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.
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!
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.