Archive for the ‘Our Working Lives Project’ Category

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

Health, Work, and Healthy Work: Human Factors Engineering

Our Working Lives Project, Voices from the Field | October 21, 2015 | By:

Basic needs
Katherine Sanders
 is a human factors engineer. She specializes in sociotechnical systems, essentially what makes work meaningful and healthy for people. She explains, “It’s a small, specialized field that most folks, even other engineers, have never heard of.” We met Katherine as part of our Working Lives Project. She runs workshops and consults in workplaces to help organizations and individuals learn how work either supports health or leads people toward illness.  Ergonomics is part of her background, the study of people’s efficiency in their working environment. But instead of designing physical work places or products, she focuses on the psychological and social aspects of work, and the impacts work has on personal health.  She is passionate about what she does: “I care about how the work gets done and its quality, and I care just as much about the health and well-being of the people doing the work.”

In this essay, Katherine gives us a glimpse into her world, what motivates her, and her Top 5 list for creating work systems that promote health and meaning, as well as productivity and efficiency.  Read More

Working on ShopTalk: Behind the Scenes at the WHC

Humanities Programs in Focus, Our Working Lives Project | August 26, 2015 | By:

Working on ShopTalk


People think about and talk about work all the time. We always have, and we probably always will.

A year ago, we launched our Working Lives Project.  What we hope to add to the conversation is a humanities approach that is inclusive, reflective, and that considers how we individually and collectively are ‘making a living and making a life’ through our work. Why do we work? What combination of economics, politics, ambition, and tradition pushes us to get up and do what we do every day? 

These are the questions that drive our efforts to build ShopTalk, a speaker/discussion program of the Working Lives Project.  Read More

Working through a Digital Divide: Libraries as Community Centers

Our Working Lives Project, Voices from the Field | August 5, 2015 | By:

Amy Lutzke is the Assistant Director at the Dwight Foster Public Library in Fort Atkinson. In May, Amy shared with you some of the ways she responds to the interests of her community to plan and promote successful library events.  
I recently visited with Amy at ‘her’ library. I wanted to see the Lorine Niedecker room, built during the library renovation a few years ago. Talking about the new space, and how it is used, I asked Amy what she does on a typical day.  I was curious, how has the job of a librarian evolved in her experience?

Read More

Building a Lebel Skiff

Humanities Programs in Focus, Our Working Lives Project | July 29, 2015 | By:

[F]ishermen and boats were integrated together, for good and for ill. Boats were humane tools for fisherman. They were work partners; highly esteemed, sometimes loathed, but always talked about. Tremendous care, thought, and craftsmanship went into these small boats.”

 –Tim Chochrane, A Good Boat Speaks for Itself


The Bayfield Maritime Museum is an all-volunteer organization in a town of 488 people. The mission of the museum is to preserve, interpret, and present artifacts that portray the dynamic nautical history of Bayfield and the Apostle Islands in Lake Superior.  If you go to the museum this summer as one of the 432,000 visitors who flock north on Highway 13, you may find a pop-up tent on S. 1st Street along the waterfront.  Inside you’ll find volunteers and visitors alike invited to drill a hole, spile a line, or plane a board smooth.

Starting last summer, crowds have been gathering under the tent for boat building lessons and demonstrations. People are encouraged to engage with the builders, who have both a professional and historic understanding of fishing and boats on the Big Lake. 

The boat under construction has been named the Cubby Lebel Skiff. Read More

Listen to Your Mother: Learn Her History

Our Working Lives Project, Voices from the Field | May 6, 2015 | By:



Jodi Vandenberg-Daves is a professor of Women’s Studies and History at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. She says, “I like to think I’ve been prompting new conversations between students and their mothers for the past 17 years.” Along the way, she was also raising three kids and teaching courses on The History of Motherhood, first at Macalester College and now at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. 

Her latest book, ‘Modern Motherhood:  An American History,’ was recently published (Rutgers University Press, 2014).  ‘Modern Motherhood’ provides the first synthesis of the history of mothers’ experiences and motherhood as ideal, ideology, and institution, with its various political, national, religious and scientific meanings. 

We asked Jodi to share some of her ideas for Humanities Booyah in honor of Mother’s Day and as part of our Working Lives Project: Making a Living and Making a Life in Wisconsin. We encourage you to heed her call to talk to the mothers in your lives, listen to their stories, and bring the important work that happens in the private sphere into our collective consciousness as a valuable part of history.

 ◊ ◊ ◊ 

In most cultures since the dawn of history, women have been told that their primary role is to be a mother. And the vast majority of women in world history have become mothers. Yet remarkably few of the thousands of history books ever written focus on the history of motherhood. Read More

Earth Day’s Feminine Side

Humanities Programs in Focus, Our Working Lives Project | April 22, 2015 | By:

Each year on April 22nd, many of us pay tribute to the legacy of former Wisconsin Governor and U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson, who founded Earth Day more than 50 years ago. This year on Earth Day, we’d like to honor a few Wisconsin women past and present whose work is part of this state’s environmental legacy. 


Why be sexist on Earth Day?

Frankly, because it is easy to talk about the celebrated cast of characters who connect our state solidly within the country’s great tradition of conservation, land stewardship, and Earth Day without ever mentioning a female. We were often guilty of that ourselves when, from 2008-2012, we focused on programming as part of a Making Wisconsin Home initiative.
Our guiding questions, ‘How do the land and water of Wisconsin shape the ways people live and build communities here?’ and  ‘How has our human presence changed the landscape over time?’ are still of interest to us today. But seeing them through the lens of our current initiative, Working Lives: Making a Living and Making a Life in Wisconsin, brings forward a very practical image of what people are literally ‘doing’ on these fronts. And considering our relationship with the recently launched Wisconsin Women Making History website, we are tuned in to the voices, stories, and people that are not always remembered.

Read More

The ABC’s of Industrial Archaeology

Humanities Programs in Focus, Our Working Lives Project | April 1, 2015 | By:


A Story in Letters

There is a museum located in Two Rivers, Wisconsin that preserves and interprets something rather unique in the world of local historical sites: wood block style printing.

Wood block printing had its heyday in the last half of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  The city of Two Rivers, a short drive north from Milwaukee on the shores of Lake Michigan, served as the industry’s regional hub. Few printed materials at the time were made without at least some help from the employees of the Hamilton Manufacturing Company. Today, the Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum ensures sure their story is told. Read More

What if it was your Job to be a Politician?

Humanities Programs in Focus, Our Working Lives Project | March 25, 2015 | By:

Former Representatives Petri and Obey at the Mercer Public LibraryEvery year, in addition to giving away grants, we also develop partnerships to support projects that align with our mission.  We hope you are familiar with some of these statewide efforts featured on our Calendar of Events, but we figure it may be useful to highlight the connections being made and opportunities available. 

Two Politicians Hit the Road

This month, former Wisconsin Congressmen David Obey and Tom Petri began a road trip around Wisconsin coordinated by one of our Working Lives Project partners, the Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Service (WIPPS). Dates are being set for spring and summer and we encourage you to attend an event near you, or even invite the Congressmen into your community. The target audience for these conversations is young people, so many of the tour stops are on campuses.

But not all of them. Teresa Schmidt, a librarian at the Mercer Public Library, heard about the tour on Wisconsin Public Radio. She contacted WIPPS about scheduling a stop at the library. Read More