians who have made outstanding contributions to the study and understanding of the humanities. Awardees will be honored at the 2017 Bright Lights Awards Dinner scheduled for April 13 in Baton Rouge.

Individuals, institutions or organizations may submit nominations. Individuals, however, may not nominate themselves. Letters of nomination should not exceed two pages, and should detail specific accomplishments that qualify the nominee for the award. A curriculum vita for the nominee and other letters of support should accompany the letter of nomination.

Nominations must be received in the LEH office no later than 5 p.m. December 15, and should be addressed to: Humanities Awards Committee, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, 938 Lafayette St., Suite 300, New Orleans, LA  70113. Nominations also may be faxed to LEH (attention to Chair, Humanities Awards Committee) at 504-529-2358 or emailed to restovic@leh.org.

Award categories include:

  • Lifetime Contribution to the Humanities
  • Humanities Documentary Film of the Year
  • Michael P. Smith Documentary Photography
  • Humanities Book of the Year
  • “Light Up for Literacy”

The “humanities,” as defined by Congress, include the study of literature, history, philosophy, modern and classical languages, linguistics, archaeology, jurisprudence, art history and criticism, ethics, comparative religion, and those disciplines of the social sciences employing historical or philosophical approaches such as cultural anthropology or social theory.

The Humanities Awards Committee will select nominees who best exemplify one or more of the above categories. No single humanities area will receive primary consideration, but the nominees’ activities must reflect one or more disciplines in the humanities.

Awards criteria include:

  • Lifetime Contributions: Honors citizens who have supported and been involved in public appreciation of issues central to the humanities. The 2016 winner of this award was Beth Courtney, president of Louisiana Public Broadcasting, a public television network with affiliates in Lake Charles, Alexandria, Shreveport, Monroe, and Lafayette. Under her direction, LPB has produced award-winning documentaries, celebrated programs focused on Louisiana politics, and instituted new digital initiatives to preserve Louisiana history.
  • Michael P. Smith Documentary Photography: Honors documentary photographers whose subject matter exemplifies Louisiana topics and aesthetics. Nominations may be for a complete body of work or for a single project. The 2016 winner was photographer David Spielman of New Orleans.
  • Humanities Documentary Film of the Year: Awarded to the documentary film that best exemplifies scholarship on Louisiana topics or by Louisiana documentary filmmakers. Last year, this award went to Shape of Shreveport, a multi-episode series directed by Chris Charles Scott and produced by Jim and Will Broyles of Shreveport.
  • Humanities Book of the Year: Awarded to the book that best exemplifies scholarship on Louisiana topics or by Louisiana writers. Eligible books must be published prior to Nov. 1, 2016. Receiving awards in 2016 were Beyond Freedom’s Reach: A Kidnapping in the Twilight of Slavery, by Adam Rothman, the extraordinary tale of an enslaved woman’s struggle to endure the consequences of the Civil War; and Poverty Point: Revealing the Forgotten City, by Jenny Ellerbe and Diana M. Greenlee, which sheds new light on Louisiana’s UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Light Up for Literacy: Honors individuals who have made significant and lasting contributions to literacy efforts in the state. The award is presented in partnership with the Louisiana Center for the Book in the State Library of Louisiana and the Library of Congress. The 2016 award went to Herreast Harrison, Program Director of the Guardian Institute, a Ninth Ward community organization established in 1988 that promotes education and local cultural traditions.

For additional information about the annual humanities awards, contact LEH President Miranda Restovic at restovic@leh.org or visit the LEH website www.leh.org.

To view a list of last year’s winners, visit here.