Dwyer Receives NEH Grant to Study Rust Belt Cities in Film

By Caitlin Burns | April 18, 2018

Dr. Michael Dwyer, associate professor and undergraduate director of Media and Communication, was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant to pursue his book about the relationship between Hollywood film and Rust Belt cities.

The term “Rust Belt” refers to the economic decline, population loss, and urban decay of once powerful industrial cities. Dr. Dwyer’s project will focus on how cities like Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Detroit, Buffalo and Chicago are represented in popular films, and how these cities have attempted to attract film productions to generate jobs. Dr. Dwyer will explore the Pittsburgh Film Office’s interactions with film productions who shoot in the area and look into the records of local organizations to see how the city has tried to change its public image since the 1980s.

Through their research programs, the NEH agency has sponsored humanities projects for over 50 years. Funding is highly competitive, with only eight percent of proposed research projects accepted for grants.

Dr. Dwyer’s previous publications include “Back to the Fifties” in 2015 with Oxford University Press and a contributed chapter to “The 1980s: A Critical and Transitional Decade” in 2010 with Lexington Books. He was awarded the Provost’s Award for Outstanding Advising and Mentoring at Honors Convocation on April 14.