Last week, the Pembroke Center hosted a New England Archivists sponsored conference on successful grant writing. My colleague, Jennifer Betts, and myself decided that we needed a grant writing seminar that went beyond the nuts and bolts of grant writing to cover the components of successful grants and to demystify the decision processes of granting agencies. After much advertisement, the seminar was full with twenty attendees and seven speakers.
The “Advanced Grant Writing Seminar” was an opportunity for experienced grant writers, grant evaluators, and grants officers to speak with archivists, librarians, and museum folks. The seven speakers provided insights into how grants are evaluated, what makes a strong grant application, and how to build a relationship with granting agencies. Speakers included: Julia Flanders of the Women Writers Project (Brown University), Maria Bernier of Salve Regina, Daniel Kertzner of the Rhode Island Foundation, SueEllen Kroll of the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, Chuck Thomas of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Lucy Barber of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, and Joel Wurl of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The afternoon portion of the workshop included some brainstorming time, both alone and in small groups. People were able to have some much-needed quiet time to develop some grant ideas, as well as to bounce those very ideas off peers gaining immediate feedback. Our attempt to workshop grant drafts did not work out, but we did generate some interest in a quarterly grant workshop session where we can each get feedback from our peers on our grant drafts. Because so many archivists, librarians and others work alone, it is important to have this time for feedback and collaboration.
Overall, Jennifer and I were proud of the seminar and hope to do another one next year! Thanks to the Pembroke Center for loaning us the space and thanks to the NEA for helping to finance and organize the event. Most of all, thanks to all the participants and speakers!