RSVP Field Development Grant

The RSVP Field Development Grant was created with funds from a generous bequest to RSVP by the late Eileen Curran, pioneering researcher and Emerita Professor of English at Colby College. The grant is intended to support one or a team of researchers in creating resources that will facilitate the work of other scholars in their studies of 19tn-century British newspapers and periodicals.

This year’s winners:

RSVP are pleased to announce that this year’s winner of the Field Development Prize are Kirstie Blair (University of Strathclyde), Michael Sanders (University of Manchester) and Lauren Weiss (University of Strathclyde / University of Stirling) for their project ‘Literary Bonds: Mutual Improvement Society Magazines and Victorian Periodical Culture’.  Below is an abstract of the project:

This project seeks to uncover and disseminate awareness of a little-known aspect of Victorian periodical culture, by focusing on the magazines and newspapers produced by mutual improvement societies in Scotland and England, c.1830-1900. ‘Mutual improvement’ here encompasses a range of societies that defined mutual improvement as their key aim, including those that identified themselves, for instance, as literary, workplace or church groups. Such societies, primarily though not exclusively consisting of male artisanal workers, were particularly prevalent from the mid-late Victorian period. The project will supplement and contextualize our existing periodicals lists and record our findings. We will create a website to host a list of and information about these periodicals, with at least two examples of digitized issues. This is a small-scale online resource, which we see as the first step towards a larger digital humanities project involving these periodicals. A listing of societies and their magazines will also be available as a downloadable PDF, and supplied to relevant libraries and archives.

Many congratulations to Professor Blair, Dr Sanders and Ms Weiss on the grant, and much good luck to them on this project.

Previous winners of the Prize:

2016: Francesca Benatti and David King (Open University): “A question of style: individual voices and corporate identity in the Edinburgh Review, 1814-20”


About next year’s fellowship competition

General Information

The Research Society for Victorian Periodicals (RSVP) intends to grant one RSVP Field Development Grant to a single researcher or a team of researchers pursuing a project that would facilitate research by other scholars. Two smaller awards may be given if the right projects present themselves. The amount of the award will be up to $27,500.

Eligible projects must articulate how the proposed resource will enhance the ability of other scholars to conduct significant research in the history of nineteenth-century British newspapers and periodicals. Examples of eligible projects include, but are not limited to, collaborative projects to produce print or digital publications; demonstration projects that make use of new technologies; research tools such as indices and bibliographies; digitization efforts; and workshops or seminars that address research methods for the study of periodicals.

Regardless of method or type, projects supported by RSVP Field Development Grants must advance the study of the nineteenth-century British periodical press in any of its manifold forms, and may range from within Britain itself to the many countries, within and outside of the Empire, where British magazines and newspapers were bought, sold, and read during the “long nineteenth century” (ca. 1780-1914).

The RSVP Field Development Grant is intended to provide researchers with the opportunity to form meaningful collaborations that will advance the field of periodical studies. Thus, awards can be divided among participants and be used for salary replacement; travel; research or technical assistants; the purchase of necessary hardware or software; securing permissions or rights; or other research expenses directly related to the project. Indirect costs are not permitted; cost sharing is not required. Award money is disbursed to the project’s principal investigator, or his/her institutional representative, who assumes responsibility for its accounting and reporting.

Grant funding must begin during the 2019 calendar year. Grant funds must be expended within one year of the start of the award. (Individuals seeking fellowship support should consider the RSVP Linda H. Peterson Fellowship or the Curran Fellowship.)

The RSVP Field Development Grant Program is funded by a generous bequest from the estate of Eileen Curran (1927-2013). An Associate Editor of The Wellesley Index and the founder of The Curran Index, Eileen committed her life to deepening and broadening our understanding of 19th-century British periodicals. Her vision of the importance of primary research and research tools to accomplish such research animates this grant competition.

Eligibility

Eligible projects must involve substantial research in nineteenth-century primary sources, whether those sources appear in print, manuscript, or digital facsimile.

An application must designate a principal investigator to coordinate the award.

A principal investigator can serve as a principal investigator on only one application per competition. However, collaborators can be included on more than one application.

Those holding academic appointments as well as independent or retired scholars are welcome to apply as either collaborators or as principal investigators. While the principal investigator may employ graduate or undergraduate assistants on the project, those enrolled in degree programs at the application deadline are not eligible to serve as principal investigators. Applicants may be based anywhere in the world.

In the spirit of Eileen Curran’s lifework, the RSVP Field Development Grant program is committed to enabling and expanding research opportunities on the periodical press in Britain and its empire during the long nineteenth century. Competitive applications, therefore, must include a clear statement describing how the field of periodical studies will be advanced by the project.

Applicants are strongly encouraged, but not required, to become RSVP members.

Applicants may hold grants or fellowships from other organizations concurrent with a RSVP Field-Development Grant.

The application should include the following (in this order):

  1. A one-page coversheet: This document should include the following items:
    a. Full name of the Principal Investigator
    b. Postal address
    c. Email address
    d. Telephone number
    e. Proposed period of the grant
    f. Affiliation (if applicable)
    g. The names, affiliations, and email addresses of all collaborators
    h. The names and email addresses of two recommenders familiar with the project being proposed.
  2. A c.v. for each collaborator on the project not to exceed two single-spaced pages per c.v.: This document should include current and past employment; education; recent publications, awards, and honors.
  3. A narrative proposal not to exceed five single-spaced pages: This document must: 1) describe both the larger project as well as that portion of the project for which the application seeks funding; 2) provide a plan of work for the proposed award period and indicate who will be responsible for each task; 3) articulate in clear prose how the project will advance research on the nineteenth-century periodical press as well as the audience(s) for the proposed publication(s); and 4) describe the dissemination and plan for the final product. For digital projects, include a brief statement of how the project will be sustained.
  4. An itemized budget spreadsheet not to exceed one page indicating how the award would be spent during the proposed grant.
  5. A one-page budget justification, including other grant or institutional support for the larger project.
  6. Two letters of recommendation: Applicants are responsible for soliciting letters of recommendation. Letters should address the evaluation criteria below. While the absence of letters from an application will not make it ineligible, letters that arrive late (or not at all) may make an application less competitive.

How Applications will be Evaluated

A group of interdisciplinary evaluators with knowledge of periodicals in the long nineteenth century will use the following criteria to evaluate applications. Your application and letters of recommendation should be crafted with these criteria in mind.

  1. The importance of the project, including the likelihood that it will enable a deeper understanding of the periodical press in Britain and its empire.
  2. The quality of the application, including its clarity of expression.
  3. The applicant’s or team’s preparation to pursue the project.
  4. The feasibility of the plan of work and the likelihood that the overall project will be brought to a successful completion in due course.

Please note that need is not a criterion.


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