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Funded Projects Query Form
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Organization name: International Storytelling Center
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International Storytelling Center (Jonesborough, TN 37659-1239)
Kiran Sirah (Project Director: May 2020 to October 2022)

Cooperative Agreements and Special Projects (Digital Humanities)
Digital Humanities

$219,109 (approved)
$219,109 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/15/2020 – 6/30/2021

Resilience through Story: Advancing the Power and Possibilities of the Humanities through Online Storytelling Platform Design

Retention of seven staff members of the International Storytelling Center (ISC), based in Jonesborough, Tennessee, to develop a new storytelling platform enabling scholars, students, educators, and the public to access ISC’s digital archives.  

The International Storytelling Center (ISC) has been at the forefront of connecting communities through story, and serves as a national resource center for networking, research, critical conversations and innovation for the storytelling field. With this proposal, ISC will leverage our organizational expertise and ingenuity to create safe ways to carry on as a devoted steward of this traditional form. The online storytelling platform developed under this proposal will enable virtual access to ISC’s rich repository of storytelling history, story-based curricula, community-building tools, and curated humanities-focused programming. [Edited by staff]

International Storytelling Center (Jonesborough, TN 37659-1239)
Kiran Sirah (Project Director: January 2019 to present)

Humanities Discussions
Public Programs

[Grant products][Media coverage]

$200,000 (approved)
$200,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2019 – 8/31/2021

Freedom Stories: Unearthing the African American Heritage of Appalachia

Implementation of a series of public discussions and an accompanying podcast and website that engage professional storytellers with humanities scholars to explore the history of African Americans in Appalachia.

Building on a successful record of providing innovative public programs and serving as a clearinghouse for storytelling and educational resources, the International Storytelling Center’s project will achieve a deeper public appreciation of the history and cultural heritage of African American communities in Appalachia. The project will bring together professional storytellers, humanities scholars, community experts, and audiences for a series of bridge-building, forward-looking planning sessions, public discussions and resource development initiatives. Products to be developed include a podcast series and multi-media toolkit prepared by humanities scholars, which will support the development of similar project featuring collaboration and dialogue between storytellers and scholars across the U.S. The Center will complete the project in partnership with the National Association of Black Storytellers, Heritage Alliance of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia, and other organizations.

International Storytelling Center (Jonesborough, TN 37659-1239)
Kiran Sirah (Project Director: May 2016 to present)

Humanities Access Grants
Challenge Programs

[Grant products][Media coverage]

Totals (matching):
$100,000 (approved)
$100,000 (offered)
$100,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2016 – 9/30/2021

Leveraging the Power of Storytelling

A full-time project coordinator to focus on education and outreach programs and the engagement of two to three master storytellers for the applicant’s annual National Storytelling Festival, and to support the digitization of educational products, as well as a planning conference each year focusing on engaging economically disadvantaged communities, communities of color, and youth.

As the International Storytelling Center’s National Storytelling Festival nears its 50th anniversary, we seek to engage in an impactful NEH Humanities Access project to commemorate this important milestone and ensure its sustainability. It is our goal to launch a five-year endowment-building project in 2016 which will culminate in an International Year of the Story during the 50th anniversary of the National Storytelling Festival. The project will celebrate the festival’s rich history, by broadly publicizing the festival’s important accomplishments over five decades, and ensure its bright future, by expanding our outreach efforts and focus on serving youth, communities of color, and economically disadvantaged populations, while encouraging investment in the festival and our outreach efforts’ sustainability through a term-endowment campaign.