About The Working Lives Project

Whatever work means to you – whether it is paid or unpaid, public or private sector – work is a defining feature of life. It is a human experience and at the heart of how we make not just a living but also a life.

Work defines us as individuals and connects us as members of society. Too often, however, the topic can be divisive. At a time when the future of work and jobs is being hotly debated, The Working Lives Project is examining what work is, was, or might be with a series of programs:

ShopTalk
This catalog of 40+ presenters is for any group in Wisconsin to use. The presenters are available to come to you, for free, and give ShopTalk presentations focused on the human experience of work. Groups may host up to two free talks per calendar year.

Grants for Working Lives-themed Public Humanities Projects
The WHC has seven grant deadlines per year. We are looking to fund your projects that explore the topic of work using the tools and methods and expertise of the humanities. Use regular grant application forms and deadlines.

Wisconsin Live Radio Essays
We invite you to listen to a collection of original stories about people who live and work in Wisconsin. These audio shorts correspond with stories that aired on Wisconsin Public Radio’s Wisconsin Life program

In the Breakroom” Interviews
We asked a handful of Wisconsin personalities some questions as part of a series that was published in our online magazine, Humanities Booyah. The responses are interesting, every one of them. This is the real stuff of our lives.

Working Warriors: Military Life Beyond Combat
This traveling exhibition was produced by the Wisconsin Veterans Museum. Available to communities around the state, this photo-rich exhibition inspires thoughtful programs and conversation about the working lives of non-combatant military professionals.

Essays and Stories
There are so many stories. Work is a word, an idea, and an experience that has meaning for all of us. Here are some examples from WHC-funded projects and programs, of the different ways we make a living and make a life.

How do we see ourselves as workers today?

Why and how has that changed?

What are our hopes for what work will look like in the future?

Why is making a living different from making a life?


We don’t all have the same opportunities, challenges, or aspirations. But we can learn from and celebrate the life and work of every person. With one another, we can study the past and consider the future.


Study the Past Living in the Present Consider the Future