The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities is now accepting public nominations for the 2016 Humanities Awards. Since 1985, the LEH has honored Louisianans who have made outstanding contributions to the study and understanding of the humanities. Awardees will be honored at the 2016 Bright Lights Awards Dinner scheduled for April 7 in New Orleans.
Individuals, institutions or organizations may submit nominations. Individuals, however, may not nominate themselves. Letters of nomination should not exceed two pages, and should detail specific accomplishments that qualify the nominee for the award. A curriculum vita for the nominee and other letters of support should accompany the letter of nomination.
Nominations must be received in the LEH office no later than 5 p.m. December 18, and should be addressed to: Humanities Awards Committee, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, 938 Lafayette St., Suite 300, New Orleans, LA 70113. Nominations also may be faxed to LEH (attention to Chair, Humanities Awards Committee) at 504-529-2358 or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Award categories include:
- Lifetime Contribution to the Humanities
- Humanities Documentary Film of the Year
- Michael P. Smith Documentary Photography
- Humanities Book of the Year
- “Light Up for Literacy”
The “humanities,” as defined by Congress, include the study of literature, history, philosophy, modern and classical languages, linguistics, archaeology, jurisprudence, art history and criticism, ethics, comparative religion, and those disciplines of the social sciences employing historical or philosophical approaches such as cultural anthropology or social theory.
The Humanities Awards Committee will select nominees who best exemplify one or more of the above categories. No single humanities area will receive primary consideration, but the nominees’ activities must reflect one or more disciplines in the humanities.
Awards criteria include:
- Lifetime Contributions: Honors citizens who have supported and been involved in public appreciation of issues central to the humanities. The 2015 winner of this award was folklorist and professor Susan Roach of Ruston, whose tireless work as a folklorist includes the documentation and presentation of Louisiana arts and crafts, music, ritual traditions, occupational lore, and foodways.
- Michael P. Smith Documentary Photography: Honors documentary photographers whose subject matter exemplifies Louisiana topics and aesthetics. Nominations may be for a complete body of work or for a single project. The 2015 winner was photographer Deborah Luster of New Orleans.
- Humanities Documentary Film of the Year: Awarded to the documentary film that best exemplifies scholarship on Louisiana topics or by Louisiana documentary filmmakers. Last year, this award went to Big Charity, by Alex Glustrom of New Orleans.
- Humanities Book of the Year: Awarded to the book that best exemplifies scholarship on Louisiana topics or by Louisiana writers. Receiving awards in 2015 were Jerry Lee Lewis, by Rick Bragg, the essential biography of a groundbreaking Louisiana musician; and Up Stairs Lounge Arson, by Clayton Delery-Edwards, a chronicle of a tragic moment that delivers new insights into the social history of New Orleans.
- Light Up for Literacy: Honors individuals who have made significant and lasting contributions to literacy efforts in the state. The award is presented in partnership with the Louisiana Center for the Book in the State Library of Louisiana and the Library of Congress.The 2015 inaugural award went to Ann Dobie, a retired English Professor who taught almost 40 years at University of Louisiana at Lafayette, directed the Acadiana Writing Project, and serves as the head judge for Louisiana Letters About Literature, a statewide student writing competition.