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04.07.2022: South Side Home Movie Project Awarded $195,000 ACLS Sustaining Public Engagement Grant

Written by on 04.13.2022

The South Side Home Movie Project, based at University of Chicago’s Arts + Public Life, has received an ACLS Sustaining Public Engagement Grant, as part of a $3.5 million responsive funding program made possible by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)’s Sustaining the Humanities through the American Rescue Plan (SHARP) initiative. The ACLS Sustaining Public Engagement Grants are designed to repair the damage done to publicly engaged humanities projects and programs by the social and economic disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The South Side Home Movie Project (SSHMP) has been awarded $195,000 for the project Restoring Connections: The South Side Home Movie Project and Cultural Preservation in Chicago, which will recover vital connections to local home movie donor families
through the preservation and digitization of their films, recording of their oral histories, and activation of their home movies across multiple public platforms. Additionally, it will re-engage the neighbors and partner organizations whose critical role as community archivists was abruptly halted due to the pandemic, and support students whose customized cataloging work within SSHMP was suspended. The members of the principal project team at the University of Chicago are Dr. Jacqueline Stewart, Director of SSHMP, Director (on leave) of Arts + Public Life and Professor of Cinema + Media Studies, Dr. Adrienne Brown, Interim Director of Arts + Public Life and Associate Professor of English, Justin Williams, SSHMP Archivist and Project Manager, and Sabrina Craig, SSHMP Assistant Director of External Engagement.

“The Covid pandemic disproportionately impacted elder Black and Brown communities, robbing us of our friends and neighbors, vital local repositories of memory and artifact. And the lockdowns and campus closures brought our critical film preservation and community-engaged research work to a standstill,” says Dr. Stewart. “Our priority now is the preservation of these fragile films and the collection of memories and descriptive data from those most impacted by the pandemic.”

“The heart of our work is the relationships we cultivate with our film donors, their families, and our community,” says Dr. Brown. “This tremendous support from ACLS will help us reconnect in person through public programs, watch parties, oral history sessions and community cataloging workshops with the families, neighbors, students and partner organizations we’ve missed so much.”

The South Side Home Movie Project is one of 24 grantees, representing outstanding public programs based at a variety of public and private institutions from 18 states and Puerto Rico. Awarded programs have demonstrated a deep commitment to the co-creation of knowledge with diverse communities outside of academia and promising approaches to addressing the most pressing issues our society faces today.“

The National Endowment for the Humanities is grateful to the American Council of Learned Societies for administering American Rescue Plan funding to speed economic recovery within the higher education sector,” said NEH Chair Shelly C. Lowe (Navajo). “Our colleges and universities are important centers for public humanities, with immense potential to serve their communities through educational resources and public programs that reach broad audiences. These ARP awards will expand public access to new information and discoveries in the humanities, and foster greater collaboration between academic institutions and community partners.”

“ACLS is proud to support these outstanding examples of publicly engaged, community-centered scholarship,” said ACLS President Joy Connolly. “Direct engagement with communities beyond the walls of academia is essential to the continued creation of knowledge for the public good. At the same time, these programs will help in expanding our definitions of humanistic scholarship and in contributing to solutions for a brighter future for all.”

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 appropriated supplemental funding to the NEH to provide emergency relief to cultural organizations and educational institutions and organizations working in the humanities that have been adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The Act recognizes that the humanities sector is an essential component of economic and civic life in the United States.

#SHARP #NEHRecovery