DSS formally partners on the Lehigh Valley Engaged Humanities Consortium, a four-year grant initiative generously funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation through June 2021.

Charlotte Nunes, Director of DSS, and Andrea Smith, Chair and Professor of Anthropology & Sociology at Lafayette, co-direct the Lehigh Valley Engaged Humanities Consortium Mellon grant.  The LVEHC fosters exploration of personal, historical, and community narratives about the past half-century in the region using methods of the humanities and arts.  The grant funds major collaborative exhibitions at the Sigal Museum, the Karl Stirner Arts Trail, and the Allentown Art Museum.  Also as part of the grant, educators, librarians, artists, community leaders, and other stakeholders in the Lehigh Valley can apply for funding for projects and events on these main themes:

  • The diversity of communities in the Lehigh Valley in the past 50 years.
  • The changing nature of work in the Lehigh Valley in the past 50 years.
  • The evolving landscape, environment, and sense of place in the Lehigh Valley in the past 50 years.

Underpinning all of these main themes is the value and process of story-making.  We welcome proposals that center the themes above, highlighting community narratives and individual people’s stories, from the celebratory to the critical.

The LVEHC is guided by a steering committee composed of representatives of a Lehigh Valley academic and cultural institutions including the Allentown Art Museum, Cedar Crest College, DeSales University, the Easton Area Public Library, the Karl Stirner Arts Trail, Lafayette College, Lehigh University, the Lehigh Valley Association of Independent Colleges, the Lehigh Valley Research Consortium, Moravian College, Muhlenberg College, and the Sigal Museum.

One of the main outcomes of the LVEHC will be a digital archive of materials including oral histories, family photographs, business documents, historic maps, ephemera, material objects, and other primary source materials that bear witness to diverse ethnic and immigrant communities, emergent economies in the de-industrial era, community losses to urban renewal programs, relationships between culture and the environment, and other topics relevant to the main themes of the LVEHC. This digital archive will be a public, freely available resource on the internet for educators, scholars, students, and others who wish to explore transformations of the past half-century in the Lehigh Valley.  The digital archive is expected to launch in early 2019.  Check the DSS Blog for updates.