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NEH Awards a Cooperative Agreement to the Council on Library and Information Resources for the Openlab Workshop

October 22, 2015 | By NEH Staff

The Office of Digital Humanities, along with the Division of Public Programs, is pleased to announce the award of a cooperative agreement to fund the Openlab Workshop. To be held December 1 and 2, 2015, the two-day event will convene practitioners, scholars, and leaders from galleries, libraries, archives and museums--collectively known as GLAMs—to develop methods that enable the widespread adoption of digital technologies at GLAM institutions. The Openlab Workshop is a collaborative effort between the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR), in partnership with the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), American Library Association (ALA), and the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA). Additional support from the Digital Library Federation (DLF), Metropolitan New York Library Council, and other organizations has also been secured. Michael Peter Edson, digital strategist and CLIR Distinguished Fellow, will lead and facilitate the workshop. 

The highlight of the Openlab Workshop--the Unconference and Ignites Talks--will take place on December 1, 2015 in Crystal City, VA. Open and free to the public, the Unconference and Ignite talks will provide a forum to share insights and perspectives on the Openlab Concept and help frame the discussions of the formal planning workshop that will conclude the event on December 2, 2015. This planning workshop will bring together participants invited from a cross-section of organizations, scholars, GLAM and humanities practitioners, and members of the public to consider the tactics, goals, and underlying vision of the Openlab concept. Registration for the Unconference is open here. Interested in proposing an Ignite talk? Visit the Openlab "I Want to Give a Talk" form. The deadline for proposals is October 31, 2015. 

Following NEH’s mission to provide Americans broad access to the humanities, Openlab is founded on the premise that GLAMs are critical institutions to the humanities and vital stewards of the cultural heritage materials used by researchers, teachers, students, and the broader American public. Technology has provided GLAMs with new ways to engage with audiences and increase the scale and impact of their work, but not all GLAMs are well-equipped with the resources or expertise to best leverage digital technologies. The Openlab concept is envisioned as a public solutions lab and consultancy designed to address these challenges. Once established, Openlab seeks to accelerate the spread of digital technologies in GLAMs by positioning itself as a hub for the field that supports institutions big and small.

NEH is thrilled to partner with CLIR, AAM, ALA, DPLA, DLF, and METRO Lab to bring together the GLAM community and explore the ways Openlab can work towards strengthening the field’s use of digital technologies. We are especially excited about the potential of Openlab to communicate findings and strategies to organizations such as small museums and historic sites, enabling their capacity to utilize digital technology more effectively. 

About the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR):

The Council on Library and Information Resources ( is an independent, nonprofit organization that forges strategies to enhance research, teaching, and learning environments in collaboration with libraries, cultural institutions, and communities of higher learning.

About the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH):

Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2015 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed projects from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at

[Note: This post was originally published on August 5, 2015 and has been updated with current information about the event.]