GRANTS FAQ

Before submitting an Intent to Apply for either type of grant, applicants should carefully review the entire Grants section, including the Frequently Asked Questions below.


WHAT ARE THE HUMANITIES?

The humanities examine shared history, culture, values, and beliefs.

These fields of learning allow us to analyze our complex society and make thoughtful decisions based on inquiry, evaluation, and empathy. Humanities fields include (but are not limited to) anthropology, archaeology, area studies, art and architectural history and criticism, cultural studies, economics, ethics, ethnic studies, folklore, gender and sexuality studies, geography, history, history of science and technology, international studies, jurisprudence, languages and linguistics, literature, music history and criticism, philosophy, political science, religion and comparative religion, sociology, theatre history and criticism.

WHAT IS A HUMANITIES SCHOLAR?

Humanities scholars have deep knowledge of a particular subject as well as a broadly humanistic perspective and practice.

They may be internal staff or someone brought in from outside, depending on the needs of the project. This person helps you deepen and enrich the humanities content in your project. Traditionally, scholars have been academic humanists—university faculty, graduate students, or researchers who have an advanced degree in a humanities field and are employed by an institution of higher learning. Sometimes these scholars are instead public humanists—those who have an advanced degree in a humanities field, but are not affiliated with a college or university. They may work for non-profit organizations like museums, libraries, or cultural centers, or they may work independently. Other humanities scholars come from nontraditional backgrounds. They may not possess an advanced degree, but are defined by their own communities as keepers of knowledge and cultural resources.

WHAT IS THE ROLE OF A HUMANITIES SCHOLAR IN MY PROJECT?

A humanities scholar may serve many different functions in your project.
They may:
  • Advise during all phases of the project’s development.
  • Brainstorm content application and/or program design.
  • Provide content to develop or help shape ideas in a humanities project.
  • Research or write critical and interpretive materials: essays, exhibition text, curricula, script treatments, catalogues, etc.
  • Synthesize or contextualize your project within a broader humanities perspective.
  • Train project team and/or audience to do humanities-based work.
  • Serve as the moderator or discussant for public programming.
  • Lead a project planning process.

WHAT'S ALL THIS ABOUT AUDIENCES?

You may have noticed that the New Jersey Council for the Humanities grant guidelines mention “audience” over and over again.

That is because we believe that the humanities are for everyone, but only a limited slice of the population usually attends humanities programs. That means that many perspectives are missing from our conversations about history, culture, values, and beliefs. Many New Jerseyans do not have an opportunity to experience how the humanities can change their perception of the world and their place in it. These are the underserved and underrepresented audiences that we all want to reach. We have special love for projects that seek out these audiences and find ways to engage them.

CAN YOU GIVE ME A LIST OF UNDERSERVED AND UNDERREPRESENTED AUDIENCES?

No. Underserved and underrepresented audiences differ in each community.

Identifying people from your community who you would like to serve but are not serving now, or finding groups whose stories might be missing should be step one in developing the project for which you are going to be applying for funding from NJCH. These people are your intended audience, and their needs and interests – not to mention their participation – is a critical piece of your project design. We do know that some communities are often underserved or underrepresented in humanities work in New Jersey and beyond. A list of these audiences is included below, but it is certainly not an exhaustive list. Every community is going to have its own underserved or underrepresented audiences. You will better be able to identify those communities and make a case for them in your grant proposal.

We do know that some communities often lack representation in the humanities. They include:

  • People of color
  • Young people, especially ages 18-35
  • People who live far away from cultural centers like libraries and museums
  • People with physical disabilities, such as wheelchair users or the blind
  • People whose first (or only) language is not English
  • Those who are unable to get to programs easily, like nursing home residents, hospital patients, or prisoners

This is not an exhaustive list. But these are some populations to consider while brainstorming what audience(s) you wish to reach with your humanities project.

Also, traditional humanities program formats may also be a barrier—many populations are simply not interested in hearing a lecture or panel discussion. Some may not feel welcome in institutions they believe serve only the economically or intellectually elite.

HOW MIGHT THOUGHTS ABOUT AUDIENCE IMPACT MY APPLICATION?

It is critical for you to think deeply about audience when designing your programs and preparing your grant proposal.

If you know that you’re already reaching underserved audiences and telling the untold stories of your community members, make sure to tell us about it in your proposal. It is particularly important to note how you identified the needs of those communities and how you engaged their representatives in the work you’re doing. It may be helpful to be mindful of the slogan, “Nothing about us without us.” If you think reaching underserved audiences will help you expand your vision and fulfill your mission, but you’re having difficulty identifying these communities or making connections, we are here to help. We know that there are already many strategies that can help you achieve this goal – forming a partnership, trying new program formats, listening to your constituents, and helping overcome barriers. We are here to support you as you learn more about your community, plan for the future, and try new things. Our common goal is for the rich and diverse populations of New Jersey to have access to thoughtful and engaging humanities-based programs throughout the state. Let’s talk about how NJCH’s grant program can help you us fulfill that goal together.

WHERE CAN I LEARN ABOUT PREVIOUS GRANT PROJECTS?

NJCH press releases describe funded Incubation and Action Grant projects. Visit our News page to learn more. If you have additional questions, please contact NJCH staff.

CAN I PREVIEW THE APPLICATION QUESTIONS?

A preview of the Action Grant is available here. A preview of the Incubation Grant is available here.

INCUBATION GRANTS

Awarded twice per year, Incubation Grants support experimentation for projects that may be in the earliest stages of development. We encourage you to set out a bold vision and see where it takes you.

$1,000 to $5,000

ACTION GRANTS

Awarded once per year, Action grants help you implement longstanding humanities-based projects and public programs that may have been developed through Incubation grants or other planning processes.

$2,000 to $20,000