Archive for the ‘Humanities Programs in Focus’ Category

Living History: I played a black Civil War veteran

Humanities Programs in Focus, Voices from the Field | February 22, 2017 | By:

Reggie Kellum plays Howard Brooks at Talking Spirits Cemetery Tour 2017The annual “Talking Spirit’s” walking tour produced by the Wisconsin Veterans Museum highlights the local and state history buried in the picturesque Forest Hill Cemetery in Madison. Every year, about 2,000 school children arrive by the busload to walk the grounds with a knowledgeable tour guide. Along the paths, they stop to hear from four people, all actors in period clothing portraying real people. The scripts for these characters are researched by the museum staff and written by a playwright.  They are chosen to reveal often lesser-known  experiences of the Civil War. History comes to life through these real stories and theatrical vignettes.

Howard Brooks was of these characters for the fall 2016 Talking Spirits tour. Read More

From the Director: Looking for Leadership

Humanities Programs in Focus | January 25, 2017 | By:

American flag in a fieldIn 2010, Jim Leach, chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, finished his first year on the job and a 50-state “civility tour.”  Today, when aggressively hyper-partisan politics leave the nation feeling more deeply divided than ever, the idea of a federal agency leader preaching civility can seem weirdly idealistic.  But Leach had spent 30 years in Congress prior to the NEH, which might damage a person’s idealism, but should hopefully add to their realism – at least about what we should ask of the federal government. Read More

Commensality: Eating Together in the New Year

Humanities Programs in Focus | December 21, 2016 | By:


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Announcing November Mini Grant Awards

Humanities Programs in Focus | December 8, 2016 | By:

2016 WHC Grant AwardsWe’re pleased to award $12,061 in Mini Grants to projects around the state that reach all ages, covering topics from race and ethnicity to immigration, and from literature to local history.

Congratulations to these seven organizations! These projects tell Wisconsin’s stories and bring communities together to explore important themes and reach groups often overlooked. We welcome you to be a part of the story and see these projects and events.

Inspiration starts here!

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Grants 101: Healing through the Humanities

Humanities Programs in Focus, Tips for Grant Writers | December 1, 2016 | By:

A poem and artwork by a participant in an Untold Stories workshop

It’s through the reflection allowed by the humanities that we gain the perspectives that help us heal.

by Meg Turville-Heitz

We’ve been looking at measuring the impact of humanities programs through evaluation. Last time, I wrote about evaluating impact internally – how we improve our own programs with honest post mortems. This article focuses on our external impact and talking about why the humanities matter. Read More

A Black Police Officer Tells His Story

Humanities Programs in Focus, Our Working Lives Project | November 17, 2016 | By:

Corey Saffold presents ShopTalk in Waukesha

What is it like to be a cop, and black?

When a white state trooper pulled over a black off-duty Madison police officer, Corey Saffold, what did the trooper assume about the man with dreadlocks and a gun – officer Saffold’s service pistol – on the passenger seat?  What did the trooper do next? Read More

Grants 101: Evaluating your relationships

Humanities Programs in Focus, Tips for Grant Writers | November 2, 2016 | By:

Picturing Milwaukee People & Places

Experiences with the humanities change lives. We know that. We also know that beyond the tally of who participated directly, the impact of an encounter with ideas can ripple outward in unpredictable ways.

by Meg Turville-Heitz

A few weeks ago I started a conversation about evaluating our impact in “Taking measure of your humanities project.” I talked about how we can evaluate impact both from the perspective of how programming affects how organizations operate, and what individual participants take home. This week, I’m sharing the story of Professor Arijit Sen’s project, Picturing Milwaukee, as a case study in using participant feedback to improve programming and organizational relationships.

I visited Sen at his UW-Milwaukee Building-Landscape-Culture field school this past summer to talk about how his project evolved since he received two Major Grants from the Council several years ago. His experience was enlightening. He looked beyond the feel-good successes in participant evaluations of his project to focus on where he missed the mark.

In thinking through those short-comings, Sen built a far better project and more meaningful partnerships that led to a much deeper community impact than he had initially imagined. Read More

Announcing Major Grant Awards

Humanities Programs in Focus | October 20, 2016 | By:

2016 WHC Grant AwardsWe’re pleased to award $49,921 to five incredible projects that tackle everything from race and ethnicity to a look at past, present and future water infrastructure explored via a mobile video game.

Congratulations to these five organizations! These incredible projects tell meaningful stories about Wisconsin and bring communities together to explore important themes. We welcome you to be a part of the story and see these projects and events.

Inspiration starts here!

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Announcing our latest Mini Grant Awards

Humanities Programs in Focus | August 31, 2016 | By:

2016 WHC Grant Awards

It is Back-to-School time and our latest round of Mini Grants are going to support a handful of stellar public humanities projects to benefit schools and students. A couple we have supported in years past (the Prescott School District’s immersion program and the state-wide Project Citizen) while others are new and timely.

Congratulations to these five organizations! Please take a moment to be inspired by all the hard work you and your colleagues engage in around Wisconsin. And if you have the chance, we encourage you to be in touch with each other, share stories, and get out to see these projects and events

Sharing the best of the public humanities. Inspiration starts here!

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Looking to Literature to Ask the Enduring Questions

Humanities Programs in Focus, Voices from the Field | August 11, 2016 | By:

Thornton Wilder, Pulitzer Prize Winner

What does it all mean?

Wisconsin can claim many Pulitzer Prize-winning writers and artists. While not all of their names are well-known, Thornton Wilder’s certainly is. He was born in Madison and is probably best known for the play Our Town. But before he wrote Our Town, he won a Pulitzer Prize for the novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey in 1928. Maybe you’ve heard of it? Or even read it? 

The Bridge of San Luis Rey has been called a moral fable. Someone who narrowly escapes a tragedy asks the ultimate questions of existence: Why them? Why not me? Was this an accident? Or are we all actors in a divine play?

These enduring questions are for us each to ponder as our lives unfold.  Exploring them is the essence of the humanities. As ambassadors for this type of reflection, and because we love to talk books, we asked a friend and former board member if he’d like to review The Bridge of San Luis Rey.  We bet he’ll make you want to read and enjoy the book, as he did! Read More