The Media Projects program supports film, television, and radio projects that engage general audiences with humanities ideas in creative and appealing ways. All projects must be grounded in humanities scholarship in disciplines such as history, art history, film studies, literature, drama, religious studies, philosophy, or anthropology. Projects must also demonstrate an approach that is thoughtful, balanced, and analytical (rather than celebratory). The approach to the subject matter must go beyond the mere presentation of factual information to explore its larger significance and stimulate critical thinking. NEH is a national funding agency, so the projects that we support must demonstrate the potential to attract a broad general audience.
Film and television projects may be single programs or a series addressing significant figures, events, or ideas. Programs must be intended for national distribution, via traditional carriage or online distribution. The Division of Public Programs welcomes projects that range in length from short-form to broadcast-length video.
The Division of Public Programs also encourages film and television projects that examine international themes and subjects in the humanities, in order to spark Americans’ engagement with the broader world beyond the United States. These projects should demonstrate international collaboration by enlisting scholars based both in the United States and abroad, and/or by working with an international media team. The collaborations should bring broad cross-cultural perspectives to the proposed topics and should be intended primarily for U.S. public audiences.
Radio projects, including podcasts, may involve single programs, limited series, or segments within an ongoing series. They may also develop new humanities content to augment existing radio programming or add greater historical background or humanities analysis to the subjects of existing programs. Programs receiving production grants may be either broadcast or disseminated online. They may be intended for national or regional distribution.
NEH encourages projects that engage public audiences through multiple formats in the exploration of humanities ideas. Proposed projects might include complementary components to a film, television, or radio project. These components should deepen the audience’s understanding of the subject in a supplementary manner: for example, book/film discussion programs, supplemental educational websites, or museum exhibitions.
Development grants enable media producers to collaborate with scholars to develop humanities content and to prepare programs for production. Grants should result in a script and may also yield a detailed plan for outreach and public engagement in collaboration with a partner organization or organizations.
In the last five competitions the Media Projects: Development Grants program received an average of 33 applications. The program made an average of three grants per competition, for a funding ratio of 9 percent.
The number of applications to an NEH grant program can vary widely from competition to competition, as can the funding ratio. Information about the average number of applications and awards in recent competitions is meant only to provide historical context for the current competition. Information on the number of applications and awards in individual competitions is available from firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact the staff of NEH’s Division of Public Programs at 202-606-8269 or email@example.com. Applicants who are deaf or hard of hearing can contact NEH via Federal Relay (TTY users) at 800-877-8399.