Funded Grants

Environmental Economics Forum

This grant supports a two-day Environmental Economics Forum examining environmental philosophy and economics with the goal of educating the general public about the relationship between economics and the environment. During these two days in Asheville, NC scholars from the humanities and the social sciences will come together with community leaders to address issues of environmental ethics and theology, for example assigning monetary value to beauty and assigning jurisprudential value to mountains; making policy choices based on costs and benefits; and what - if anything - must be done with regard to climate change.  Throughout the forum, historical case studies will be presented in order to give the general public a mix of cautionary tales and successful models for the future.

The Odyssey Project

Sponsored by UNC Asheville

This grant supports a series of 3 community dialoguesat UNC Asheville  which use episodes from Homer’s Odyssey as the context for exploring current societal challenges. The first dialogue will be an introduction to the themes of the project, the second dialogue will use the episode of Odysseus at Ismaros as the context to discuss violence and colonialism and the seeds of its glorification, and the third dialogue will use Odysseus’ homecoming to Ithaka to discuss masculinity and how to get beyond the seduction of violence as virtue.

This project aims to offer a new framework for interpreting Classical texts which reveals continuing aspects of their importance in illuminating human behavior, and which brings these texts to a new audience to deepen public appreciation for their continued pertinence. The three dialogues will be free, open to the public and led by the multidisciplinary experts listed above in fields ranging from Classics to Education to Politics to sociology to medicine and psychology. Creating this journey using the context of Homer's Odyssey reveals the deep archetypal wisdom carried in Classical literature to help societies identify the dangers to look out for, as well as the support available to us when embarking together on an epic journey of transformation.

Building a Just World: A Campus/Community Film Series

The grant supports a film series to show three popular films on social justice to coincide with important commemorative events:  Windtalkers/Veterans Day/Native American Heritage Month; Selma/Martin Luther King Day; Suffragette/Women’s History Month.  An interactive panel discussion with the audience will follow each film.  Panelists will include at least one faculty member and one community member with expertise on the topic. Campus and community discussions of these films will promote civic education and civil discourse on of social justice issues today. Discussions of these films will also prompt participants to reflect on the principles of justice they hold most deeply and how they apply to the social justice issues raised in the films. 

Reinterpreting Historic Latta Plantation

Sponsored by Latta Place Inc

This grant supports a new exhibit in the visitor center which examines and reveals untold multicultural personal community stories of the enslaved people. The exhibit will feature a children’s explore and learn space, a community sharing platform with interactive post-your-stories, and it will also include a documentary of life on the plantation with accounts of all the enslaved people who once lived here. Additionally, the project will provide the impetus for public programs that create community dialogue on Race and Reconciliation.

The purpose of the project is to educate, promote, and preserve North Carolina’s backcountry history; the goal is to capture unheard local narratives like that of Lewis Phifer, a skilled mason. By shedding some light on the hidden histories passed down through generations within these communities, visitors will learn from firsthand accounts of those who lived in Huntersville and fought for their freedom. 

From Mothers to Mayors: Celebrating a Century of Women’s Suffrage

This grant supports a new exhibit entitled “From Mothers to Mayors: Celebrating a Century of Women’s Suffrage” and related programming.  2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment and the exhibit will chart the political challenges of the first suffragettes, highlighting local notable Gertrude Weil who set up her offices for the NC Equal Suffrage Association in Raleigh and launched the fight for the state to ratify the 19th amendment. The project will continue the exploration of women’s political activism featuring local women (from first female mayor in Raleigh, Isabelle Cannon to today’s current mayor, Nancy McFarlane) and the Women’s March of 2017, encouraging a new generation of women to participate in the political process.

Project Democracy 20/20

This grant supports a yearlong initiative that will explore American democracy through exhibitions, public programs and innovative community connections. The centerpiece of this project is the Smithsonian’s traveling exhibition, American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith. This project will spark discussions relevant to the presidential election year, a census year, the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment and the 60th anniversary of the Woolworth Sit-Ins. Using local, state and national histories we will explore questions like: What is democracy? Who votes and how? How have we used our right to protest? What are the rights and responsibilities of citizens?

Walking Through Carolina: An Outdoor Living Exhibit

Sponsored by UNC Charlotte

This grant supports an outdoor living exhibit to tell the story of North Carolina through plants crucial to its development. UNCC's Center for the Study of the New South and Botanical Gardens will interpret North Carolina's diverse cultures through a historical garden trail, illustrating how plants speak universally. Crops were brought here by many cultures and have incredible stories to tell. Visitors will learn through technology how plants were used in different communities, with experts hosting events to encourage intergenerational conversation. By fostering connections between nature and citizenship, the exhibit sparks engagement about being a North Carolinian.

Throughout the history of the Carolinas,’ plants and foodways have both divided and brought together citizens. The crops of the Carolinas came here from all over the world, brought by many different cultures, and for many different reasons. From the peanut, which originated in South America, made its way to Africa, and then was brought to the Carolinas by enslaved peoples and eventually evolved into the popular snack it is today, to sassafras, a native tree which provided a unique drink to native Americans that evolved into root beer, visitors who walk the Trail will learn how a plant used in one way by one community is now used differently in another. The living exhibit fosters connection between nature and citizenship that moves beyond a particular plant species. 

Roots & Routes: Stories of Refugees and Migration in the High Country

This grant supports a series of popular education workshops, for the migant community participants will share, explore, and learn from one another’s migration experiences. People’s stories are expressions of their lives. By making connections to others’ stories, we come closer to understanding how they experience the world and increase our capacity for empathy. For decades, migrants and refugees to NC have helped to build our roads, grow our food, and care for our elders, but their stories and humanity remain invisible to many residents. Their experiences and voices are missing from our schools, libraries, museums, and other cultural venues. The state’s growing Latinx population is well-documented; however, few people are aware that NC is home to the fourth largest Hmong population in the US. The project will consist of two interrelated phases: 1) a series of popular education workshops with Latinx and Hmong migrants and refugees; and 2) educational curricula development. By processing and sharing their experiences with others, migrants and refugees engage in an important act of identity claiming and construction; they shape the narrative that gets told about their lives. Through this shared dialogue, participants will create spaces for individual reflection, empathy, and consciousness raising.

Indian Summer Program Series

This grant supports the Schiele Museum's "Indian Summer Program Series." This project is intended to broadly share the American Indian story with audiences by introducing museum visitors to guest presenters and researchers through a series of educational programs geared towards public and student audiences. Through this series, the museum will work to enlighten citizens about the rich and complex history and culture of the American Indian and increase community awareness of Indigenous Peoples, their unique perspectives and challenges, both within this region and across the nation.

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"Songlines" The Historic Jarvisburg Colored School

Sponsored by Currituck County

This grant supports research and development activities for the project "'Songlines' The Historic Jarvisburg Colored School. The Historic Jarvisburg Colored School (HJCS) was founded by freed slave William Hunt in 1868. The "Songlines" Project will capture their creative, childhood daily life through southeastern regional songs as sung by their grandchildren, great-grandchildren and local school children, making this a truly multi-generational research project.