Humanities Programs in Focus, Our Working Lives Project | October 24, 2019 | By: Jessica Becker
In the years since we launched the Working Lives Project, a lot has changed in the economy and even in the nature of work itself. I’m so happy that we were able to help people across the state reflect with one another on the past, present, and future of work.
Today, I want to give a special shout-out to the two dozen presenters who made the ShopTalk speaker program such a success. This month, we’re celebrating the completion of the program, which brought over 200 presentations and lively conversations about work to communities from Bayfield to Milwaukee, from Rice Lake to Cross Plains.
“ShopTalk topics were timely and timeless, and seemed designed to spark discussion and foster connections among humans,” said one library host.
Space doesn’t permit me to list every speaker and talk, but among our most popular were Corey Saffold on the paradox of being African American and a police officer, Jim Leary sharing the folksong traditions of Wisconsin workers, Rachel Monaco-Wilcox educating audiences about human trafficking, Alan Anderson on the forgotten craftsmen who build Frank Lloyd Wright’s furniture, and Jesus Salas on migrant workers in Wisconsin.
As we celebrate the end of the Working Lives Project, I want to offer my thanks as we say good-bye to Carmelo Dávila, who directed the project and brought his passion to the sparking of great humanities conversations.
PS: We are so excited that Governor Tony Evers has proclaimed October Arts and Humanities Month in Wisconsin! Thanks to our partners at the Wisconsin Arts Board for their great work around the state. And thanks to all of you for being part of this work, every month of the year!
Our Working Lives Project | August 15, 2018 | By: Dena Wortzel
Miguel Hernandez, pictured here, chooses to return to his hometown in Mexico after many years as a loyal and much-needed worker on a dairy farm. Los Lecheros is a short film that reveals the complexity of the current situation and the tension around Wisconsin dairy farms and undocumented workers.
Photo credit: Coburn Dukehart/Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism
Since the day he announced his candidacy, the President’s statements on immigration have provoked intense reactions, both for and against. It’s pretty emotional. But how familiar are you – or are most Wisconsinites — with the people the President is talking about? With immigrants living in communities throughout Wisconsin today, or with the laws that govern their lives, the jobs they hold, or the measurable as well as unquantifiable effects their presence has on all of our lives? Read More
Our Working Lives Project | May 4, 2018 | By: Jessica Becker
By Carmelo Davila, Working Lives Project Director, and Jessica Becker
How will technological advancement and automation impact jobs in the U.S. and abroad?
“Will a robot take my job?” and other concerns about how technology is affecting the workplace are part of ongoing speculation about what the future of work will be for each of us. This is a complicated issue. It is not enough to hear from computer scientists, engineers, economists, or policy makers. As humans living through changes and preparing for more, we can look to the humanities to draw from historical, philosophical, and ethical sources to develop our own understanding of these changes.
The Working Lives Project is the WHC’s multi-year effort to spark thoughtful discussion about issues facing working people in our state now and into the future. A humanities approach is inclusive, reflective, and takes into consideration how Wisconsinites individually and collectively are ‘making a living and making a life’ through their work.
Humanities Programs in Focus, Our Working Lives Project | February 23, 2018 | By: Jessica Becker
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
Our Working Lives Project | January 3, 2018 | By: Jessica Becker
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
Our Working Lives Project, Voices from the Field | October 12, 2017 | By: Guest Contributor
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.
Our Working Lives Project | January 12, 2017 | By: Guest Contributor
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
Humanities Programs in Focus, Our Working Lives Project | November 17, 2016 | By: Dena Wortzel
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
Our Working Lives Project, Voices from the Field | October 6, 2016 | By: Jessica Becker
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
Our Working Lives Project | May 12, 2016 | By: Carmelo Dávila
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