Recovering Voices Community Research
Community Research Program
The Recovering Voices Community Research Program (CRP) supports communities in their efforts to save, document, and enliven their languages, cultures and traditional knowledge. This funding program supports groups of community researchers from around the world to travel to the Smithsonian to examine objects, specimens, and documents related to their heritage, and to engage in a dialogue with Smithsonian staff.
Access to collections is central to the recovery and regeneration of knowledge. The National Museum of Natural History alone holds 145 million biological and mineral specimens and cultural artifacts. These objects embody knowledge of natural resources, the environment, history, social structures, and collective memory. We work closely with collections and archives staff to connect community researchers with Smithsonian collections and archives both through on-site visits and through digitization of materials.
Recovering Voices understands that knowledge and information are embodied in material culture - interaction with an object can bring back a memory or a story of how it was used or made. Likewise, group archival research allows for the sharing of stories or conversations about materials and photographs discovered. CRP visits are video recorded to assist both the group and Recovering Voices in remembering what was learned in a medium that can be returned to the community. These audiovisual materials are high definition and can be used to create educational materials for use in community-based revitalization efforts.
Each year, the CRP funds projects that are submitted via an annual Call for Proposals. Any community whose linguistic and/or cultural traditions are represented in the Smithsonian’s collections or archives are eligible to apply for research funding. Funding ranges up to $10,000 to cover the costs of travel, accommodations, and research. Research can be conducted in any Smithsonian repository. The most frequently accessed are the National Anthropological Archives, NMAI Archive Center, NMAI and NMNH object collections. See our blog to read about past research visits. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Community Research Program
The next Community Research Program call for proposal submissions will be open November 15, 2023 - January 15, 2024.
2024 Application Materials:
2024 Application Guidelines
2024 Application Cover Sheet
2024 Budget Template
2024 Budget Supplement
2024 Collections Supplement
2024 Example Budget and Justification
National Breath of Life
The National Breath of Life Archival Institute for Indigenous Languages is a biennial two-week hands-on workshop that promotes the revitalization of endangered languages. Native American language community researchers are paired with professional linguists to learn the fundamentals of linguistics and the use of archival documentation. Since 2011, community researchers and their linguistic partners have traveled to Washington, DC to access archival documentation on their own native languages and cultures at the National Anthropological Archives, National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center, and Library of Congress. For 2015 and 2017, Recovering Voices paired with the Myaamia Center at Miami University to co-direct and plan for future institutes. This initiative is funded largely by the Documenting Endangered Languages award, a joint effort between the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).