Arts CO+RE: A Program to Amplify Arts + Research Partnerships

The application cycle is closed and no new applications will be accepted.

Overview of the Arts CO+RE funding call

In 2019, the OVCRI launched the CO+RE: Community + Research Partnership Program, a pilot program engaging substantive research, creative practice, and community needs and interests.  Arts CO+RE, an outgrowth of the inaugural CO+RE Program, extends our interest in community-directed and -responsive practices for engaging local youth and adults in the generative and creative practice of the arts. Arts CO+RE is focused on the multiple ways artists see and engage in creative practice as research; it is intended specifically for arts practitioners and researchers.

The COVID-19 crisis has hit the arts community particularly hard. A vital part of every community, yet often the most vulnerable, the arts support what is needed most in difficult times: the nurturing of creative practice and an igniting of the imagination. It is our aim that Arts CO+RE contributes to that effort.

Arts CO+RE is dedicated to “community and university engaged research and creative practice – designed to invest locally and model globally.” The Arts CO+RE program encourages projects that engage a range of approaches to the arts and creative practice.

Arts CO+RE invites applications from arts researchers and practitioners across a range of fields: Dance, Theatre, Music (e.g., vocal, instrumental, experimental, electronic), Visual Arts (e.g., drawing, painting, video, sculpture, film, digital), Design, and Performance Art. (If there are areas outside the above list, the applicant may make an argument for its inclusion.) Cross-disciplinary project teams are strongly encouraged and will be given priority. However, all projects that meet the criteria will be considered.

This program will support up to two projects that demonstrate the following criteria:

  • Equitable, viable, and diverse community and campus partnerships. Project teams must consist of members from both settings, with each serving in equitable fashion. Demonstration of this equity in the proposal is critical.
  • Evidence of the need for the project. What is motivating the partnership? What communities are the stakeholders? What communities will the work depend on – and subsequently impact? How will it do so?
  • Articulation of the needs of the project. What will the funds enable teams to accomplish, and how will the funds be allocated to meet those goals? How will the plans be executed?
  • Evidence of reciprocity must be explicit within the project aims and results.
  • Explanation of student involvement and training. How will the project engage and maintain student involvement and interest? What will students gain from this work? How will these relationships be fostered and maintained? There must be a clear and planned pathway for student involvement.
  • Articulation of markers for success at the project outset and how the team will determine project success.
  • Clearly stated measures to sustain the ongoing work of the project.


Up to two projects will be selected by a committee representing community and campus members. Awarded applications will be eligible for increased funding for two subsequent years, totaling three years of support. Subsequent stage applications must meet the program criteria. The stages of support are as follows:

  • Stage 1: Foundation funding up to $20,000.00 to either launch a new or boost an existing program.
  • Stage 2: Implementation funding up to $30,000.00 to continue demonstrated success and ramp up. Applicants must have successfully completed Stage 1 to be eligible for Stage 2.
  • Stage 3: Sustaining funding up to $50,000.00 to support a successful program for longer term.
  • Applicants must have successfully completed Stage 2 to be eligible for Stage 3.


At the conclusion of each stage the team must submit a “milestone report” detailing how the aims of the project were achieved: the process of the research investigation; the participants; how the project/research has responded to the needs of the community; and what have been the outcomes to date. The report must address both successes and setbacks, especially if these affect planning and implementation for subsequent stages of support.

If the report is satisfactory to the selection committee (described below), teams will then be notified that they are eligible to apply for the next stage of funding. These applications must demonstrate the success of the previous stage; offer a reasonable plan for continuation; articulate the aims of the collaboration that will continue the work of the team; and establish the next set of goals. Each team must document its work in a medium they deem appropriate for their own use and for the historical record of their work. This will be shared with the selection committee in the review for subsequent rounds.

The above process will precede each round. Teams can apply for the next level of support once they have demonstrated that the project is worthwhile to them and succeeding on multiple levels.

Subsequent stage (2 & 3) applications must meet the program and reporting criteria.

Application Guidelines

The application deadline has passed.

Applicants must submit PDFs of the following documents:

  • Statement of purpose that describes the needs and aims of the project and clearly articulates the research component (5 pages maximum, single space, 12-point font).
  • Brief biographies of all members of the team (maximum 250 words each).
  • A statement on the team and why they are the right people for the project. Faculty and Community members must demonstrate experience in working within the proposal area. (500 words maximum).
  • Project timeline.
  • Detailed budget and budget justification.
  • For work with human subjects, IRB approval will be required before beginning.
  • Letters of commitment from stakeholders.

Applicants may upload up to five work samples that offer the committee an opportunity to see and/or hear your work in action. Please see below for the optimum platform for translating your work sample:

  • Video/film selections – provide links (in your narrative).
  • Digital sound recordings – provide links (in your narrative).
  • Visual materials: photographs, paintings, print materials – convert samples to PDF for best quality control.

Note: Please do not exceed five minutes for any performative links. If your link offers access to a longer work, provide the committee with a cued segment of your file, that is no more than five minutes.

Deadline: The application must be complete and submitted no later than 5pm (CDT) on Friday, April 9, 2021. No extensions or exceptions will be entertained. The selection committee will only consider complete applications.


Applicants will be notified via email the week of May 15, 2021 of the success or decline of their proposals. Awarded proposals will be announced to the team at the completion of the committee’s decision-making process. Award announcements will also be made via campus and community listservs.

Selection Committee

The selection committee comprises three community members and three University of Illinois members. Members serve for three years to see the funded project teams through the full cycle of the program. (Community members are compensated nominally for their time served on this committee. University members are not additionally compensated; their participation is considered service).


  • University of Illinois faculty and staff with 50% -100% appointments, engaged in research (broadly defined) and/or creative inquiry as part of their professional responsibilities, are eligible to apply. (This includes tenured, tenure-line, specialized faculty, and academic professionals).
  • University and community members must demonstrate experience in working within the proposed area.
  • Projects must be located in communities within a fifty-mile radius of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.