Skip to content

Research Seed Grants in Documentary Studies

Deadline: December 11, 2023

The Center for Documentary Studies (CDS) invites grant applications from regular-rank Duke faculty to seed new research undertakings related to documentary studies, broadly conceived. As a growing number of faculty engage with documentary studies, CDS wishes to incorporate new approaches and perspectives into its scholarly activities.

Areas of focus might include videography and documentary film, photography, podcasting and other modes of audio documentary, oral history, experimental media, and other digital practices. Topics of inquiry are open, including contemporary or historical subjects, and any geographic area. Projects examining global issues may receive additional funding from the Office of Global Affairs.

Size of Awards and Eligible Expenses

We will entertain proposals up to $10,000, with awarded amounts deposited in faculty discretionary accounts. Budgets may include:

  • Discretionary funds to cover travel to archives or to undertake fieldwork
  • Necessary equipment
  • Student research assistance

Obligations of Grant Recipients

Faculty who receive a Documentary Studies Research Seed Grant must:

  • Expend funds by January 1, 2025
  • Participate in a Spring 2025 workshop with other grant recipients and members of the CDS community to present their research
  • Produce a brief report on their use of funds and supported activities


Any Duke regular-rank faculty member may apply. Faculty may apply individually or as a pair or larger group.

Application Components

  • Letter of application describing the proposed project and indicating its intellectual significance and relation to documentary studies
  • Budget, accompanying 1-page justification, and list of any related grants/fellowship proposals, including amount of funding and indicating whether they are in progress or have been successful

How to Apply

Please use this online application form.

Selection Process and Criteria

Proposals will be assessed by a committee convened by the vice provost for interdisciplinary studies, the vice provost for the arts and the dean of humanities. Proposals will be assessed with regard to:

  • Centrality of documentary methods to the proposed research and anticipated outputs
  • Potential to reach important audiences
  • The degree to which applicants link the proposed research to a compelling intellectual trajectory
  • Extent to which the proposed project might eventually involve students in documentary studies (e.g., possibilities for links to course development, a Bass Connections team, project for a Summer+ program, a DukeEngage project or a DukeImmerse cluster).

Preference will be given to early and mid-career faculty, as well as proposals that engage with the priority areas and that articulate compelling linkages to one of the signature Duke programs listed above.


  • RFP released: October 5, 2023
  • RFP deadline for submission: December 11, 2023
  • Decisions communicated: January 19, 2024


For substantive proposal questions, contact Ed Balleisen ( For logistical questions, contact Meg Atchison (