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The Center for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities (CEAH) supports Iowa State faculty research and activities in the arts and humanities. Currently CEAH offers funding for Faculty Learning Communities, Symposium Grants, Research Grants, Digital Humanities Summer Institute Support, and the Donald R. Benson Memorial Lecture. See individual grant programs below for the most recent descriptions, deadlines, and guidelines. For additional funding opportunities from the Office of the Vice President of Research visit Grants Hub.

New Explorations: Faculty Learning Communities

Spring 2020 application deadline: April 20, 2020

The Center for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities (CEAH), in collaboration with the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR), is initiating a program that seeks to bring together potential collaborators interested in a particular topic through Faculty Learning Communities. These new learning communities are designed to lay the groundwork for long term, collaborative, interdisciplinary research partnerships. The goals of the learning communities are manifold. One goal is to create durable research teams that emerge out of mutual interest that holistically address problems from different disciplinary perspectives. Another is to develop an ecosystem of interlinked interdisciplinary faculty researchers that is both broad and deep. Yet another is to begin breaking down the many silos that exist on campus, to improve information flows, and set the stage for future high impact research projects that cut across disciplinary boundaries. The outcome of the learning communities is to build interdisciplinary teams of researchers from multiple disciplines across the University, who will be positioned to develop long-term collaborations that address major societal issues facing Iowa, the United States, and beyond.

This RFP seeks proposals from either individual faculty or small groups of faculty from any discipline (s), interested in developing and convening a learning community. Proposals for learning communities can be formed around any potential research topic. The primary stipulation is that topics should be framed in ways that emphasize their breadth, interdisciplinarity, and inclusivity, and written so that scholars from the arts, humanities, social sciences, sciences, and technologies may be equally engaged. Examples of topics include, but are by no means limited to, science fiction, artificial intelligence, or food systems.

The point is to begin at the beginning, with few restrictions or prescribed outcomes. The hope is that after initial support from CEAH and OVPR, learning communities will become self-sustaining. Eventually, we hope to see members of these communities develop collaborative publications, symposia, grant applications, courses, and other expressions of scholarly output. The emphasis at this point is helping individuals with overlapping interests find one another and begin the process of building intellectual fellowship.

Applicants are encouraged to contact the CEAH Director, Carlton Basmajian ( or Surya Mallapragada (, OVPR, for guidance prior to submitting proposals.

Symposium Grant

Proposals are due two times per year, October 11, 2019 and February 14, 2020

CEAH provides Symposium Grants to support the creation of artistic and scholarly conferences, symposia, or seminars on ISU’s campus that will attract significant national attention and bring recognition to the scholarly work being done by ISU’s arts and humanities faculty. In addition to enhancing the ISU research mission these symposia should broadly benefit the intellectual environment at ISU, offering a public event, such as a keynote address, that will attract a broad audience. Preference will be given to proposals that promote innovative or emergent themes, and that contribute to advancing arts and humanities research at ISU.

Research Grant

Proposals are due two times per year, October 11, 2019 and February 14, 2020

CEAH provides grants for research and creative activity that makes a significant contribution to the scholarly development and academic career progression of faculty in the arts, design and humanities. Projects should employ predominantly artistic and humanistic approaches and have outcomes clearly falling within the arts and humanities disciplines.

Digital Humanities Summer Institute Support

Applications are due January 20, 2020

As an institutional partner of the Digital Humanities Summer Institute at the University of Victoria,
British Columbia, CEAH is able to award five free registrations to Iowa State faculty and graduate students.

The Digital Humanities Summer Institute offers nearly fifty separate courses and a number of short workshops on all aspects of digital humanities. Courses run for one week (usually mid-June), while workshops are held the preceding weekends. An extensive range of topics are covered, appropriate either to those just entering the field of digital humanities or to those with more experience, and online registration is available.

To apply for the free registration to the Institute, see guidelines at the link below.

Donald R. Benson Memorial Lecture Call for Nominations

Spring 2020 application deadline: January 20, 2020

The Center for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities welcomes nominations for the Donald R. Benson Memorial Lecture on Literature, Science and the Arts to be given during Spring 2020.

This endowed lecture fund honors Donald Benson, a former ISU English professor who had a long-term interest in the relationship between intellectual disciplines.  It is requested that the public lecture embrace the relationship among the disciplines of literature, science and the arts, not merely highlight one of the three areas.

Find more information and preview previous Donald R. Benson Memorial Lectures here.

To submit a nomination for the Benson Lecture, see guidelines below. Applications are due January 20, 2020.