Call for Proposals: Centering Interdisciplinary and Inclusive Arts Practices in Advancing Human Flourishing, Belonging, and Well-being in Higher Education

The University of Wisconsin–Madison is pleased to announce an exciting partnership between the Division of the Arts and the Center for Healthy Minds (CHM). This call for proposals, “Centering Interdisciplinary and Inclusive Arts Practices in Advancing Human Flourishing, Belonging, and Well-being in Higher Education,” invites faculty and staff to embark on creative arts research activities that embody these insights. The initiative, generously backed by CHM, offers up to $25,000 in mini-grants, with three to five grants expected to be awarded, each ranging from $1,000 to $15,000. This collaboration signifies a pivotal stride in unlocking the transformative potential of the arts to enrich human flourishing, foster a sense of belonging, and promote overall well-being throughout the university community.

“The Center for Healthy Minds is thrilled to collaborate with the Division of the Arts to harness the creative talent on our campus to promote well-being and flourishing,” said Richard Davidson, Founder of the CHM. “The arts hold the potential to interrupt feelings of isolation and bestow transformative experiences that significantly enhance human flourishing and overall well-being,” Davidson added.

Projects are slated to begin on July 1, 2024, with flexibility for a June 2024 start date. The initiative’s primary objectives are to fund creative research projects that promote interdisciplinarity and inclusivity while enhancing human flourishing, belonging, and well-being on campus. This endeavor encourages collaboration across arts and sciences to develop real-world solutions with a human-centered focus on the role of arts and culture in well-being. “The arts provide a universal medium of communication that can awaken awareness, inspire empathy, disrupt stagnation and create community.” We are honored to partner with the Division of the Arts on this initiative in support of a kinder, wiser, more compassionate world,” said Heather Harris, director of communications and marketing at CHM.

Eligibility for these grants is open to all faculty and staff at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. The form for proposals will open in mid-November, and are welcome until January 15, 2024, which should include a project narrative, assessment plans, and a detailed budget.

Proposals will be evaluated based on alignment with the initiative’s goals, potential impact within the UW–Madison community, and project feasibility. The review committee named the “Arts and Well-being Committee,” will announce grant recipients by March 2024. The committee has representation from the Division of the Arts and the Center for Healthy Minds and includes: Tony Chambers, Richie Davidson, Heather Harris, Helen Lee, Grant Nelsestuen and Chris Walker.

Awarded projects will run for a one-year period, with a one-page report due one month following the end date of the award. For inquiries or assistance related to this call for proposals, please contact Heather Harris at or (608) 890-3074.

“I am particularly excited by the Center for Healthy Mind’s commitment to fostering creative research and collaborative engagements on our campus and in Madison,” said Grant Nelsestuen, associate dean for the Arts in the College of Letters & Science and a member of the review committee.

This initiative highlights the university’s commitment to fostering a sense of belonging and enabling human flourishing, aligning with ongoing projects that share these noble objectives. “We believe that the arts are essential for promoting positive experiences and that they serve as micronutrients in combating feelings of isolation and loneliness,” said Chris Walker, director of the Division of the Arts. “We invite the UW–Madison community to be part of this exciting journey towards the deliberate use of arts to understand greater well-being, belonging, and human flourishing.”

Why the University of Wisconsin–Madison:
The University of Wisconsin–Madison is a world-class research university with a long-standing commitment to academic excellence and community engagement. It boasts a rich history of fostering interdisciplinary collaboration and inclusivity, making it the ideal home for the Centering Interdisciplinary and Inclusive Arts Practices initiative.

Why the Division of the Arts:
The Division of the Arts at the University of Wisconsin–Madison promotes the arts as a fundamental form of human expression and as a way to explore the world. Its collaboration with the Center for Healthy Minds seeks to leverage the arts for the betterment of the campus community.

Why the Center for Healthy Minds:
The Center for Healthy Minds, founded by renowned neuroscientist Dr. Richie Davidson, is a global leader in the study and application of well-being and emotional intelligence. Its partnership with the Division of the Arts signifies a commitment to holistic well-being through artistic expression.