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Consortia Online Events
Castle Lecture Series
Talks are held monthly and are webcast live. Videos archived here.

Smithsonian Institute for Biodiversity Genomics
12 December 2014
Live webcast and archive available here.

Living in the Anthropocene: Prospects for Climate, Economics, Health, and Security
9 October 2014
Archive available here.

Grand Challenges Share Fair
May 12, 2014
Archive available here.

Scots in the American West Symposium
8 August 2013
Archive available here.

Grand Challenges Share Fair
May 14, 2013
Archive available here.

The Anthropocene: Planet Earth in the Age of Humans
11 October 2012
Archive available here.

Grand Challenges Share Fair
May 10, 2012
Archive available here.

Perspectives on Limits to Growth: Challenges to Building a Sustainable Planet
March 1, 2012
Archive available here.

Grand Challenges Share Fair
May 18, 2011
Archive available here.
Related Resources
Discover related research, exhibitions, videos, web features, and teacher materials:

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Valuing World Cultures

Consortium for World Cultures

The Consortium for World Cultures promotes pan-institutional, interdisciplinary scholarship that enhances our knowledge and understanding of cultural diversity, creativity, environmental adaptation and the evolution of humanity. Our programs seek to inspire audiences to explore the cultural and artistic heritage of the world’s peoples and cultivate appreciation for diversity through collecting activities, public programs and community engagement.

Smithsonian Grand Challenges Awards

Smithsonian Grand Challenges Awards—a competitive, internal granting program—advance cross-disciplinary, integrated scholarly efforts across the Institution which relate to the Smithsonian Grand Challenge Valuing World Cultures.These awards encourage Smithsonian staff to advance research, as well as broaden access, revitalize education, strengthen collections and encourage new ways of thinking that involve emerging technology.

Grand Challenges grants are awarded through the Smithsonian Consortia at two distinct levels:

Level One grants provide seed money to develop groups around promising concepts.  Successful proposals at Level One provide the time and incentive for individuals with common interests to meet and crystallize ideas for major interdisciplinary/pan-Institutional projects. These projects are intended to be short in duration (6-12 months) and focused in purpose, such as support for arranging seminars, workshops, meetings, and brown-bag lunches. 

Level Two grants are larger and aimed at maturing groups poised to confront relevant issues and prepared to secure external funding.  Applicants apply for Level Two funding to conduct preliminary experiments, write a position paper, explore the design of an exhibition, conduct preparatory work for a major project or produce other evidence of scholarly capacity that is deemed essential for external competition. Successful proposals at Level Two provide a group that has defined a common goal with the resources they need to establish themselves as credible competitors for external funding. Applicants for Level Two funding may already have a collaborative history or may be building on the outcome of a successful Level One process.  

Consortium for World Cultures 2011 Grand Challenges Awards »

Consortium for World Cultures 2010 Grand Challenges Awards »

Robert Leopold, Consortium Director

Robert Leopold serves as Senior Program Officer for History, Art and Culture, working with senior leadership, museum directors and staff to develop and implement the Smithsonian's strategic plans, national campaign, educational, web and digital strategy, and revenue and business policies. He is also a Professorial Lecturer in Museum Studies at George Washington University, where he teaches Digital Imaging for Museums: Policy and Practice, a course that builds on his experience managing imaging programs and creating online exhibits that support scholarly research and promote the repatriation of knowledge to source communities. Dr. Leopold served as project director and technical consultant for the online exhibit Lakota Winter Counts, which received a Webby Award from the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences and a U.N. World Summit Award. Previously, at the National Museum of Natural History, Dr. Leopold served as director of the National Anthropological Archives and Human Studies Film Archives, where he received major grants from the Mellon Foundation and the Save America’s Treasures program to preserve and digitize endangered languages documentation, historical photographs and indigenous artwork and contributed his expertise to language revitalization initiatives in native communities. Leopold has a special interest in how scholars and source communities negotiate access to culturally sensitive materials in libraries, archives and museums. He is a co-author of the Protocols for Native American Archival Materials (2006) and was a co-sponsor of the international symposium Ethnographic Archives, Communities of Origin and Intangible Cultural Heritage (2006). He currently serves on the Cultural Property Working Group and the Committee on Ethics and Professional Conduct of the Society of American Archivists, as well as the advisory panel of the Long Now Foundation’s Rosetta Project.

Dr. Leopold is a former Fulbright Fellow who conducted ethnographic research on social organization, ritual and cosmology in Liberia from 1985-87. He earned his bachelor's degree in English literature from the State University of New York at Binghamton (1979) and his doctorate in social and cultural anthropology from Indiana University (1991).