Author Archive

Can we talk to one another, online?

Humanities Programs in Focus | February 7, 2018 | By:

Join the conversation

The WHC has been committed to civil dialogue, civic democracy, and building strong communities since our founding more than 40 years ago. These are things we continue to hold dear. We seek out places and ways to promote these basic principals because this is how the humanities are relevant in our day-to-day lives, today and throughout time.

More and more of our time is spent in digital spaces. We know that sub-sector of our lives is fraught with challenges both unique and similar to what is going on in the public sphere. How do we listen to people with stories different than our own? How do we express our curiosities, ask questions respectfully, and seek out common ground? How do we share parts of ourselves and feel safe, build community, and grow to trust each other?

The answers are just as complicated as the questions. But we are trying.

The WHC has partnered with Love Wisconsin, a digital storytelling project focused primarily on Facebook, to use the Facebook Groups platform. Love Wisconsin Conversations was launched as a private Facebook group on January 22, 2018. The WHC is the founding partner and sponsor.

Call to action: join Love Wisconsin Conversations

Why Love Wisconsin?

We introduced you to the Love Wisconsin storysharing platform in November. Jet Waller and Megan Monday are Love Wisconsin’s creators. Starting two years ago, they began to interview Wisconsinites of different ages and backgrounds, from all corners of the state. Their driving objective has been to make accessible, compelling first-person narratives that help us all get to know more people through stories. And Wisconsinites have tuned in. 

Love Wisconsin stories are followed by more than 100,000 people. And the stories, presented in long-form over the course of a week, illicit human engagement that is remarkable for social media platforms. In fact, Love Wisconsin ranks in the top 5% of all pages globally for it’s level of engagement.

Most remarkable is the way in which the Love Wisconsin community reflects Wisconsin: thanks to Facebook analytics, we know the people who engage with Love Wisconsin’s stories are politically, economically and geographically diverse.

As an independent non-profit that serves the entire population of the state of Wisconsin, the WHC is fully committed to creating and supporting spaces that are welcoming to everyone. Again, we believe the humanities are tools, methods, and ways of exploring subject matter that encourages civil dialogue, civic democracy, and stronger communities.

Call to Action

So here’s what you can do: If you are a Facebook user, check out Love Wisconsin. If you like what you see and read, go ahead and ‘Like’ the page. If you are not a Facebook user, you can find the stories here.

And if you want to go deeper, we invite you to join Love Wisconsin Conversations. This private Facebook Group is where we’ll slow down to talk about the stories we read, like a book club. The WHC staff is participating in the conversation, too. This conversation will be rich with different perspectives, nuance, context, and respectful inquiry.

We hope to see you there!

Jessica, Dena, and Annette Miller at Love Wisconsin Conversations

Annette Miller (left) with Jessica Becker (center) and Dena Wortzel (right) from the Wisconsin Humanities Council. Ms. Miller is the facilitator for Love Wisconsin Conversations. She brings to these conversations her expertise building inclusive, welcoming communities where diverse perspectives are respected.


Happy New Year! Stories about work and the future

Our Working Lives Project | January 3, 2018 | By:

Happy New Year!

2018 is going to be a big year for our Working Lives Project!

Stories are at the heart of the humanities. From history to anthropology to philosophy to literature, all the lenses of the humanities help us to understand ourselves – where we’ve been and where we are going – through stories.

Stories will continue to be central to our 2018 Working Lives Project events. Watch for a provocative discussion about automation, artificial intelligence, and the future of work in Kenosha this spring and more storytelling events in cities around the state later in the year. Read More


We are grateful for stories: our new project with Love Wisconsin

Humanities Programs in Focus | November 22, 2017 | By:

Duane and Barb grew up in northern Wisconsin. High-school sweethearts, they are now in their later years. Together they have started a movement to preserve their Finnish cultural heritage. Duane said, “In my class as a kid, about 80% of the Finnish kids spoke Finn. In my brother’s class, about three years later, it was probably 5%. It happened that fast. So now we’re trying to build it back up.” Read More


Mini Grants awarded this fall

Humanities Programs in Focus | September 13, 2017 | By:

Mini Grants awarded in September 2017

We’re pleased to award $8,000 to four great projects that include exploring the plays of Ibsen to support for high school students to learn about the working lives of construction and trades workers; and from the exploration of perceptions of Black motherhood to celebrating the conclusion of a community visioning project.

The Wisconsin Humanities Council couldn’t fund these projects without support from the National Endowment of the Humanities. The NEH provides 90% of the funding that enables us to bring great programming, support and services to the state of Wisconsin. Project sponsors match grants in their community with an average of $3 for every $1 we award.

Congratulations to these four organizations! These 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! Read More


Starting the Conversation in Beloit

Humanities Programs in Focus | July 20, 2017 | By:

The Wisconsin Humanities Council is committed to strengthening community life for every Wisconsinite. We are doing this using history, culture, and conversation in different ways every day.

As an organization, we are guided by a board that includes humanities professionals and members of the public. These extremely dedicated volunteers from around the state bring a range of experience and wisdom to their service. We are lucky to get to know each and every one of these people during their tenure.

In June, we eagerly greet our newly nominated members as they rotate onto the board. This year was no exception. We are excited to introduce you to (l-r) Juan Jimenez, Alton “Sonny” Smart, Kathy Laakso and John Viste! Read More


Summer Reading for 2017

Voices from the Field | July 6, 2017 | By:

What are you reading?

This is a question we love to ask, and answer.

In a conversation with my seven-year-old recently, I casually but deliberately mentioned that there are books about any question you could possibly ask.

“You mean there are books about where the first seeds came from, and who planted them?” she immediately replied. She was incredulous.

Yes, there are so many books. More than we’ll ever read in one lifetime. And isn’t that wonderful!?

Every summer we indulge ourselves in the fun of sharing some book recommendations with you. Here is our list for summer 2017, though these books will hold there own into 2018 and beyond. Enjoy!

Read More


Major Grants Announced

Humanities Programs in Focus | June 28, 2017 | By:

We’re pleased to award $71,460 to eight outstanding projects that explore history, culture, race and ethnicity, youth leadership and regional folklore and lifeways. The Wisconsin Humanities Council couldn’t fund these projects without support from the National Endowment of the Humanities. The NEH provides 90% of the funding that enables us to bring great programming, support and services to the state of Wisconsin. Project sponsors match grants in their community with an average of $3 for every $1 we award.

Congratulations to these eight organizations! These 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!

Read More


Mini Grant Awards Announced

Humanities Programs in Focus | June 15, 2017 | By:

We’re pleased to award $8,000 to four great projects that tackle everything from support for youth information literacy to a Civil Rights History Trail celebration, and from a play that explores public health and personal freedom to a series of local history topics.

The Wisconsin Humanities Council couldn’t fund these projects without support from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The NEH provides 90% of the funding that enables us to bring great programming, support and services to the state of Wisconsin. Project sponsors match grants in their community with an average of $3 for every $1 we award.

Congratulations to these four organizations! These 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! Read More


When friends come together, this is what happens!

Voices from the Field | April 13, 2017 | By:

img_2564-croppedWe believe in the power of face-to-face conversation and we value community. This comes through in our programs, which forward our mission to use history, culture and conversation to strengthen community life. And so when we moved into our new office space last summer, we knew it was a good excuse for a party.

Last week, we welcomed friends new and old to our Regent Street office. Our cozy space was filled with music, food, conversation, and lots of good energy.  Now in our 45th year, WHC ties and friendships are deep and strong.  Thank you to all who were with us!

You may know that federal support for the humanities goes back to the founding of the National Endowment for the Humanities 1965.  You may not know this fun piece of American history that Dena Wortzel, WHC director, shared at our party.  Until the founding of the United States Postal Service in 1792 with the Post Office Act, postal service in countries around the world was created for and used by nations’ elites.  Our founding fathers believed a literate populace was the key to sustaining democratic institutions. They thought the way to achieve this was to circulate newspapers to every American.

After independence from England, the new government created a system of routes and established that all newspapers could be mailed at the same low rate. This set off an explosion of new newspapers from all sorts of political viewpoints. The post office was the main way, sometimes the only way, people got information. From this initial and fundamental structuring of a system to provide access to news and differing viewpoints, our democracy grew.

The WHC takes pride in its 45 year history of partnerships and friendships with people, communities, and organizations around the state. Federal support, and therefore our future, is uncertain.  We are grateful for your support, and all that you do to keep humanities conversations vibrant.

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Thank you for contacting your members of Congress to ask for his or her support for full funding of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Federal/State Partnership, which funds the Wisconsin Humanities Council. To find your representative, click here.


 

$62,195 in WHC grants awarded in 2017 Listen to WI Life Radio Essays about Work Request for Proposals to the WHC

 


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Big Impact, Many Ripples

Humanities Programs in Focus | March 30, 2017 | By:

WHC programs have impacts that spread

The humanities are about who we are and how we fit together.

There couldn’t be a more important time to talk about why the humanities matter. As we’ve said here beforethe humanities are critical to civic discourse, community building, local identity, regional culture, and democracy.

What is the Wisconsin Humanities Council’s role in this?  If the National Endowment for the Humanities is cut from the Federal budget, as has been proposed, the WHC would longer exist.  If that happens, what will Wisconsin lose?

Or to put it another way, what is the real impact of the public humanities in Wisconsin?  What strikes us most is how, like pebbles skipped across a pond, the community projects we support have many ripples. 

Each WHC grant and every event we hold sets into motion untold numbers of creative ideas and personal connections, crossing through local and regional networks and touching every Wisconsinite. Read More