DER Awarded NEH Grant for Cinepedia Ethnographica

DER awarded NEH grant for Cinepedia Ethnographica

We are excited to announce that the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded DER a $50,000 planning grant for the development of Cinepedia Ethnographica, a first-of-its-kind open access catalog of ethnographic film. DER has a longstanding history of innovation in ethnographic filmmaking, and we are honored to now be shaping the future of the field with this new initiative. Cinepedia Ethnographica is co-directed by Dr. Alice Apley, DER’s Executive Director, and Dr. Jennifer Cool, Lecturer in Anthropology at the University of Southern California.

Born out of the “Roundtable on Ethnographic Film Archiving” convened by DER in 2013, Cinepedia Ethnographica will be a collaborative, expert- and user-generated online resource for the ongoing archiving of new and existing ethnographic and folklore film. The project aims to make this body of films discoverable, searchable, and shareable in new ways and by new publics. As such, the project will powerfully enable new opportunities for research, creation, curation, and education, and for understanding the history of cinematic documentation across space and time. By making these materials easily discoverable, the project also serves to decolonize an historical body of films to allow for their re-use and re-signification by contemporary media makers and audiences.

The NEH grant will fund activities over an 18-month period aimed at creating a foundation for the implementation of the online catalog. Issues to be addressed include development of a metadata schema and cataloging guide, institutional partnerships, and a governance structure for ensuring sustainability of this pioneering resource.

We are grateful for NEH’s support and honored to be among the projects recognized for their contributions to preserving cultural heritage. This grant is an important step in making the extraordinary visual record of global cultures accessible to new audiences around the world. We can’t wait to get started!

“We view this path-breaking initiative as an essential project in this rapidly changing technological world that will generate dialogue and discussion about all facets of ethnographic film.”

— Jake Homiak, Director of the National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution

About the National Endowment for the Humanities

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at:


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