Catalyst Charge: Request for Proposals

Tom Scheinfeldt’s June residency with Catalyzing Newport and the local action team has resulted in the following Request for Proposals. Read more below to learn more about the RFP and submit your application by October 31.

In June 2015, Tom Scheinfeldt, PhD visited Newport, RI to explore a pressing and emerging theme in the cultural sector – “Collaboration First.” Using this theme as a guide, Tom engaged various audiences during his week residency, including: Catalyzing Newport’s steering committee in one-on-one meetings; members of a local action team in an intensive, two-day workshop; a team of collections and archival colleagues implementing Newportal (a collaborative, cross-institution digital collections tool); as well as members of the general public at a lecture held at Salve Regina’s Ochre Court. These cumulative conversations explored ideas and options for moving the dial on a local challenge: How can we work together to increase scholarly and public access to Newport’s renowned and sometimes hidden historical assets and collections?

Tom’s residency had a specific goal. He was charged with facilitating a workshop with the local action team that would result in the creation of a new request for proposals, or RFP, that would guide scholarly engagement with Newport across a variety of topics and challenges. During their intensive two-day workshop, the team discussed several themes, including: boundaries, divisions, access, natural and built landscapes, authenticity of place, discovery and adventure, and hidden histories to name a few. Next, the team reviewed some examples of national and international projects they felt were innovative in their examination of place. Inspiration projects included Block Island’s Glass Float project; Boston’s Participatory Chinatown, Washington, D.C.’s Union Station Tour app; NY’s Jewish Time Jump and Library of Birmingham’s (UK) Dozens and Trails app. You’ll note that some of these projects are analog, some are all digital, and some offer hybrid experiences, but what they all have in common is a sense of curiosity, wonder and adventure in learning about a place.

The resulting RFP, (re)Newport (detailed further in this brief) was born out of the local action team’s workshop with Tom, but it was also informed by conversations and ideas generated throughout the week. The proposed “adventure” may borrow from these or other models or media – or come from the depths of your imagination! We look forward to the prospect of working with you in Newport, RI.

(re)Newport RFP