Dancers in spotlight in dark studio

Arts Research Project Grants

Providing students in the School of the Arts support for original, independent creative and scholarly research to frame, interpret and solve today's challenges.


  • DEADLINE: 5 p.m. Wednesday, December 13, 2023.
  • All undergraduate and graduate students majoring in the School of the Arts are eligible to apply.
  • Students may receive up to $1,200.
  • Students must have a faculty sponsor. If the grant is awarded, the faculty sponsor will receive $300 to assist their research or teaching activities.
  • As part of the project, students must include a public component such as a performance, exhibition, screening, or presentation - appropriate to the discipline of the project.
  • Proposals will be reviewed by the SOTA co-directors, who will make the final funding decisions
  • Special consideration given to projects that relate to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Notification of awards will be made by January 12, 2024.

Questions? See our FAQ or contact Erin Gilmore.

The Arts Research Project Grant Application is now on online form. You will be asked to provide

  1. Your name, student ID, and contact info.
  2. Project title.
  3. A proposal not to exceed four single-spaced pages. This should be prepared in advance and uploaded when you complete the online form. -- You are welcome to include works cited, pictures, video, etc. in additional pages to showcase your project or plans for your project.
  4. A proposed budget, explaining how the grant funds will be spent
  5. The name and email of your faculty sponsor from whom we can request a letter of reference.

In special cases, the application may also involve other items:

  1. If you are submitting a proposal involving creative work, you may upload images or video of your previous work. This is not required, but it may help reviewers better understand the proposal.
  2. If you have previously received a research grant from the School of Arts please include a section of your proposal summarizing what was accomplished under the previous grant and explain how the current project differs from the earlier one.

Applications for 2024 Arts Research Project Grants are due by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, December 13, 2023.

  1. Do I need to have a major in the School of the Arts, or can this be a minor with a major in another School? Also, can I be employed by the School of the Arts, but majoring in another area?

    You must be a major within the School of the Arts in order to be eligible. Unfortunately, grant funding will not include majors in other schools with a minor/employment in the School of the Arts.

  2. Can I be graduating in May and still apply for the grant?

    You must be enrolled during the time period of award including the completion of the project. You are eligible if you are graduating in May. However, you must complete the project prior to Stop Day in the Spring semester.

  3. What semesters do I need to be enrolled for in order to be eligible for the grant?

    As above, you must be enrolled when you apply and during the time carry out the project. However, we do not require that the student be enrolled full time during the summer semester. 

  4. How many hours do I need to be enrolled in to be eligible for a grant?

    You must be enrolled full time (at least 12 credits for undergraduates; at least 6 credits for graduate students). If you think an exception should be made, or if you have questions about the number of credit hours or your eligibility, please contact Erin Gilmore.

  5. How many grants will be awarded?

    Funding is available for approximately 10 grants each year. The total number of grants awarded depends on the quality of proposals we receive.

  6. Do I choose the Faculty Advisor? If so, does the faculty member have to be from my area, or emphasis? 

    You choose the faculty member who will act as your Faculty Advisor. The faculty member does not have to be in your area or emphasis, but they will need to be in the School of the Arts.

  7. When does the project need to be completed?

    By June 15 of the following year. If you are graduating, you need to complete the project by Stop Day of the Spring semester.

  8. Does the project have to RESEARCH the topic or FULFILL the topic?

    You can do a project that researches the topic, or your project can have an outcome that fulfills the topic. A project can even be one that seeks to do both.

  9. Is this a group project?

    This is not a group project, because one person is applying for funding and is, ultimately, responsible for seeing that the project is completed and documented.  At the same time, multiple people could be involved in the execution of the project. The arts often involve a group effort and multiple contributions while also having a leader. Students are also encouraged to seek the help/advice from their faculty advisor as well as their outside contact (after the grant has been awarded).

  10. When will I receive notification of award?

    Notifications will be sent by the end of the fall semester.

  11. Can a student combine grants to use for this project?

    Yes, but please be upfront about any funding you have received.  Indicate which part of the project you will apply the Arts Research Grant funding toward, and which will provided by the alternate funding.

  12. Will the grant be applied to any fines or tuition that I have not paid?

    You must pay any fines or tuition that you owe the University before the award of this grant. However, we are working with the KU Budget Office make sure that the award of this grant does not penalize students on federal assistance by raising the cost of attendance.

  13. Do you have any tips for writing the proposal?

    Yes! Please see our Grant Writing Tips page for information relevant to these proposals.

  14. What if I have a question that is not listed here?

    Please contact Erin Gilmore in the Department of Film & Media Studies.

Research topics in the arts are sometimes difficult to put into words. Nevertheless, explaining the meaning of a project and submitting written proposals are essential parts of what it means to be a professional in the arts today. We hope the special advice below may help you to write your application to ensure that you represent your proposal well and that you cover the necessary material that will allow a full and fair evaluation of it by the Review Committee. The pointers assume that you have a generalized topic that connects to a theme such as, for instance, “How X impacts a local neighborhood” or “The story of X community” or “Engaging audience in X”. The pointers also assume that you have a specific task that can be called a research proposal within that topic, such as, “To Create a Series of Paintings” or “Make a documentary film” or “Study plays by X and create a performance based on X current event” or “Choreograph a dance that responds to X issue in Kansas”, etc.  

Use the advice pointers below and on the next page to elaborate on this task. Remember that you should be trying to convince the Review Committee of the value of your project. Some of the members of that Committee will not know your field of study. They will understand that a good research proposal involves the undertaking of actions that result in the making of new knowledge or a new understanding of old knowledge.

Advice Pointers:

Write sincerely about why you are interested in this topic.

  • Make a personal connection to introduce your topic. Briefly describe your personal history of interest in the topic. Say specifically what got you interested in it and what sustained your interest. Or, show, if you can, that this interest was related to experiences in your education at KU (such as class material, seminar discussion, a recommended text, a museum exhibition, a field trip).  
  • Write about the topic as you have observed it through your “life experiences” so far.

Write plainly about what you will actually do in your project.

  • Say exactly what it is that you will do in this research proposal.
  • A descriptive listing of your proposed activities is very useful. Sometimes this can be made more convincing by using a timeline.

Write about why this is a significant proposal.

  • Tell the Committee why this is an important proposal for you at this time.
  • Describe what is important about the proposal for the University community-- especially its scholarly or creative importance.
  • Quotations or references to texts or other resources are very useful to inform the Committee of the scholarly or artistic value of your topic and proposal.

Write clearly about how you intend to perform, exhibit, perform, present, publish, or screen the results of your project. 

  • The public component plays a role in completing the work and helps you gain valuable insights about the creative and scholarly process. It also helps you to engage an audience, a hallmark of the creative process in the arts. 
  • You do not need to have the precise plans for the public component in your proposal. Indeed, your faculty sponsor should work with you to finalize these arrangements as part of the project. However, you should develop several concrete ideas for what you intend to do and how much it will cost. An additional $150 may be available for expenses related to implementing the public component.

In a concluding paragraph, write imaginatively about what results you expect and how you will reflect on the outcomes of your project.

  • Tell the Committee what new knowledge you personally expect to have about the topic after the research proposal is completed.
  • What reactions would you expect from interested observers of the results of your proposal? Explain why you expect those reactions.
  • An important part of the learning in research is the “reflection‟ component. Tell the Committee how you would evaluate or judge the success of your project.

Add a Bibliography and a citation of relevant creative works from your discipline.