Deadline Extended to July 15: Wenner-Gren Global Initiatives Grants

If you are involved in a project promoting the ethical treatment of human remains, please consider applying.  You can request as little as $5,000 and as much as $20,000 to support collaborations focused on the development of policies, guidelines, and best practices; public education and engagement; teaching and curation; and research that can serve as a model for others.

Click here to register for an information session on Friday, June 24 at 1 p.m. Eastern.

Apply now!

Feel free to contact Judy Kreid ( or Danilyn Rutherford ( if you have any questions.  

The deadline for the Global Initiatives Grant is July 15, 2022.

Global Initiatives Grant Information Session from Wenner-Gren Foundation on Vimeo.

Spotlight on the Global Initiatives Grant Program: Open Anthropology Lab, Bogota, Colombia

In 2020 the Open Anthropology Lab, Bogota, Colombia received a Global Initiatives Grant to expand awareness of social issues among school children in Colombia through the creation of three open access books on (1) Ecologies, (2) Globalization, and (3) Race.

Anthropology Xñ is an editorial project of anthropology for children. It aims to enhance their questions and curiosity through the exploration of contemporary social issues. We aim to encourage in children a critical understanding of human relationships, cultural differences and processes of social change. This first series is made of three open-access didactic books about (1) Ecologies, (2) Globalization, and (3) Race. Each book is created collaboratively by a group of passionate anthropologists who transform ethnographic data into tales, games and outdoor activities.

With the support of the Global Initiatives Grant the Open Anthropology Lab’s team developed three books of this series:: Ecologies, Globalization, and Race.


The Covid 19 pandemic led us to develop a very particular and innovative methodology for our Anthropology Xñ project. For the last two years, the Open Anthropology Lab team met virtually once a week to collaboratively create the contents of the three books we have prepared for this series. The following is the regular process we would follow for the development of each book:

In the first few weeks, we would discuss the timeline, the structure and the objectives of the book. We define the chapters, four sub-topics for each chapter and relevant anthropological literature for each sub-topic. The team of approximately 8 people would divide into four working groups, corresponding to each sub-topic of the chapter. Each member of the team was part of two groups. Within these groups, people distributed the readings corresponding to each sub-topic. Afterwards, we will devote three sessions to each chapter.

2) In the first session, we would create two simultaneous meetings on Zoom in which the members of each sub-topic discussed the readings and proposed an activity. At the end of the session, the groups would meet again and present their ideas to the rest of the team.

3) In the second session, each group would bring a refined version of their idea and present their proposals on a design at After that, all members of the team make comments and suggestions.

4) In the third session, the team would discuss the last corrections and form new groups for the next chapter. The process starts all over again for the remaining chapters.

5) When finishing the chapters of the book, we would form groups again to work on the diaries, the glossary, and the proof reading of the book. This process usually took between three and four weeks.

7) Finally, the Canva files were shared to the illustrator who used them as a reference for her own designs.

The books…


In this book we explore the relationship between humans and the environment. It is called Ecologies because we believe that it is possible for the human species to find a balance for its actions to do not negatively impact the planet Earth and the non-human beings that inhabit it. This book is divided into four main chapters. In the first one, we examine the different ways in which societies have related to non-human beings. In the second, we explore how humans have adapted to the different environments in which they live: the countryside, the city, deserts, among many others. In the third, children will learn about the main conflicts that arise when there are disagreements about how people should relate to the environment and natural resources. The fourth chapter encourages children to critically assess the solutions that have been proposed to address the environmental crisis.


This book encourages children to critically assess globalization as a phenomenon of connection and disconnection, of wealth and inequalities between and within countries. This contradiction is in part the result of the desire of powerful nations to conquer and exploit other territories. These unequal relationships are what makes it less expensive to bring things like clothes, backpacks and cell phones from far away places. In this book, children will also learn the life stories of those that make globalization possible: factory workers, miners, home workers, among many others. We hope that this book will provide some the tools to face the challenges of globalization and make this world a less unequal place.


This book is divided into four major chapters. Each of them encourages children to explore from different angles how the concepts of race and ethnicity have been constructed and the consequences on racialized people. The contents have been carefully organized so that they can learn about struggles against racism and discrimination, how racist practices can be reproduced on our everyday lives, and the history of how the strange idea that there are different human races came about. The last chapter explores the idea of intersectionality by creating a relational game that enables synthesis and reflection about racism and race. Crucially, it also encourages students to construct an anti-racist manifesto.

Note: All three books encourage children to have a Diary in which they can write or draw their reflections and everyday actions to help them reinforce what they’ve learned in the books.


We developed a collaborative learning methodology that allowed us to move forward with the consolidation of the corresponding chapters based on two-hour virtual meetings. The methodology was designed to avoid a hierarchical structure that led everyone contribute equally to the creation of the contents.

Our challenge is to accomplish a distribution strategy for books in school contexts in Colombia and Latin America, which allows us to make them Open Access while keeping the copyright of the books. One potential challenge is that the distribution strategy could be accompanied by teacher training on each topic of the book. This would allow the carrying out of pedagogical work so the books can be used in the best possible way. We are currently developing these guides, which will explain to teachers key anthropological concepts and will give them some instructions on how to use the books.


Announcing the 2021 Global Initiatives Grants New Approves

Wenner-Gren is excited to announce the 2021 new approves for our Global Initiatives Grant!

The Black Feminist Archive Pandemic Preservation Project of Black Women Practicing Anthropologists

Dr. Irma McClaurin received funding to encourage and guide Black and Indigenous women who are anthropologists working outside the academy as independent consultants and community-based activists to preserve and archive the invaluable knowledge about social justice issues in their communities and beyond. At a time when many states are prohibiting the teaching of critical race theory, preserving these important historical materials and archiving these collections communicates the value and historical relevance of the work of practicing BIPOC anthropologists to broader communities, as well as to practitioners themselves.

Decanonization: The Global Anthropology Syllabus Project

Dr. Heather O’Leary received funding for the initial stage of an ongoing collaborative initiative aimed at promoting global conversations and collaboration.  The initiative will work towards the creation of a curriculum that expands the narrow focus from knowledge production in traditional academic institutions to a more inclusive, diverse representation of anthropological traditions produced outside hegemonic centers.  This preliminary phase supports the recruitment of a globally diverse and inclusive group of 40 scholars who will serve as an advisory council.

Inclusivity and Ethics in Archaeological Training: The ARF Field School

Dr. Christine Hastorf received funding to pilot an 8 week commuter field school designed to make archaeology more accessible. It provides stipends for BIPOC students and boosts the inclusion of low- and middle-income students entering the career. At the same time, the training will promote community-engaged archaeology and more sustainable ethical stewardship practices by using low impact methods to inventory and analyze orphaned collections and their legacy sites.

Southern African Field Archaeology

Dr. Dipuo Kgotleng received funding for the revival of Southern African Field Archaeology as an open access, peer-reviewed, online journal. The proposed platform encourages and subsidizes African-based scholars, students and practitioners of archaeological and cultural heritage studies by providing free editorial services. It aims to boost the participation of African scholars in disseminating their research results, at the same time it increases readership, public awareness and local participation in the research process. Website Upgrade

Dr. Edward Liebow received funding to support the upgrade of the American Anthropology Association’s website.  This educational resource uses current findings from across the subfields of anthropology to challenge the notion that racial identities are biologically based and fixed. Its teaching guides help to rectify misconceptions about human biological variation and contribute to timely public conversations regarding social injustices.

COVID-19 Emergency Grant Fundraising Effort Meets the Challenges of the Day

Photo credits (l to r): Alessandra Rosa, Dada Docot, Dawn Burns

In 2020 the American Anthropological Association received a Global Initiatives Grant to help support the AAA Emergency Relief Fund for Anthropologists.

At the American Anthropological Association, we are committed to bringing together scholars, practitioners, educators, and the public to advance the field of anthropology and its role in the world. That is why at the onset of the COVID-19 health pandemic, we knew that many members in our community needed emergency support, and that a meaningful way to advance our mission was by ensuring they have the financial resources they need to get through this challenging moment. These are members who make valuable contributions to our field but who, by virtue of being independently employed, working in a small business, or occupying a position at the margins of a university, suddenly find themselves in a position of financial uncertainty and hardship.

The AAA Emergency Relief Fund for Anthropologists offered financially vulnerable members one-time grants and a registration waiver for the fall virtual event series, “Raising Our Voices.” Two of our sections, the Society for Medical Anthropology (SMA) and the Society for Linguistic Anthropology (SLA) also created relief funds. Over the course of a few months, we witnessed an outpouring of generosity from the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, which was matched on a 9-1 basis with donations from our Board, Sections, and members around the world.

In total, we were able to raise sufficient funds to make grants to 190 individuals from 18 countries. In addition, we invited all 190 grantees to join the fall virtual event series, Raising Our Voices, which replaced the Annual Meeting that had to be canceled due to the pandemic. Funds from the COVID-19 Emergency Grant Fund were used to cover the registration fees for these individuals. The funds provided by the Wenner-Gren Foundation were disbursed to 20 individuals, all living outside the United States, in keeping with the spirit of the Foundation’s Global Initiatives Grant program.

We received a good deal of feedback from grant recipients, all of it expressing appreciation for being able to provide assistance in a time of acute need:

I am so, so grateful to have received the AAA COVID-19 Emergency Grant Fund. It really makes such a difference as a freelancer, also balancing a PhD and with lost income from this situation. Thank you for your generosity and this wonderful initiative.

Please extend my gratitude to the AAA and to the donors that made this possible.

Thank you very much for establishing this series of grants; it really means the world to know that the AAA is looking after unemployed anthropologists such as myself during this difficult period.

Thanks so much for informing me about this award, it is so helpful in this time of uncertainty and I am grateful to know that my colleagues are supporting me and others who need a little boost right now. I hope I can pay this forward in the future when I get a chance.

Thank you for the emergency grant, my family and I really need it at this time. I would also, through you, like to thank the AAA. It is my wish that in the future it will be my turn to assist, not to be assisted.

Thank you so much for this grant – it is coming right as the spring semester ends and helps fill the gap while I figure out what my next employment can be.

The global disruptions brought about by the pandemic and associated public health interventions were abrupt and precipitous. Recovery is proving to be much slower and uneven. The Foundation’s willingness to step in and strengthen the fabric of the safety net supporting some of the more vulnerable members of our anthropology community will almost certainly mean that as we make sense of this profoundly influential moment, anthropologists who might otherwise have had to seek their livelihoods elsewhere will be around to contribute to this sense-making.