Center for the Humanities

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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 receptions, meals, or 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)
  • Travel, food, and lodging expenses for special guests (but not for regular attendees)
  • Costs for the rental or purchase of equipment necessary for the success of the event (not already available through on-campus sources)

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. The proposal should explicitly state the amount of funding requested in its opening paragraph.

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.


Fall 2019: The Board will meet in early September and early November to consider applications that will draw on the budget for fiscal year ’20. These funds must be used before July 1, 2020. To ensure that your request is given consideration at either of these meetings, please submit applications before August 30, 2019, for consideration at the September meeting, or November 1, 2019, for consideration at the November meeting. Remaining fiscal year ‘20 funds will continue to be awarded in the spring, based on availability, and the Board will begin accepting applications for fiscal year ‘21. 

Spring 2020: The Board will meet on the first Friday of each month in spring 2020, including Feb. 7, March 6, April 3, and May 1. Please submit funding requests one week in advance of any given meeting, to ensure consideration at that meeting. Spring deadlines fall on Jan. 31, Feb. 28, March 27, and April 24. Requests for pre-tenure sabbatical support must be submitted by Jan. 31 ahead of the first spring meeting. 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 (with the exception the suspended categories), it will be prioritizing individual/collaborative research over other activities and programming. 

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