Working Groups Session Description

The 2017 National Humanities Conference | Thursday, Nov. 2 - Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017 | Boston



National Humanities Conference Working Groups Detailed Information:

The National Humanities Conference provides meeting space for working groups to meet and continue an ongoing conversation. Conference working groups are seminar-like conversations of at least 8 people that explore, in-depth, a subject of shared interest.  Working groups have a purpose they are working toward, a problem they are actively trying to solve. The working group convenes for a session at the conference, but also enters into conversation before the conference and develops a final product after.

Each working group will have two facilitators, responsible for organizing the pre- and post-conference exchanges and facilitating the conversation at the conference itself.  The facilitators may decide whether the convening of the working group at the conference will be open to all conference attendees or only to the working group members.

Before the Conference:

  • If the working group is accepted, facilitators are responsible for ensuring that the group reaches the 8-person mark. Both the National Humanities Alliance (NHA) and the Federation of State Humanities Councils (FSHC) staff are happy to work with the organizers of the working group to identify participants. Calls for participants can go out on NHA and FSHC communication channels.  The facilitators will be responsible for determining which prospective participants join the group. The names of participants may be included on the proposal submitted by the March 16 deadline but selection may also be completed after submission of the proposal. All participants must be identified no later than October 1, 2018.
  • Working groups involve pre-conference communication among the group participants to set the stage for a productive conversation at the conference itself. The facilitators will be responsible for determining what form the pre-conference communication will take and what final product the group hopes to develop.
    • Pre-conference communication can take several forms: a full group conference call; small group conference calls or meetings; circulation of papers or articles for consideration; exchange of written position statements, with questions that will be discussed more fully at the conference itself; collaborative creation of a document to be distributed to attendees at the working group session.
    • Possible final products can also take several forms, such as an article, a list of resources, a white paper, a best practices document, or a new collaborative project.

At the Conference:

  • Working groups sessions at the conference will run 1.5 hours.
  • The facilitators will decide what percentage of the time will be dedicated to conversation among the working group participants and what percentage will be dedicated to questions and conversation with the audience.
  • The facilitators will introduce the goals of the working group and facilitate the conversation among the participants. The facilitators will also outline what end product the group aspires to develop.

After the Conference:

  • The facilitators will ensure that the final product is shepherded to its completion.
  • The facilitators will work with NHA and FSHC to make the final products available on their websites, as appropriate.