Expressive Technology Studios (ETS)

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CET Seed Grants 2020-21

The Center for Expressive Technologies (CET) is pleased to announce a grant opportunity to lecturers and tenure-track/tenured faculty in all colleges for use during the 2020-21 fiscal year (July 1, 2020 to June 1, 2021).

Application Deadline: May 15th at 5 pm 

CET Seed Grants are designed to support research and Learn by Doing experiences that study, make or use expressive technologies.

What is an expressive technology? Projects funded by CET usually engage with visual and creative technologies (often digital), but the ‘what’ is not as important as the ‘how’ and the ‘why.’  Expressive technologies allow us to tell stories that give us voice, help us meet our communal goals, inspire creativity and imagination that can engender empathy, help us learn from histories, promote our cultural diversity, and ultimately, build a more collective future in our technological age.

Projects should be transdisciplinary, bringing together faculty members from different departments and fields. We encourage collaborative pilot approaches that use technology to create novel kinds of work, tell new kinds of stories, or find new ways to meaningfully engage with communities.

Projects should also strive to improve human experience by enhancing values such as justice, empathy, education or beauty through creating unique configurations of technology, people and expression.  In the present moment, we welcome proposals that focus on the intersection of creative technology with health and social connectivity in the time of COVID-19. 

Projects can explore how technologies shape our world by critically engaging in the making and use of those technologies. We are open to projects that engage with emerging technologies (like machine learning, augmented and virtual reality, and new biotechnologies), or with more established technologies. Across all areas, we encourage re-configuring and altering technologies or creating new techniques; engaging with users, communities and social systems surrounding technologies; and enrolling stories, art and play.

The Center is particularly interested in funding pilot and development projects that have the potential for later grant funding that engage faculty, students and community/industrial partners. These could include: developing technologies to support public interest groups; community development and community engagement about and via new technologies; immersive environment design, and serious play that addresses pressing sociotechnical challenges facing our society.

Descriptions of current CET Seed Grant projects can be found here.

Proposals will be evaluated on:

  1. Unique/Innovative integration of technology development and use with stories, art or play.
  2. Expected contribution to improving the human experience in enhancing community, justice, education or beauty.
  3. Degree of interdisciplinarity.
  4. Intellectual rigor, merit and creativity.
  5. Proposed role of students.
  6. Potential for future grant development.

Funding Guidelines
Awards will range between $1000 and $4000. Funds are available for materials and equipment, as well as for student participation on the project. Budgets can include limited funding for travel, and student travel should be prioritized over faculty travel. Modest additional compensation for faculty is also an allowed expense. The Center will work with the Provost’s office to approve additional compensation. 

Seed Grants can be combined with other funding from Colleges or the University.

Application Procedure
Please submit the cover page and a three to five-page synopsis of your project that speaks to the goals of seed grant program.  Be sure to include: discussion of outcomes and measures of success; potential for further grant support (including specific grants, programs or donors); and a brief line-item budget and timeline of showing how the funds would be spent, including a list of other support received or sought for the project.  Please be sure to include information on how students will be involved in the project. Include citations and references to previous related research.  If the research will involve human subjects, please include discussion of ethical issues involved and IRB approval. Examples of successful applications are available upon request.

Please have your submissions to the Center for Expressive Technologies by 5pm on Friday, 15 May 2020 electronically to  The cover page and your synopsis of your project should be submitted as one combined PDF or Word file. Proposals will be evaluated by members of the CET Projects Committee based on the project’s alignment with the above goals and evaluation criteria.

Reporting Requirements
Recipients of CET Seed funds must submit a report of their accomplishments by September 1, 2021. The plans for this report should be included as the Analysis and Verification section of the proposal. This report should include a discussion of project outcomes (e.g., publication, technology, community partnership/project), plan to assess/measure outcomes, and a description of next steps for the project or work.

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