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Engaged Anthropology Fund

The AAS Engaged Anthropology Fund is designed to support innovative projects that will increase the visibility, impact and relevance of anthropology for the general public. The Fund consists of AUD$5,000, out of which the Society will award smaller grants for individual projects through two funding rounds annually.

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Application Guidelines
Application Guidelines

Application Guidelines

What is an engaged anthropology project?

The principle aim should be to introduce and connect anthropology with those who may not be familiar with the discipline or the relevance of anthropological research and insights. We place no limits on what a project might be – a video, blog, podcast, performance piece, mobile phone app, public event – the possibilities are endless! We aim to support any project that engages a wider public and effectively brings anthropologists into conversation with a broad audience.

Given this aim, it is likely that projects supported under this fund will need to consider engaging anthropologists and their collaborators (their research, writing, insights, ways of thinking, voices) in modes of communication, information dissemination, or outreach that go beyond the traditional forms of academic output.

How much funding is available?

The Fund consists of AUD$5,000 annually, which will be distributed through two funding rounds each year (AUD$2,500 per round).

Applicants may submit funding proposals for any amount up to the maximum of each funding round (AUD$2,500). However, be aware that the judges will consider the total amount of the fund against a) potentially multiple applications, and b) the funding requested for each project. The judges reserve the right to award a project with a partial amount of funding. In making such a decision, the judges will consider seriously whether partially awarded funding will affect the feasibility of a project – for this, the itemised budget provided with the proposal will be crucial (see below).

When are the funding rounds?

Round 1 applications will open in December with a deadline of January 31 for funding proposals. Successful projects will be announced on Anthropology Day, which is the third Thursday in February.

Round 2 applications will be open for the month of July, with an August 1 deadline for funding proposals. Successful projects will be announced by Social Sciences Week, which is the second of week of September.

What is the time frame for a grant?

Projects should be completed within 1 year of the grant being awarded. In the case of a project that is ongoing (e.g. a podcast) then it is the specific stage of the project for which the grant was awarded that must be completed within the year (e.g. the launch of the podcast or the release of regular episodes throughout the period).

We encourage applicants to time events or showcase other projects on Anthropology Day (the third Thursday in February) and/or during Social Sciences Week (the second of week of September).

Ongoing projects and sustainability

The AAS encourages applicants to consider the sustainability of projects that may require ongoing funding. Although we place no limit on application submissions – you can apply over multiple funding rounds to keep a project going – there is no guarantee of continual funding.

Who can apply?

Funding proposals can be submitted for projects organised by an individual or a group.
  • For an individually organised project, that person must be a financial member of the AAS at the time of application.
  • For a group organised project, the funding proposal must be submitted by someone who is both part of the organising group and a financial member of the AAS at the time of application, and must remain a member of the organising group for the duration of the project

By what selection criteria will the proposals be judged?

Proposals will be judged according to:
  • the degree to which the project will increase the visibility, impact and relevance of anthropology for the general public;
  • how effective and appropriate the mode of communication, information dissemination, and outreach will be for the above purpose;
  • the feasibility of the project, taking into consideration: whether it has been designed with an effective and appropriate plan and time frame for implementation; the appropriateness of its budget; and, if relevant, its ongoing sustainability.

At the end?

All projects funded throughout the year will be acknowledged at the Annual General Meeting of the AAS. Where feasible, funded projects may also be showcased on the AAS website and/or the first AAS conference following the project’s completion.

Grant Recipients

R1, 2021 Conversations in Anthropology

Conversations in Anthropology is a podcast about life, the universe and anthropology produced by David Boarder Giles, Timothy Neale, Cameo Dalley, Mythily Meher and Matt Barlow. It features interviews with anthropologists and anthropology-adjacent practitioners about their work, the state of the discipline, and the contributions anthropology may make towards pressing contemporary concerns. This podcast has been running since early 2017 with minimal institutional funding and many hours of volunteer time. To the team’s great credit, the podcast has built a substantial following over its 40 episodes so far, broadcasting conversations with a range of scholars including Paige West, Anna Tsing, Elizabeth Povinelli, Ghassan Hage and many others on issues of popular and public interest.

The Conversations in Anthropology team has been awarded an Engaged Anthropology Grant of AUD$2,000 for the development of a website with new content, with a view to broadening the podcast’s audience and increasing its accessibility. Developing this online presence will create a reliable and easily navigable repository for podcast content, including podcast-related news, publications and—most importantly—transcripts of its anthropological interviews. Such an expanded web presence and readily available textual resources will amplify the visibility and accessibility of the podcast, and by extension increase visibility and accessibility for anthropological research, both among anthropologists and members of the public.

R1, 2021 The Familiar Strange

The Familiar Strange (TFS) is a well-known public anthropology project produced by Alexander D'Aloia, Deanna Cato, Carolyn West, Matthew Phung, Shan Lu, Timothy D Johnson, Clair, and Simon Theobald. Its primary outreach is a weekly podcast and blog, producing high quality content that has built a substantial following, including more than six thousand podcast listens a month across the world, with the audience primarily consisting of people who have an interest in anthropology but do not necessarily practice it in or outside of academia. The main aims of the project are to “to make the strange familiar" and to emphasise the relevance of an anthropological approach in both understanding and addressing complex problems.

The Familiar Strange team has been awarded an Engaged Anthropology Grant of AUD$500 for the transcription of a selection of popular podcasts, which will then be promoted across TFS channels, including social media, the website, blog and podcast. The team at TFS are firm believers that knowledge should be as accessible as possible. While interview and conversational podcasts are an excellent format for accessibility, they have their drawback for those with hearing difficulties or whose level of spoken English makes it difficult to follow an animated conversation. The transcripts will improve accessibility to TFS productions and therefore their ability to make anthropological knowledge more accessible and engaging to an ever growing general audience. Plus, they're great tools for the classroom!