Festival Application Process

Do you have an awesome idea for the Spirit & Place Festival?
IUPUI Photo Library

Organizations big and small – as well as creative individuals – are welcome to apply each spring to the Spirit & Place Festival. (The deadline is typically in early to mid-May.) But how does all this work?

Spirit & Place provides a platform for the community to use the arts, humanities, and religion to explore a yearly theme. Organizations and/or individuals pitch ideas through an application process. Event creators are responsible for securing their own speakers, performers, venues, etc.

A Selection Committee comprised of fellow community members (not Spirit & Place staff) chooses the events based on a set of criteria including inventiveness, audience engagement, strength of collaboration, and theme connection. We support those selected for the festival by providing event coaching services, worksheets, check lists, general marketing support, and other resources. Up to five events are nominated for a $1,000 Award of Awesomeness prize that is given out at the conclusion of the festival.

Guidelines for 2023 will be released in January.

2022 Festival Guidelines are broken down by sections below or can be downloaded as an entire document here as reference.

Questions? Email festival@iupui.edu.

Application Process


November 3-13, 2022

How we IDENTIFY and talk about ourselves, our communities, spiritual practices, artistic practices, and more frames how we walk in the world. Identifying one way or another expresses core and foundational aspects of our very being. Spirit & Place invites you to be a part of this year’s festival by using the arts, humanities, and religion identify and explore the truth of who we are.

Want to create a Spirit & Place Festival event but need a little inspiration on how to tackle the theme? Download our “Theme Prompts” sheet for provocative questions to wrestle with, event suggestions, and other resources to spark ideas!

Theme Prompts

Applicant Meetings
March & April 2022

Learn more about Spirit & Place, the festival application process, and meet others interested creating festival events. Although encouraged, attendance is optional and not required to apply to the festival. One-on-one meetings are available too!

Applicant meetings have passed.

Application Portal Opens
April 1
Applications must be submitted online.

Application Deadline
May 8 at midnight
May 8 is Mother’s Day. Plan accordingly!

Festival Event Essentials
August & September
If selected for the festival, event partners will need to meet a series of late summer deadlines related to when promotional images,  registration links, event copy and other “event essentials” are needed.

Click the button below to better understand the festival workflow.

Festival Timeline

Spirit & Place Festival event partners agree to the following. Please download the entire agreement and let us know if you have any questions.

  • Required Check-In Meeting(s)
  • Promotions & Marketing.  Festival partners must engage in their own promotional efforts.
  • Event Images. Partners agree to secure copyright permission for any images used to promote their event.
  • Event Registration & Emails. Partners agree to create and manage their own registration process, ideally via Eventbrite and supply registrant emails to Spirit & Place.
  • Event Logistics. Festival events should be unique and may not be repeated between August 1 – December 31 (some exceptions apply).
  • Post-Festival Requirements. The lead partner must complete an online satisfaction survey.
Partner Agreement

These are just some of the ways Spirit & Place supports its festival event partners.

  • Event coaching services
  • Website features
  • Enews features (~7,000 subscribers)
  • Social media features (4,000+ followers on Facebook and Instagram)
  • Paid digital ads (Facebook, Instagram, and Google)
  • Printed promotional materials (flier templates, event guides and yard signs)
  • Public and media relations in partnership with Bohlsen Group.
  • Event evaluations summaries
  • Trainings & workshops

Partner Benefits

The Spirit & Place Festival is a celebration of arts, humanities, and religion in community life. It is a platform for experimentation and a space to cultivate new relationships, catalyze civic engagement, amplify unheard voices, and uncover community solutions. The festival is an inclusive arena that often delves into difficult dialogues while embracing the idea of “adventurous civility.”

In other words, the festival is not a platform to preach to your choir, a podium from which to proselytize, a placeholder for existing events, or a mere marketing tool for your organization. Please read about Spirit & Place’s values to learn more.

Limitations & Restrictions

A team of community reviewers—not Spirit & Place staff— representing various disciplines, faiths, races, genders, and backgrounds evaluate festival applications based on the following criteria. This makes the Spirit & Place Festival not only community-created, but community-curated!

Selection Criteria

Let’s be honest. Creating an event for the Spirit & Place Festival takes a lot of time, energy, and, in some cases, money. We strive to make the festival accessible to all applicants and realize we must continue to find ways to support the community’s work. Currently, Spirit & Place is unable to provide direct financial assistance.

We encourage applicants to find sponsors and donors for their projects. While you are not allowed to list funders as event partners, you should include their logos on promotional pieces, thank them publicly, and otherwise recognize their support.

You may also seek grant funding for your events and suggest exploring opportunities with organizations such as the Indiana Arts Commission and Indiana Humanities.

To provide some measure of support (and incentive!), Spirit & Place provides a $1,000 Award of Awesomeness at the conclusion of the festival to the event that best:

  • Tackles the theme in a compelling way
  • Uses the arts, humanities, and/or religion in an innovative fashion
  • Provides a captivating format for attendees
  • Exemplifies the values and beliefs of Spirit & Place

Up to five events will be nominated by the Selection Committee and a team of judges will evaluate the events during the festival. Depending on available funding, Spirit & Place will try to make runner-up awards available.

Past Award of Awesomeness Winners

From catchy titles to how to best think about the arts, humanities, and religion, we have tips for you!

Application Tips

What makes a well-written Spirit & Place Festival application? Download examples from past applicants who knocked it out of the park!

Narrative Examples

“Red Flags” the Selection Committee will give lower scores on include:

  • Wish Lists. Do not list collaborating partners, speakers, or other talent with whom you have not spoken! The application is not a wish list of people and organizations you would like to work with if selected. Rather, you should only list those—even if not 100% committed—have expressed an interest in being involved.
  • Outside Your Lane. Look for partners who round out deficits in your proposed event and/or bring in a unique point of view, especially if you are tackling a topic outside your mission area. Events about oppressed groups that fail to center the expertise and voices of those groups in the planning of the event will face additional scrutiny.
  • Transactional Collaborations. The strongest collaborations are co-creative with partners involved in the early design stages and/or providing content expertise. Spirit & Place staff and the Selection Committee realize developing the relationships needed to secure venue space, staff support, and supplies is also important (time-consuming) work. Collaborations that appear transactional or “in name only,” will be scored low.

Before beginning the online application, please download this application prep sheet to review the application questions and other information you will need to supply.

Application Prep Sheet


Erin Kelley


A native Hoosier, Kelley completed her bachelor’s degree in sociology and history from Ball State University and earned her master’s degree in public history from IUPUI. As the Program Director for Spirit & Place, she oversees the annual Spirit & Place Festival by working with 100

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IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI
425 University Blvd., CA 003B
Indianapolis, IN 46202

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