Kansas University’s Hall Center for the Humanities has received a $425,000 challenge grant notification from the National Endowment for the Humanities in support of a new research collaboration initiative.
The Hall Center will receive the funds, provided they raise just over $1.2 million in a 3-to-1 match.
“The timing for us is really terrific,” said Victor Bailey, Hall Center director, noting that the project will streamline with KU’s ongoing universitywide fundraising campaign.
Bailey said the Hall Center has received two similar grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities in the past.
In both cases — one in the 1980s and another in the early part of the last decade — the Hall Center was able to raise the funds necessary to secure the grant funding.
The funds will support researchers looking to collaborate more on research. The old model of research often includes “soft collaboration,” Bailey said, which could include some discussion at a conference with colleagues but results in a single author producing a published work.
The new model will look to build humanities projects that involve collaboration, both inside and outside KU, throughout the process.
One example of that kind of research, Bailey said, is a project involving Peter Grund, an assistant English professor.
Grund is working on a project involving the Salem Witch Trials, Bailey said, and is seeking to determine the identity of the person who wrote down the depositions in legal documents of the era. The project involves several different academics, including one from outside the country, working on linguistic, handwriting and other analyses of the documents.
If successful, the funds raised will establish an endowed fund that will benefit the center in perpetuity.
“I’m hoping, of course, that if we seed these projects that they will then go on to get backing from other external funding agencies,” Bailey said.