Archive for the ‘Our Working Lives Project’ Category

The look and feel of work for women today

Humanities Programs in Focus, Our Working Lives Project | February 23, 2018 | By:

News articles, studies, and personal experience together paint a complex picture of women’s lives in 2018. Women face unique obstacles in their lives and careers. They are also leading the way, redefining the norms, taking risks and confidently re-imagining the world.

Both modern and historical factors shape the ongoing conversation about women’s working lives. All of us are affected, no matter our gender.

And that is where ShopTalk comes in. Read More

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

Why do we work? and other questions for working people

Our Working Lives Project, Voices from the Field | October 12, 2017 | By:

Work clock

By Alison Staudinger

Why do you work?

How can a daily activity like work be both the worst and the best of life? Perhaps it is in part because humans have come to expect meaning from their work, in addition to material or social benefits. To understand this development, the humanities offer a unique lens. They offer records of the everyday and methods to study them.

Read More

Healthy Living in the New Year

Our Working Lives Project | January 12, 2017 | By:

a pile of carrots

by Katherine Sanders, PhD

The New Year is a season of promises.  Many of us pledge to make improvements in our lives.  And, of course, many of our promises are about health.  (I’m procrastinating even as I write this – I should be on my way to the gym!)

Your health promises might be like mine, focused on something you know directly impacts your well-being, such as what you eat and how often you move. 

But there is another area of life that also has a direct impact on health – work.  Most of us spend the majority of our waking lives working.  That work experience shapes our mental and physical health.  It either supports or erodes our self-esteem and sense of belonging.  If you’ve worked in an unhealthy work system, you’ve lived this.  It can be a visceral experience.

What most people don’t realize is that we can design work to promote health.  There are decades of research on work’s impact on health.  We know how. So when the WHC invited me to refresh this article from last year, I jumped at the chance.  I’m eager to reach as many people as I can with this message: Work can be healthy for you.  And you deserve healthy work.

It’s been a pleasure to be part of the Shop Talk speaker series.  I’ve enjoyed talking with people from diverse professions and career stages.  What unites us is our interest in creating healthier working lives for ourselves and our colleagues. 

What would 2017 be like for you if one of your resolutions was to increase the health of your working life? 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

How We Will Work: Stories from Wisconsin

Our Working Lives Project, Voices from the Field | October 6, 2016 | By:


Here on Humanities Booyah, we curate a mix of voices and ideas. Our interests are eclectic. We are just as interested in hearing from museum directors with tips for reaching out to new audiences as we are in learning about nearly-forgotten Wisconsin authors and their once-famous books.

Our all-time most popular article, however, stands out for being different. “In My Experience: The Work of a Medical Transcriptionist” is a personal story shared with us by a woman named Sue in Menomonee Falls. We had just launched our Working Lives Project when Sue contacted us in response to hearing our director, Dena Wortzel, challenge us to reflect on the unseen work — and workers — all around us.  Sue knew too well what being unseen can mean. Read More

Motherhood and Work: ShopTalk Perspectives

Our Working Lives Project | May 12, 2016 | By:

painting by Carl Wilhelm Kolbe, the younger, called 'Cooper Shop'

The painting is used with permission from The Grohmann Museum Collection at Milwaukee School of Engineering. Painting by Carl Wilhelm Kolbe, the younger; German (1781-1853); Entitled ‘Cooper Shop,’ ca.1816; Oil on canvas; 16 3/4 x 21 3/4 in.

by Carmelo Dávila

“A mother’s work is never done.”

Whether you are a mother or not, you have certainly heard some of the many expressions about the work of motherhood.  They point to the complexity of the ‘job’ and allude to the lack of recognition for this work in society.

May is the month when Mother’s Day is celebrated, so as part of our ongoing fascination with, and examination of, the subject of work, we turn our humanities lens on the work of motherhood. ShopTalk presentations such as ‘Workplace Equity for Mothers’ and ‘Work-Life Balance: Is it an Option for Mothers?’ provide some historical and modern context within which to think about and discuss what mothering entails. We hope you will consider hosting one of these, or any of the more than forty ShopTalk presentations, in your community! Read More

Report Back: The Black Workers Forum

Our Working Lives Project | April 28, 2016 | By:

Collage of poster and murals at the Madison Labor Temple.

A collection of murals and signs on view at the Madison Labor Temple during the Black Workers Forum. Photos by Faron Levesque.

Work is something we all do, like sleeping and eating, in our own way. Work can be very personal, but none of us works in a vacuum. Life is work, and work connects to everything else.

This week, Faron Levesque, a PhD candidate in the History Department at UW-Madison, gives us her thoughts on the subject. She specializes in social movements and the cultural history of gender. As such, she sees the connection between work and current social movements that address inequities in housing, debt, education, incarceration, healthcare….and more. Read More

100 Years of Pulitzer

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

new york may 2011 049

Big News! Usually we are giving grants, but we are thrilled to be on the receiving end this time.

We are grateful to the Pulitzer Prizes Board for an award of over $20,000 to put toward Celebrating Excellence: One Hundred Year of Wisconsin Pulitzer Prize Winners.

Radio programs, publications, statewide events, and an award for high school journalists, all happening throughout 2016 in Wisconsin, are part of the nationwide commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Pulitzer Prizes. We are really excited to be part of this effort to raise awareness of the state’s past and present journalistic and literary stars and their accomplishments. Read More

Reflections: Our Favorite Humanities Experiences of 2015

Humanities Programs in Focus, Our Working Lives Project, Tips for Grant Writers, Voices from the Field | January 20, 2016 | By:


The past year has been an important year at the WHC. We have been working hard to use our online presence to support and strengthen the statewide humanities community. These efforts include using Facebook to spread inspiration, encourage curiosity, and celebrate your work, and ours. We also participate in the lively and often reverential Twitter conversation about the public humanities.

And here, on Humanities Booyah, we are sharing best practices for public programming, talking about the challenges of writing grant proposals, and highlighting voices, ideas and projects with articles written just for you. A year ago, we declared our goals for this online magazine. In the coming year, we will be Read More