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Mellon grant to involve 15 schools and focus on 'Global Midwest'

Dianne Harris
Photo by
Darrell Hoemann

Dianne Harris, the director of the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities, will lead a new initiative called Humanities Without Walls, which just received a $3 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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1/14/2014 | Dusty Rhodes, Arts and Humanities Editor | 217-333-0568;

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities has been awarded a $3 million grant by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to fund a consortium of 15 humanities institutes.

IPRH, a division of the University of Illinois College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, provides fellowships and hosts conferences, lectures, films, art exhibitions and reading groups.

Titled “Humanities Without Walls,” the funded initiative is led by Dianne Harris, the director of IPRH, who is a professor of landscape architecture, of architecture, of art history and of history. The grant will fund cross-institutional teams focused on “The Global Midwest” – research that rethinks or reveals the Midwest as a key site shaping global economies and cultures. The grant also will fund summer workshops for pre-doctoral humanities students pursuing careers outside the academy, beginning in 2015.

Besides the U. of I., the consortium comprises the current Big Ten schools – Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin – as well as the University of Chicago, Notre Dame and the U. of I. at Chicago. The Chicago Humanities Festival and the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Illinois will serve as key partners for the consortium.

“This is an enormously exciting opportunity that will increase the impact and visibility of the humanities and arts at the University of Illinois and throughout the Midwest,” Harris said. “I have outstanding intellectual partners in this consortium. Working together, we developed a set of initiatives that will allow us to experiment at a very large scale, and to stimulate new research practices and the creation of new knowledge across some of the world’s most esteemed universities. I am very grateful to the Mellon Foundation for making this possible.”

Editor's note: To contact Dianne Harris, call 217-244-3344; email

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