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Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage wants your stories

Special thanks for this guest post to Angelica Aboulhosn, Public Affairs Specialist with the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage.

The Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage invites partners, artists, and others from across the Smithsonian Affiliations network to showcase their work on the new CFCH digital magazine, Folklife. In doing so, contributors can spotlight their work, as well as the work of those individuals and communities they interpret or champion, to a combined audience of over one million viewers.

2011 Heritage Fellows

Photo credit: Roy (left) and PJ Hirabayashi, 2011 NEA National Heritage Fellows. Photo by Tom Pich, National Endowment for the Arts

The website, which launched last month, tells unforgettable stories of music, food, crafts, and culture that help us explore where we have come from and where we are going. Folklife showcases stories of place, history, language and cultural identity as well as the complex lives of individuals and communities—all with focus on the animating questions at the center of contemporary life, such as: How and when do we come together at a time when so much history and so many issues pull us apart? The Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage encompasses the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, and a series of cultural sustainability and research projects that together promote greater understanding and sustainability of cultural heritage across the United States and around the world.

Folklife features include short- and long-form pieces, which range in length from 500 to 1,500 words. Short-form work tends to personal, essay-style pieces, while our longer-form features explores a single issue in depth, often drawing connections between media of various kinds. Folklife also features photo and video essays, in case that better aligns with your work. Ours is an educated, culturally attuned audience looking for authentic, first-person perspectives rather than academic pieces. For the time being, all contributions are unpaid, but if your piece is accepted, it will be posted to the Folklife site and cross-promoted on our web and social media channels.

Turquoise Mountain calligrapher

Over half of Turquoise Mountain’s calligraphy and jewelry students are women, as the organization is committed to provided them with a sustainable source of income. Photo courtesy of Turquoise Mountain

Featured work can include a link to relevant museum websites, online exhibitions, and more. That said, these pieces are distinct from press releases in that they focus squarely on artists, communities, and the stories they have to tell, rather than on the details of one exhibition or another, thereby extending the life of the piece online.

We encourage you to reach out to Charlie Weber (WeberC@si.edu) on our editorial team with any new story ideas. For more information, see the examples below.

Long-form example: Radio Jarochelo: Connecting Communities
Short-form example: On Ink, Tradition, and the Handwritten Word: Learning Chinese Calligraphy

Affiliates, take note… grant opportunities

The Save America’s Treasures program offers grants for preservation and/or conservation work on nationally significant intellectual and cultural artifacts and historic structures and sites. Intellectual and cultural artifacts include objects, collections, documents, sculpture, and works of art. Historic structures and sites include districts, buildings, areas, and structures.

  • Grants are awarded through a competitive matching grant program. The program is administered by the National Park Service. A dollar-for-dollar, non-Federal match is required. The minimum grant request for collections projects is $25,000 Federal share; the minimum grant request for historic property projects is $125,000 Federal share. The maximum grant request for all projects is $700,000 Federal share. The deadline for proposal submission is May 21, 2010.

The Council on Library and Information Resources, an independent, nonprofit organization whose mission is to expand access to information, however recorded and preserved, has opened the pre-proposal application period for its Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives grant program.

  • The program will award funds to institutions (including historical associations and societies as well as archives, museums, libraries, and other cultural heritage organizations) holding collections of high scholarly value that are difficult or impossible to locate through existing finding aids. Award recipients will create descriptive information for their hidden collections that will be linked to and interoperable with all other projects funded by this grant with the purpose of forming a federated environment that can be built upon over time. Funding for the program comes from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
     
  • CLIR expects to award about $4 million in total grants ranging from $75,000 to $500,000 each. Go to http://www.clir.org/ for complete program information. The deadline is April 23, 2010 for pre-proposals.

The Endangered Language Fund provides grants for language maintenance and linguistic field work. The language involved must be in danger of disappearing within a generation or two. The work most likely to be funded is that which serves both the native community and the field of linguistics. Work which has immediate applicability to one group and more distant application to the other will also be considered. Publishing awards are a low priority, but will be considered.

  • Grants in this round are expected to be less than $4,000 each, and to average about $2,000. Eligible expenses include consultant fees, tapes, films, travel, etc. Overhead is not allowed. Grants are normally for a one-year period. Researchers and language activists from any country are eligible to apply. Awards can be made to institutions, but no administrative costs are covered. For complete details visit www.endangeredlanguagefund.org. The deadline for proposals is April 20.

 The American Sportfishing Association’s FishAmerica Foundation invites proposals for citizen-driven habitat restoration projects under its partnership with the NOAA Community-based Restoration Program.

  • The partnership requests proposals for local efforts to accomplish meaningful on-the-ground restoration of marine, estuarine, and riparian habitats, including salt marshes, seagrass beds, mangrove forests, and freshwater habitats important to anadromous fish species (fish like salmon and striped bass that migrate to and from the sea). Emphasis is on using a hands-on, grassroots approach to restore fisheries habitat across coastal America, the Great Lakes region, and U.S. Territories of the Caribbean.
     
  • A portion of the total available grant funds will be dedicated to projects that further NOAA’s Open Rivers Initiative. These projects must remove dams and other river barriers, in order to benefit living marine and coastal resources, particularly diadromous fish.  
     
  • The funders anticipate the availability of approximately $1 million in total funding; approximately $200,000 of the available funding will be dedicated specifically to projects furthering NOAA’s Open Rivers Initiative. Sub-awards will range between $10,000 and $75,000 per project. The RFP and application are available at the FishAmerica Foundation Web site, www.fishamerica.org.  The proposal deadline is June 7.