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Small Conferences

The Center for the Humanities supports small conferences on focused topics in the humanities.

Events such as film festivals, symposia, panel discussions, round-tables, paper and poster presentations, and the like, taking place over several days are eligible to receive small conference support of up to $5,000.


These guidelines do not stipulate the required format of Small Conferences. However, such an event may include:

  • Panels given over to guided group discussion of a focused topic
  • Panels devoted to the presentation of a prepared remarks or papers, followed by discussion
  • Plenary sessions for organizational meetings, keynote addresses, introductory and closing remarks, and the like
  • Performances, film screenings, and displays of artworks under critical analysis and discussion
  • Poster displays, in which summary information about ongoing research is offered

Conferences funded in whole or in part by the Center for the Humanities must be free and open to all faculty, staff, and students at Drake; however, pre-registration may be required.

Registration fees may be charged for others to attend, including participants from other institutions, and fees may be assessed to fund events or activities that are not eligible for University funding (such as entertainment).

Eligible Costs

Center funds may be used to cover such costs as:

  • Publicity (including design services)
  • Photocopying and printing of conference-related materials (program sheets, campus maps, etc.)
  • Materials to be consulted in advance (such as a common set of readings, reading packets, books)
  • Modest honoraria for Drake faculty participants (if the small conference does not take place during the weekdays of a regular semester)
  • Screening and reproduction rights for films and readings
  • Fees paid to special guests (guest artists, keynote speakers)
  • Costs for the rental or purchase of equipment necessary for the success of the event (not already available through on-campus sources)
  • Travel, meal reimbursements, and lodging expenses for special guests (but not for regular attendees)
  • Catering via Sodexo for conference events

Note that the Board may exercise discretion in determining the amount of catering it can afford to cover on a case-by-case basis. This applies to other budget line items, as well. 

Proposal Criteria

Small Conference proposals should include two broad components.

The first should detail the topic of the conference, arguing for its significance in or to the Humanities, and should outline the intended goals and audience.

The second component should cover logistics, including timeline, planned (however tentatively) events and activities, participants to be invited, facilities required, and a budget.

Because of the complexity of successful conference planning, those interested in proposing a small conference should consult with the Director for the Center. Proposals should be made well in advance of the conference date, preferably before it has been announced and participation formally solicited.


The Board will meet on the first Friday of each month in the Fall and Spring semesters. Please submit funding requests one week in advance of any given meeting, to ensure consideration. In general, requests for retroactive funding will not be considered, but faculty may inquire with the Director if extenuating circumstances arise.   

While the Board welcomes all proposals, it will be prioritizing individual/collaborative research over other activities and programming. 

Managing Expeditures

The Center for the Humanities requires funding recipients and Center-supported program/event organizers to observe Drake University accounting guidelines. The University's tax-free status depends upon uniform observance of these guidelines. Expenses incurred in contravention of these guidelines will not be reimbursed. For more information, please read our grant management page.


Recipients of funding from the Center for the Humanities are asked to provide on the impact and effect of the activities funded.

Acknowledging the Center

The Center’s support must be acknowledged in the published work and, when possible, in announcements, presentations, and publicity materials connected to it. Please see the acknowledgments page for examples of appropriate formulations of acknowledgment.


To apply, please email your application and CV as attachments to The first two items in all applications should be (1) the amount requested and (2) the budget breakdown for the amount requested. We will also eagerly read about your project's details, timeline, and its importance to the Humanities at Drake and beyond, but we can only approve requests that include a total amount requested and a budget breakdown. 

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