Common Call for Proposals FAQ

Q: When can faculty, departments, labs and centers apply for CAST/VA funds?
A: There are two calls each academic year, one per semester, for projects to be funded during the following academic years. Allow a minimum of one-year lead time. For specific dates refer to the current Call for Proposals deadline.

Q: I am an artist interested in doing a project at MIT, how can I participate?
A: The program welcomes nominations from MIT departments, labs and centers, but does not accept self-nominations from individual artists. Artists who are interested in doing work at MIT are encouraged to follow research on MIT’s campus. A digest is available on the MIT News site.

Q: How do I demonstrate that the Department Head has approved my application?
A: Department Heads have a few options for signaling their approval of an application. They may send an email approval to Leila Kinney, Susan Wilson and Katherine Higgins or attach a brief statement to the application. Approval is required because many projects require departmental staff time and departmental resources. We do not need a letter of recommendation.

Q: I’d like to invite a visitor who requires a visa, what can I do to prepare?
A: Visas for non-US citizens require an additional 3 months of lead-time after an application is approved and before a visiting artist’s residency can be scheduled. Producers work with the International Scholars Office and the sponsoring department to obtain the proper visa paperwork.

Q: I haven’t created a budget for a CAST proposal before; how can I get help?
A: We ask you to fill out a preliminary budget using our budget template. After a proposal is approved, there will be a round of discussions with CAST staff before budgets are finalized.

Q: I am a student and have an idea for an art project on campus; how can I participate?
A: There are many ways for students to be engaged with CAST programs.  Talk to a faculty member or research director if you have an idea for a proposal or a Visiting Artist.  Contact to learn about how you can participate in existing classes, residencies, workshops or research projects.  They will be able to direct you to the most appropriate way to connect.

Q: When will I know if my proposal has been accepted?
A: Initial endorsement of a proposal does not guarantee funding. Faculty should not confirm with artists until all programs and budgets are finalized with CAST or the Visiting Artist Program, and Letters of Agreement are drafted.

Q: Why am I not able to include staff, TA or other salaries in my budget?
A: Funds available to CAST are restricted to certain uses by the donors. Salaries for personnel fall under the in-kind support provided by departments, labs and centers.

Q: Can I see examples of past CAST projects?
A: You can review previously funded projects here: CAST Program Reports and Visiting Artists.

Q: What is the difference between Faculty Grants and Visiting Artist Grants?
A: Faculty Grants may be used to support new courses such as Mechanical Invention Through Computation, taught by Professors Daniela Rus and Erik Domaine; they may or may not include Visiting Artists; in this case, Visiting Artist Chuck Hoberman co-taught the class. Courses supported by CAST must be open to students across the Institute. Visiting Artist Grants are intended for collaborative projects between faculty, researchers, and the Visiting Artist, and the residency focuses on the work of Visiting Artists. Their engagement with students may include class visits, but often takes place in workshops, demonstrations, or co-creation of performances. Visiting Artists residencies must also include some form of public presentations of the work.

Q: What is the difference between Visiting Artist Grants and Distinguished Visiting Artist Nominations?
A: Distinguished Visiting Artists are appointed by the CAST Executive Committee for two year terms. Department heads and program directors may submit nominations in 2017 for the next round of Distinguished Visiting Artists. Visiting Artist Grants are proposed by faculty and program directors.

Q: Whom do I contact if I have additional questions?
A: Applicants are encouraged to consult with Evan Ziporyn and Leila W. Kinney about initial ideas in the first phase of the process (Letter of Inquiry) and Katherine Higgins and Lydia Brosnahan about the application process—including feedback from the committee, budget, requirements, logistics, etc.

Please email with questions.

Evan Ziporyn, Faculty Director of CAST and Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor of Music
Leila W. Kinney, Executive Director of Arts Initiatives
Katherine Higgins, Senior Producer
Lydia Brosnahan, Associate Producer