Newswise — Assistant Professor of Design Sara Hendren is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Public Scholar 2017 grant.

The Public Scholars program supports researched books in the humanities aimed at a broad public audience. Hendren’s award will enable the Olin professor to spend the next nine months researching and writing a book for publication with the working title: “A Scissor, a Shoe, the Sidewalk’s Slant: Disability and the Unlikely Origins of Everyday Things”

The book will focus on the concept of disability, and on the stories behind everyday objects designed to accommodate people with disabilities.

“It's thrilling and an honor to be included in this group of writers who are tackling complex ideas for a broad audience. My own subject of disability is an urgent matter of human rights and creative opportunities, and the readers who can influence the future wisely and inclusively are both inside and far outside academia,” said Hendren. “I feel fortunate to work at Olin College, where public-facing work is honored and encouraged.”

In this funding cycle the NEH Public Scholar Program includes 28 grant recipients and a total of $1.3 million. Overall in 2017 the NEH is funding 245 humanities projects nationwide with a total of $39.3 million in grant money.

“NEH grants ensure that Americans around the country have the opportunity to engage with our shared cultural heritage,” said NEH Acting Chairman Jon Parrish Peede. “From traveling exhibitions and teacher workshops to efforts to preserve local history, these projects demonstrate the power of the humanities to build connections, stimulate discovery, and contribute to vibrant communities.”

The Public Scholar program is in its third year.