Events And Opportunities

Call for Participants: 2017 National Humanities Conference

LIGHTNING ROUND: Engaging the Public Through Digital Tools

The National Humanities Conference, Friday. November 3, 3:00 to 4:00 pm

Join us for lightning talks on how individuals and organizations are utilizing digital tools to enhance humanities learning and engagement. Presenters, who are invited to participate on a first-come, first-serve basis, will speak about a project, initiative, or trend related to this broad theme for four (4) minutes, accompanied by up to four (4) slides. Following the lightning talks, session participants and attendees will have time for discussion facilitated by a moderator.

At least eight (8) spaces for presenters will be available. Current participants include Nicky Agate, Jessica Lu, Susan Perdue, and Maia Sherwood.

Signing up in advance of the session is strongly suggested, though not required. Please email Logan Hinderliter by October 20. 2017 at

WORKING GROUP: Using Media to Develop Humanities Narratives

The National Humanities Conference, Saturday, November 4, 9:30 to 11:00 am

We are soliciting participants for our NHC 2017 working group, Using Media to Develop Humanities Narratives, meeting Saturday, November 4, 9:30 to 11:00 am.

Our working group will discuss the increasing need to create and disseminate clear and compelling narratives that affirm the public benefits of humanities programs, especially those originating from colleges and universities, and explore options for addressing this need through new media. The questions this working group will address include: 1) What practical resources do universities and other humanities entities need to create compelling narratives about their programs, and what can universities and public humanists do to animate students and people outside of the academy to advocate for the humanities? (2) What stories should humanities professionals, as well as university administrators, faculty, students, and participants in public humanities programs be telling about these programs and how should these stories be told? Lastly, (3) what audiences do these stories need to reach and how can advocates for the humanities target them?

The specific goal of this working group will be to produce an initial blueprint of effective narratives that resonate with and mobilize a broad public, uses of media, and promotional strategies that universities and humanities programs can both draw from and build on to affirm the public good that the humanities serves and to advocate for increased public investment in humanities programs.

Please provide a brief abstract (300-500 words) of what you will contribute to meeting the goals of this working group, focusing on narratives you have created, investigated, and/or employed to communicate the importance of accessible humanities programs in higher education to students, donors, and the public. You might address what you learned from the process of using new media to develop humanities narratives, including how you disseminated these narratives to targeted audiences and how the media shaped the telling and content of the narrative. What resources did you deploy? What resources did you wish you had access to? What are some other questions we should be asking as we work toward a blueprint? Your abstract might additionally reflect on what was successful about your project, what didn’t work, and should address what you will bring to the working group based on these experiences.

We also welcome participants who are new to their positions and are interested in exploring new media narratives about the public benefits of the humanities. Your abstract should address how your participation would benefit you and your organization and what questions you have as you face the defunding of the humanities.

Finally, please focus on strategies rather than specific content of programs. We wish to develop a blueprint that is adaptable to a wide range of organizations and their programming.

Please send your statements to Victoria Davis at and Clare Callahan at by July 28, 2017.

WORKING GROUP: Radical Pedagogies/Radical Messages: Possibilities of University-Community Partnership

The National Humanities Conference, Saturday, November 4, 11:15 am to 12:30 pm

This working group investigates spaces of political resistance and radical historical narration that can be produced by university-community collaborations. As universities embrace publicly-engaged scholarship and community organizations look to address critical social issues in a time of shrinking state support, these collaborations have become increasingly important ways for both entities to address issues of contemporary social importance through humanistic methods. Because of the nature of these entities, such projects tend toward a small scale, rarely having the staffing or financing to be sustained, and often find limited audiences. We aim to self-reflexively sketch out the potentials and limitations of university-community collaborations with radical political agendas.

Some driving questions include: How can we better ensure reciprocal benefits for all involved? What is the “community” in these partnerships? How do we assess impact? How can we promote the endurance of such collaborations and the messages they hope to communicate? Ultimately, how radical can we be given the limitations of staffing, funding, priorities, and conflicting timelines?

We seek participants who can contribute to this conversation from all angles and we are particularly interested in case studies that push the bounds of what a university-community partnership might look like.

Contact Rebecca Amato at by July 28, 2017.

As a result of this working group. we will produce a preliminary best practices guide about such collaborations and envision publicizing the guide through posts on blogs including the National Council on Public History’s History@Work, Next City, and Public Seminar.

WORKING GROUP: Dismantling the Legacy of Race

The National Humanities Conference, Saturday, November 4, 9:30 am to 11:00 am

Are you interested in confronting the issues of diversity, inclusion, and access? Would you like to present projects or work that has addressed these topics? Then please join us for the session Dismantling the Legacy of Race with Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity. We’re looking for 5-6 presenters who can talk about projects in their communities that address pervasive social, economic, cultural, and racial issues that have long divided American communities. State humanities councils, we would also love to hear more about the work you have done for the Humanities and the Legacy of Race initiative. Following presentations, the larger group will discuss the successes and challenges and the highs and lows of developing programs that address these themes, transferrable models for wider implementation, and will discuss next steps, including brainstorming possible methods of funding to spread programming to a wider audience and establishing a diversity task force.

Space for up to 6 presenters is available. Presentations should be no more than 5 minutes long. We will confirm presenters by August 14th. Final drafts of presentations need to be in by September 25th.

If you are interested in presenting, please email Meg McReynolds,, a short project description by July 28, 2017.

SAH thanks The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Fund at The Chicago Community Foundation for its operating support.
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