2017 Conference Program

Final 2017 Conference Program

Wednesday, November 1st

Select the box to add items to your itinerary

  4:00 to 6:00 pm Program Officers Conference Meeting: Session 1 (Duxbury)

Humanities + Libation = Stimulation/Conversation/Innovation

Humanities and beer go together like, well beer and great conversation. During this session participants will hear from councils who are designing programs around alcohol – think and drinks, bar crawls, signature brews, etc. Then we’ll get into the nitty-gritty of the hows and whys – permits, sponsorships, and waivers; audience cultivation and development strategies; as well as how to make the case to skeptical directors and boards. And, because it is important to model best practices, a selection of local beers will be served, along with snacks!

PANELISTS: Amy Cunningham, Vermont Humanities; Anne Schlitt, Maine Humanities; Claire Mauschbaugh, Indiana Humanities

Moderator: Leah Nahmias, Indiana Humanities

Cost: $145 per person covers all three sessions of the Program Officers Conference.

  7:00 to 9:00 pm “The Harvest: Brown v. Board, North and South” Film Screening

Join Mass Humanities and experience a real live public humanities program at historic Hibernian Hall in Roxbury on the eve of the National Humanities Conference. The program will feature screening and discussion of excerpts from Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist/historian Douglas Blackmon’s new NEH-funded documentary, “The Harvest,” which explores the legacy of public school integration in Blackmon’s hometown of Leland, MS. The discussion will compare and contrast the stories presented in the film with Boston’s own experience with public school integration in the mid-1970s to glean insights on how better to understand and address continuing social, racial, and educational inequities in Boston and across the Commonwealth. In addition to Blackmon, the discussion will feature award-winning journalist Farah Stockman (formally with The Boston Globe and now with The New York Times), who received the Pulitzer Prize in 2016 for a series of columns she wrote about the Boston busing crisis, and two local residents who experienced the turmoil and its after-effects firsthand.

The program is supported in part by The Pulitzer Prizes Centennial Campfires Initiative and the National Endowment for the Humanities. For more information, visit the Mass Humanities website.

To register for this event, click here.

Thursday, November 2nd

Select the box to add items to your itinerary

  8:00 am to 12:00 pm Program Officers Conference Meeting: Sessions 2 & 3 (Duxbury)

8:00 am – Coffee and Light Breakfast

Set the alarm for caffeine and networking with other program officers!

9:00 to 10:30 am – Session 2: New Directions in Conversation-Based Programs

The session will start with a lightning round (5 minutes, 5 slides each) of innovative examples of conversation-based programs from across the state humanities council community. Afterwards, there will be time for discussion, questions, and opportunities to share ideas and talk about common challenges and practical solutions.

PANELISTSJason Allen, New Jersey Council for the Humanities; Ellie Hutchinson, Arizona Humanities; and Kayla Schmidt, North Dakota Humanities Council

MODERATORLeah Nahmias, Indiana Humanities

10:30 to 10:45 am – Break

10:45 am to 12:00 pm – Session 3: Designing Programs that Build Capacity in Partners

Stacy Hoshino of Hawai’i Humanities Council will lead this session on designing programs that build partners’ capacity for imaging, implementing, and communicating effective and exciting humanities programs.

12:00 pm – Adjourn

Cost: $145 per person covers all three sessions of the Program Officers Conference.

  9:00 am to 4:00 pm Concord Day Tour (Hotel Lobby)

What can we learn about Henry Thoreau by seeing the objects that surrounded him, the Journal in which he recorded and reflected on his observations, and the landscapes which served as both laboratory and sanctuary to this writer? What understandings about Thoreau come best from an immersion in the places that inspired him? What recent scholarship connecting Thoreau to the physical world has led to new insights about and interpretations of Thoreau’s life and work? We will investigate these questions as we “saunter” in his hometown in the 200th year of his birth. More information coming soon, including a timeline of the tour.

Cost: $75 per person

Maximum Space: 21 attendees

  10:00 am to 3:00 pm FSHC Board Meeting (Concord)
    The November meeting of the Federation Board of Directors with all board members, including those retiring in 2017.
  12:00 to 6:00 pm Registration Desk Open
  12:30 to 4:00 pm Workshops & Sessions (Varies)

To view all Thursday workshops and sessions, including all details, please visit the 2017 Thursday Workshops and Sessions page. Following are short descriptions and speakers for the Thursday workshops and sessions.

12:30 to 4:00 pm

Pop-Up Humanities Lab – Experiential Humanities Program (Dedham, 4th floor)

In 2015 and 2016, the Applied Humanities Learning Lab was created as an experimental and experiential course in order to show college undergraduates how to “bridge” their humanities education into careers in the profession through partnerships with local humanities institutions and professionals to create a mentor-supported, project-based learning experience. At the 2017 conference, this session will transform into a “Pop-Up Humanities Lab” as an experiential humanities program session. The Pop-Up Humanities Lab will allow participants to experience major aspects of the program in an exciting and intense 3.5-hour session under the guidance of the course facilitators, and with the aid of former students. Max Count: 40 participants. Learn more.

Speakers: Cheryl Harned, University of Massachusetts-Amherst and Mark Roblee, University of Massachusetts-Amherst

Evaluation 101 (Sturbridge, 4th floor)

This skills-building session will provide an overview of the steps involved in developing a professional program evaluation plan. The session is particularly appropriate for humanities councils wanting to learn more from their evaluation efforts. Learn more.

Speakers: Christina Citino, UMass Donahue Institute and Lizz SinclairMaine Humanities Council; 

ModeratorLeondra Burchall, NEH

1:00 to 2:00 pm

Collaborating One Community at a Time (Adrienne, 4th floor)

This session will be a hands-on event that will ask participants to conduct a humanities/cultural inventory of their own communities in order to inform the larger discussion, which will ask a series of questions, including: how can we systemically collaborate one community at a time to bring the humanities, arts, and our unique cultures to the forefront, in order to engage all sectors of the community. Learn more.

SpeakerLouis Riggs, 2500 Miles of Art and Culture

Collaboration Gives Memory New Voice (Lexington, 4th floor)

Interpreting a little-known but highly significant period in US and Texas history, the exhibition “Life & Death on the Border 1910-1920” shared the historic context of life along the Texas-Mexico border prior to, during, and after the Mexican Revolution. This session will focus on the successful collaboration between local museum staff and scholars, addressing how building connections with communities affected by this historic violence expanded the museum’s traditional audience; how the combination of an onsite exhibition, efforts to physically memorialize these sites along the border, and a digital humanities project led to a richer interpretive experience; and, most importantly, why conversations about this period of history matter so deeply to contemporary discussions of social justice and social change. Learn more.

Speakers: Monica Munoz Martinez, Brown University; Margaret Koch, Bullock Texas State History Museum; Nicole Sintetos, Brown University

Moderator: Kate Betz, Bullock Texas State History Museum

1:00 to 4:00 pm

Leading Challenging Conversations – A Brief How-To (Plymouth, 4th floor)

This interactive workshop will get attendees participating in and thinking about techniques for leading challenging, humanities-based conversations. Learn more.

SpeakerAdam DavisOregon Humanities

The Value of Visibility (Duxbury, 4th floor)

It is the deeply integrated nature of the humanities that can too often make its work, and its impact, invisible. This workshop centers on a series of core strategies for making the work of the humanities visible to audiences, supporters, and funders in the public sphere. Learn more.

SpeakersJane Androski and Emily Rye of Design Agency

2:00 to 4:00 pm

MoMS Forum (Chatham, 1st floor)

Come hear updates from MoMS staff and state humanities colleagues about how our Museum on Main Street partnership is used to leverage the power of local history and culture to reveal the unique identity of small towns across the country. We want your feedback on ideas for the next MoMS exhibition that will open in 2020.

SpeakersCarol Harsh, Museum on Main Street

2:30 to 4:00 pm

Deepening Engagement through Capital Campaigns (Berkshire, Lobby Level)

Building a programmatic endowment, establishing a physical center, or creating a pool of working capital all are ways that nonprofits develop more sustainable sources of revenue. Capital campaigns can be an effective way to deepen relationships with your community. This workshop offers guidance, tips, and lessons learned from New Hampshire Humanities’ experience with two capital campaigns ($1.8M in the late ’90s and $2.1M over the past 3 years). Learn more.

Speakers: Deborah Watrous, New Hampshire Humanities and Al CantorAlan Cantor Consulting

3:00 to 4:00 pm

Conversations, Not Lectures (Adrienne, 4th floor)

In 2016, the Cambridge Historical Society outlined a new focus for its 111 year old organization: instead of offering a random assortment of programs for a year, they decided to choose one issue to focus on for the year and offer the historical perspective. By offering the “how we got there,” we knew we will be helping our community better solve the question, “now what do we do?” Instead of projecting the theme, the society framed it as a question and had members of the community help answer the question together. The goal of this session is to highlight the importance and impact of inquiry-based history programs for adults that engage audiences and spark conversation. Participants will leave with an understanding of how to hold a conversation-based program in their community that achieves their pre-determined measurement of success. Learn more.

Speakers: Marieke Van DammeDiana Lempel, and Lynn Waskelis of the Cambridge Historical Society

  1:00 to 3:30 pm Boston Harbor Tour (Hotel Lobby)

This 90-minute tour of Boston’s transformed harbor will be narrated by Bruce Berman, director of strategy and communications for Save the Harbor/Save the Bay. Berman, who taught public policy and Boston Harbor history for 15 years at Brown University and who is now a Visiting Scholar at Brown University writing a book on the political history of fisheries management in the United States, will talk about the history of the harbor, and the history of the $5 billion Boston Harbor clean-up, which has given the city the cleanest urban beaches in the nation.

Berman will be accompanied by a costumed pirate, who will share stories from the Age of Sail and lead willing participants in the historic sea shanty, “Haul Away Joe,” which has been a cornerstone of the organization’s youth program curriculum and which was developed in partnership with Mass Humanities. More information coming soon, including detailed information on tour stops and spots, and a contest!

Please note: there is a 20-minute walk from the National Humanities Conference hotel, the Hyatt Regency Boston, to the Harbor. Participants will meet in the lobby at 1:00 pm.

Cost: $35 per person

Maximum Space: 100 attendees, kids welcome

  1:30 to 3:30 pm Black Heritage Trail Tour (Hotel Lobby)

Spend an afternoon exploring Boston’s Black Heritage Trail. In a tour led by the Museum of African American History’s Director of Education and Interpretation L’Merchie Frazier, we will begin at Augustus Saint-Gaudens famous memorial to Robert Gould Shaw and Massachusetts 54th Regiment across from the Massachusetts State House and proceed to the museum’s extraordinary and unique treasure: The African American Meeting House, built by Boston’s free black community in 1806 and now one of the preeminent National Historic Landmarks in the United States. Then, we will walk the museum’s Black Heritage Trail and explore sites of Boston’s abolitionist movement and Underground Railroad history with a National Park Service Ranger as our guide. The tour will end back at the museum where we will view the current exhibit, Picturing Frederick Douglass: The Most Photographed American of the 19th Century, and be joined by Harvard Professor of English and African and African American Studies John Stauffer, Douglass scholar and co-author of the book on which the exhibition is based for a gallery talk.

Please note: there is a 15 minute (0.6 miles) walk from the hotel lobby to the Museum of African American History.

Cost: $35 per person

Maximum Space: 40 attendees

  2:00 to 3:00 pm Coffee Break
  4:30 to 6:00 pm “The Humanities and 21st Century Challenges” Opening Panel (Grand Ballroom)

This plenary panel will explore the role of the humanities in addressing three contemporary challenges: gene editing, climate change, and migrant/refugee crises. Each of the panelists is actively engaged in work to address one of these challenges and will reflect on the crucial role the humanities plays in their efforts. In addition, the panel as a whole will work towards developing broader claims about the importance of the humanities to addressing these social, cultural, and scientific challenges.

The panel will be moderated by Tom Rudin, Director of the Board on Higher Education and Workforce (BHEW) at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, who currently overseeing a commission on the integration of education in the humanities, arts and STEM fields.


Ben Hurlbut, Assistant Professor, Arizona State University School of Life Sciences

Judith Swift, Professor, Communication Studies/ Theatre; Director, Coastal Institute, University of Rhode Island

Angel David Nieves, Presidential Visiting Associate Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) and Digital Humanities, Yale University

  6:00 to 7:00 pm Opening Reception (Ballroom Foyer)

Converse with colleagues and explore the issues discussed at the Opening Panel as we kick off the 2017 National Humanities Conference with a reception to welcome attendees to Boston. The opening panel and reception will be held at the conference hotel, the Hyatt Regency Boston.

Cost: $45 per person

  7:30 to 9:00 pm FSHC Board Dinner (Chatham, 1st floor

Friday, November 3rd

Select the box to add items to your itinerary

  7:30 am to 5:00 pm Registration Desk Open (Ballroom Registration)
  7:30 to 8:30 am Continental Breakfast (Ballroom Foyer)
  8:30 to 9:15 am Conversations with Regional Colleagues (Grand Ballroom)
    Join colleagues in your part of the country to exchange ideas, learn about new projects, and discuss how you might work together to address issues of concern in your state or region.  Table tents at this networking event will enable you to search out colleagues from your region for conversation, information exchange, and potential collaborations.
  9:15 to 9:30 Break
  9:30 to 10:30 am Concurrent Sessions (Varies)

This session features seven concurrent sessions. Information for each session, including topic, goals, and presenters is below.

POP-UP CLASSROOMS (Sturbridge, 4th floor)

With world events and national politics moving with unusual speed, a number of pop-up classes seemed to develop almost simultaneously on Northeastern University’s campus. These spontaneous events were responsive to people’s immediate needs for facts and information, dialogue, and exchange of ideas and strategies. In this session, Northeastern faculty explores this pedagogic phenomenon, referred to as the “revival of the teach-in.” Panelists will discuss several of these co-curricular programs and consider ways to expand the reach of Humanities “pop-ups” even further.

Speakers: Elizabeth Maddock DillonNortheastern UniversitySerena ParekhNortheastern UniversityLaura GreenNortheastern UniversityRachel E. RosenbloomNortheastern University School of Law 

Moderator: Lori Hope LefkovitzNortheastern University Humanities Center

RACE IN AMERICA (Martha’s Vineyard A, 1st floor)

During this session, Sam Pollard and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Douglas Blackmon will discuss their forthcoming film, “The Harvest,” which focuses on the conundrum of race, equality, and desegregation in American society. Set in Blackmon’s hometown of Leland, MS, the film explores issues such as the local schools’ lapse into defacto segregation and raises the question, “What happened?” Though the film is possibly filled with portents, it also contains hopeful tidings for our common future. Session attendees will have the chance to ask filmmakers questions after their presentation.

Speakers: Douglas Blackmon, Miller Center of Public Affairs and Sam Pollard, NYU TISCH School of Arts


Small and mid-size museums and cultural organizations across the country face unique challenges when it comes to maintaining their collections, developing exhibitions, and financing engagement activities. This session explores ways traveling exhibitions like NEH on the Road can help museums and organizations address these challenges. Veteran NEH on the Road programmers will provide examples of how traveling exhibitions can be used as scalable projects that engage broader audiences, increase financial support, and receive recognition within the community.

SpeakersAngelique Bergeron, West Banton Rouge Museum; Deborah Cowman, Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History; Dana Thorpe, Upcountry History Museum; Julianne Smith, Ypsilanti Public Library

Moderator: Erinn Roos-Brown, Mid-America Arts Alliance


While enthusiasm for democratic ideals has not waned, research shows that knowledge and comprehension of civics-related topics such as current social and political events, the principles of democracy, the ideas and systems that form our government, and history, are at historically low levels. Presenters will contextualize the decline of civic knowledge, share research-based strategies for addressing it, and engage the audience in an interactive discussion on resources humanities organizations can offer to support the revitalization of civic education. All presenters represent projects that were funded by the NEH Humanities in the Public Square initiative.

SpeakersSarah DeBacher, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities; Melissa Huber, Humanities Texas; Liz Sevcenko, Humanities Action Lab; Jennifer Scott, Jane Addams Hull-House Museum

Moderator: Shantrell Austin, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities


This panel will consider the challenges, opportunities, and valuable outcomes of deep and authentic humanities-STEM integration. Humanities faculty from primarily technical institutions, as well as a recent graduate, will discuss their experiences with Humanities-STEM integration.

SpeakersThomas Ewing, Virginia Tech; Edward Mercer, Gale Associates, Inc.; Robert Martello, Olin College of Engineering; Jessica Smith, Colorado School of Mines

Moderator: Kris Boudreau, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

HYPER-LOCAL HISTORY (Lexington, 4th floor)

Hyper-local history is a term being used more often, but what does it mean? This session will help define the term by examining three successful hyper-local projects: the founding of the Robstown Community History Day, the creation of a virtual tour of New Bedford, MA, in the mobile app “Rhode Tour,” and the completion of a primary research project that examined the history of slavery, indenture, and freedom within a small Rhode Island community.

SpeakersRon Potvin, John Nicholas Brown Center; Marjory O’Toole, Little Compton Historical Society; Jonathan Cortez, Department of American Studies, Brown University


In 2015, the University of New Hampshire Center for the Humanities initiated a fellowship program in publicly-engaged humanities in order to expand the cohort of faculty who do engaged work, emphasize the value of the humanities in citizens’ lives at a time often characterized as a crisis in academic humanities, and provide resources for collaboration with public organizations. This panel will feature four recipients of the fellowships who will consider how their projects relate to their scholarly trajectories and classroom work, reflect on the idea of “the public” in its relationship to the academy, and discuss the role public humanities projects play in an age where academic humanists are concerned about the possible destabilization and devaluing of their work.

SpeakersEleanor Harrison-Buck, University of New Hampshire; Alecia Magnifico, University of New Hampshire; Nick Smith, University of New Hampshire; Svetlana Peshkova, University of New Hampshire; Christina Ortmeier-Hooper, University of New Hampshire

Moderator: Burt Feintuch, University of New Hampshire Center for the Humanities

MOMENTS OF CRISIS: HOW DO COUNCILS RESPOND? (Martha’s Vineyard B, 1st floor)

The events of August 11 and 12 in Charlottesville, Virginia and their tragic consequences have shaken many of our assumptions about the world in which we thought we lived. PErhaps even more shocking has been the tepid condemnation to the white nationalist terrorists’ activities from our nation’s leadership. As humanities councils and as non-partisan nonprofits, we usually emphasize the activity of debate and dialogue and provide resources and syllabi to place current events in a historical context; we normally shy away from inserting ourselves in an argument, taking sides, and making overtly political statements. But what happens when we experience a crisis and are witness to a morally abhorrent and violent act that affects the communities we serve and threatens the idea of the nation in which we live?

In the wake of Charlottesville, Matthew Gibson and Pat Williamsen will lead a discussion to investigate how councils respond to these types of events. The intention of this panel is that it be a sharing and brainstorming session to discuss how we define “crisis” and to consider ways we have acted in the past and should act in the future.

SpeakersMatthew Gibson, Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and Pat Williamsen, Ohio Humanities


Learn how a bequest-based planned giving program can take your fundraising to the next level, cementing key relationships with supporters, increasing revenues, and securing the future of your organization. The session will provide an overview of gifts by bequest and also address the issues of how to launch a planned giving program, and how to weave planned giving into your donor conversations.

SpeakerLindsay Kafka, LSK Consulting

  10:30 to 10:45 am Networking Coffee Break


  10:45 am to 12:15 pm Constituent Group Conversations (varies)

These sessions give an opportunity for attendees to connect with others in a similar position to exchange ideas, address common opportunities and challenges, and network.


This session offers conference participants affiliated with higher education institutions and scholarly societies the opportunity to participate in one of several facilitated discussions on approaches the academic community is taking towards deepening public engagement with the humanities.

ModeratorStephen Kidd, National Humanities Alliance


Do you understand the relationship between NEH, state councils, and the Federation? Attendees at this session will achieve a good understanding of the work of the Office of Federal/State Partnership, NEH’s programs beyond its work with state councils, and the relationship between state councils, the NEH, and the Federation.

Attendees are encouraged to send a question or topic they’d like to see covered during this session to mchambers@neh.gov. Topics might include board governance, roles and responsibilities, fundraising, and fiduciary responsibility, just to name a few.

SpeakersMeg McReynolds, NEH Federal/State Partnership; Joshua Sternfeld, NEH Federal/State Partnership; Michael ChambersNEH Federal/State Partnership


This constituent session is for humanities council board chairs whose councils are members of the Federation of State Humanities Councils.

ModeratorJim Burke, Mass Humanities


This constituent session is for humanities council board members whose councils are members of the Federation of State Humanities Councils.

ModeratorKate Stephenson, Federation Board and Joan Abrams, Federation Board


This constituent session is for executive directors, presidents, and CEOs of humanities councils who are members of the Federation of State Humanities Councils.

ModeratorBriann Greenfield, New Jersey Council for the Humanities and Shannon Smith, Wyoming Humanities Council

COUNCIL PROGRAM OFFICERS (Martha’s Vineyard A, 1st floor)

Humanities and Community Needs: What Problems Can We Solve (and How) and What Ones Can We Not (and Why)?

Many people working in the public humanities create program that attempt to take on society’s big challenges and create a more fair, more just world. This work is set against the backdrop – and indeed, often responds to – what feels like a divided, if not broken, civil society; increasingly vitriolic and partisan politics; and fundamental demographic and economic changes.The idea for this session has been percolating beneath the surface of the last few gatherings of the Program Officers Constituent Group and was voted the most urgent to talk about when officers were surveyed last winter. The time allocated here will be used for small and large group discussion around the provocative question of how the humanities can (and/or cannot) respond to community needs. Together, participants will reflect on the opportunities and limitations of using the humanities to build a better world. The session leaders anticipate personal conversations about the theoretical and practical considerations of designing humanities programs that respond to and/or attempt to solve community issues.

Moderators: Leah Nahmias, Indiana Humanities and Stacy Hoshino, Hawaii Humanities Council


NEW! Agenda for the Communications Meeting

Note: participants are asked to bring their council’s marketing materials to meeting for “show and share” purposes.

  1. Social Media
    1. Focusing on 1-2 platforms that best reach your audience
    2. Creating video on social media: how much must be spent to produce a useable product? What tools are needed?
    3. Managing social media best practices and using platforms such as Hootsuite, Buffer. Are councils having success with other platforms?
    4. Effectively using Facebook ads – geo targeting for events and other best practices
  2. Website Development
    1. Best practices for refreshing and developing your brand based on California Humanities’ recent refresh
    2. Platforms and information sharing – WordPress, Concrete5, others?
    3. How to gather email addresses using free content such as webinars and eBooks but also taking precautions against spamming
    4. CRM’s – what CRM’s are councils using and which are most effective? Salesforce, Constant Contact, etc.
  3. Advocacy Communications: Time permitting. Participants interested in this topic can attend “All Politics are Local: Advocacy for Volatile Times” session at 1:30 pm.
    1. Creating consistent and cohesive messaging
    2. Strategic timing of communications – avoid “communication exhaustion” and “reactionary” messaging
    3. Using the best available tools for advocacy

ModeratorsJody Sahota, California Humanities and Ryan Woodard, South Dakota Humanities Council

COUNCIL FISCAL OFFICERS (Lexington, 4th floor)

This constituent session is for fiscal officers and staff of councils who are members of the Federation of State Humanities Councils.

ModeratorEric Sanders, Humanities Washington


This constituent session is for development officers and staff of councils who are members of the Federation of State Humanities Councils.

ModeratorAdam Green, Oregon Humanities

  12:15 to 1:30 pm Lunch On Your Own
  1:30 to 2:30 pm Concurrent Sessions (varies)

This session features nine concurrent sessions. Information for each session, including topic, goals, and presenters is below.


Can data mobilize the humanities? Can it be used to reframe today’s conversations and perceptions about the humanities? This panel will discuss how the humanities are drawing on a wide variety of sources to make the case for their value, but increasingly find themselves pressed to make that case in terms of “hard” data. Panelists will present how their work strives to both create this “hard” data while also being informed and shaped by it.

SpeakersRobert Townsend, Humanities Indicators/American Academy of Arts and Sciences; Alan Liu, 4Humanities/University of California, Santa Barbara; Valerie Barr, Mount Holyoke College

Moderator: Christine Henseler, 4Humanities/Union College


This session will explore the power of the humanities in the search for healing and reconciliation, especially in local communities but also on a broader national and international scale. Panelists will discuss the relationship between identity, historical or inherited trauma, and the ways that different groups of people view the stories they have in common; and how history is remembered in ways that may be difficult to reconcile. Touching on topics ranging from domestic tensions during the Civil Rights Era to international historical conflicts in the Middle East and Russia, this panel will try to answer how the humanities help create discourse in places where the divide is great.

SpeakersMark Habeeb, Georgetown University; Daryl Byler, Eastern Mennonite University; Elsabe Ina Dixon, History United

Moderator: David Bearinger, Virginia Foundation for the Humanities


This session will use critical race theory, liberation theology, and a social pedagogical framework to examine how collaborations between scholar-activists, community organizations and arts and humanities groups can facilitate the creation of more democratic community spaces, even in potentially hostile environments. Panelists will discuss their current initiatives, the strengths and weaknesses of collaborations with higher education sites, and the possibilities for leveraging spaces to effect policy change in the future. They will also share materials and processes for ways of sustaining this type of work.

SpeakersEllie Hutchison, Arizona Humanities; Kathy Nakagawa, Asian Pacific American Studies and Culture, Arizona State University

HOW TO PODCAST! (Martha’s Vineyard A, 1st floor)

Learn the power of podcasting for your organization! This interactive, live podcast session gives attendees the professional tips for creating podcasts and using them to engage and expand audiences like never before. Attendees will also have the chance to consult a former public radio journalist about tips and techniques.

SpeakersMarieke Van Damme, Cambridge Historical Society and Curt Nickisch, Harvard Business Review

Moderator: Dan Yaeger, New England Museum Association


This panel will explore specific, potential alliances between university-based humanities programs and state humanities councils that can enrich and deepen the public humanities. Panelists will discuss collaborations that: develop innovative pedagogy that bridges academic and public learning formats; translate graduate student content expertise into public service through council-led mentorships and programs; or leverage state councils’ extensive networks as informal (or formal) liaisons between humanists seeking public-facing careers and public, private, or government organizations seeking content and skills-based expertise that recent PhDs possess.

SpeakersJulie Fry, California Humanities; Kendra Dority, UC Santa Cruz; Kara Hisatake, UC Santa Cruz; Sarah Papazoglakis, UC Santa Cruz


This panel analyzes the persistence of deep anti-Muslim sentiment in the United States. Through a historical study of mosques in Boston and an exploration of literary and visual texts, the panelists explore the presence of Islam and Muslims to understand how anti-Muslim sentiments are shaped and circulated. Panelists will then discuss where possibilities lie for breaking the hold of deeply hostile preconceptions in the public sphere about Islam and Muslims.

SpeakersSana Haroon, University of Massachusetts, Boston; Elora Chowdhury, University of Massachusetts, Boston; Rajini Srikanth, University of Massachusetts, Boston

Moderator: Leila Farsakh, University of Massachusetts, Boston


How can we connect the humanities to students’ broader educational and professional goals, regardless of their path of study? What innovative approaches help undergraduates bring multiple perspectives — from across the humanities and outside of them — to illuminate the “big questions” and “grand challenges” of the 21st century? Join us for a discussion through the lens of NEH’s new Humanities Connections grants, which support interdisciplinary collaboration to create new curricular programs. Members of two current Humanities Connections teams will offer insights from their experiences developing curriculum and related experiential learning opportunities across disciplines. Come add your contributions and queries on challenges, best practices, and next steps!

SpeakersKristin Boudreau, Worcester Polytechnic Institute; Joseph Cullon, Worcester Polytechnic Institute; David DiBiasio, Worcester Polytechnic Institute; Eleanor Townsley, Mount Holyoke College; Holly Hanson, Mount Holyoke College

ModeratorRebecca Boggs, National Endowment for the Humanities


The past few months have presented many surprises on the political front, but for humanities advocates, local stories have consistently proven to be the most effective tool.  Please join us for a session that will include a brief recap of this year’s legislative events, expectations for the next steps, and descriptions of stories and initiatives that have resonated with members of Congress and why these stories have such power.

ModeratorKen Egan, Humanities Montana/Federation Board


Join us for a roundtable discussion about the upcoming PBS documentary “The Chinese Exclusion Act” and how organizations across the U.S. can host their own community events as part of CAAM’s “Who is American: Immigration, Exclusion, and The American Dream” outreach initiative in support of the documentary.

Speakers: Jack TchenAsian/Pacific/American Studies Program and Institute at New York University and April Antonellis, National Park Service: Christine Arato, New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park

ModeratorSusan Chinsen, Center for Asian American Media

  2:30 to 3:00 pm Networking Coffee Break: Humanities and Public Life Book Series Interest Table (Ballroom Foyer)
    Stop by and meet the co-editors, Teresa Mangum and Anne Valk, of the Humanities and Public Life Book Series. Enjoy a cup of coffee and learn about the first two award-winning books and opportunities to publish a book about your own publicly engaged scholarly projects in this University of Iowa Press series.
  3:00 to 4:00 pm Concurrent Sessions (varies)

This session features seven concurrent sessions, including a lightning round. Information for each session, including topic, goals, and presenters is below.


This panel convenes leaders and teachers in the Bard College Clemente Course in the Humanities to consider routes programs might take to teach adult learners to use texts as tools, recognizing the humanities as something to be drawn upon in building their lives and their communities. Panelists are made up of teachers and administrators from diverse parts of the country, each with unique ways of implementing adult learning programming in their communities.

SpeakersOusmane Power-GreeneClemente Course in the Humanities MA; Nicholas Hengen Fox, Clemente Course in the Humanities OR; Marina van Zuylen, Clemente Course in the Humanities NY; Jack ChengClemente Course in the Humanities MA; Jim CocolaClemente Course in the Humanities MA

ModeratorLela Hilton, Clemente Course in the Humanities


A panel of leaders from the Humanities and Liberal Arts Assessment project (HULA) and two public humanities organizations, Illinois Humanities and People and Stories/Gente y Cuentos, will describe HULA’s methodology for working with humanists to develop assessment tools. Panelists from Illinois Humanities and People and Stories will share what they have learned through the assessment development process and the use of these assessments to examine their organization’s practice and impact.

SpeakersMark Hallet, Illinois Humanities; Patricia Andres, People & Stories/ Gente y Cuentos; Maggie ScheinHumanities & Liberal Arts Assessment (HULA); David Kidd, Humanities & Liberal Arts Assessment (HULA)Christopher Pupik Dean, Humanities & Liberal Arts Assessment (HULA)

Moderator: Sara Ogger, New York Humanities


Join session leaders for a workshop that explores the ways humanities scholars can leverage social media, specifically infographics and memes, to help shape current conversations in the public sphere. Session leaders will encourage participants to think about humanities education as a two-fold process: one that encourages contemplative practices and one that also provides opportunities for meaningful community engagement, in this case, the art of “going viral.”

SpeakersLauri Dietz, DePaul University and Lara Karpenko, Carroll University


This interactive session will tackle the question: what does it take for humanities faculty to effectively participate in public engagement work? Panelists will be a mix of recipients of and advisers to the new Whiting Public Engagement Fellowship.

SpeakersRenee Alexander Craft, University of North Carolina; Edward Ayers, University of Richmond; Zoë Kontes, Kenyon College; Jack Tchen, New York University; Peggy O’Brien, Folger Shakespeare Library

Moderator: Daniel Reid, Whiting Foundation

Lightning Round – ENGAGING THE PUBLIC THROUGH DIGITAL TOOLS (Martha’s Vineyard A, 1st floor)

Join us for lightning rounds on how individuals and organizations are utilizing digital tools to enhance humanities learning and engagement. Presenters, who are invited to participate on a first-come, first-serve basis, will speak about a project, initiative, or trend related to this broad theme for four minutes, accompanied by up to four slides. Following the lightning rounds, session participants and attendees will have time for discussion facilitated by a moderator.

Speakers/Participants: Anne Donlon, Modern Language Association; Jessica Lu, African American History, Culture, & Digital Humanities; Susan Perdue, Virginia Foundation for the Humanities; Maia Sherwood, Puerto Rico Humanities Council/Academia Puertorriquena de la Lengua Espanola; Lynda Kennedy, Daniel Kubis, Andrew Janiak

Moderator: Logan Hinderliter, Rhode Island Council for the Humanities


This session will cover the basics of handling disaster from how to prepare before a disaster strikes, what steps to take immediately following the event, to the long-term road to recovery. Representatives from councils recently hit with disasters, including Hurricane Harvey and Irma, will share their lessons learned and propose practices for their fellow councils to consider.

SpeakersMichael Gillette, Humanities Texas; Jessica Unger, American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works; Miranda Restovic, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities; Steve Seibert, Florida Humanities Council

ModeratorJoshua Sternfeld, NEH Federal/State Partnership

  4:00 to 4:15 pm Networking Coffee Break (Ballroom Foyer)
  4:15 to 4:45 pm Walk to Converse Hall (Meet in Hotel Lobby)
  4:45 to 5:15 pm Schwartz Prize Presentation (Offsite: Converse Hall)
    This year marks the 35th anniversary of the Schwartz Prize! Deborah Schwartz, daughter of Schwartz Prize founders Martin and Helen Schwartz, will be presenting the 2017 Prize winners. The Schwartz Prize is given annually to programs that demonstrate outstanding work in the public humanities.
  5:15 to 6:45 pm Capps Lecture and Book Signing with Dr. Craig Steven Wilder: “Going Public: The Birth and Rebirth of Erasmus Hall” (Offsite: Converse Hall)

The 2017 Capps Lecture, “Going Public: The Birth and Rebirth of Erasmus Hall” featuring Dr. Craig Steven Wilder is sponsored in part by The Lowell Institute and Mass Humanities.  Join Dr. Craig Steven Wilder as he traces the origins of one of New York City’s most iconic high schools to the old Dutch slaveholding village of Flatbush in order to explain the multiple “lives” of the school and to encourage rethinking the early history of public education. Dr. Wilder is a historian of American ideas and institutions and author of several books, including his most recent, Ebony & Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America’s Universities (New York: Bloomsbury, 2013), which Kirkus Reviews named one of the best nonfiction books of the year. He is also a senior fellow at the Bard Prison Initiative and has advised and appeared in several historical documentaries, including Ken Burns’ “Race Man,” (2016). Learn more about the 2017 lecturer here!

About the Capps Lecture: The Walter H. Capps Memorial Lecture was established by the Federation Board of Directors in 1999 to honor the memory of Congressman Walter H. Capps – teacher, writer, public servant, and humanist. A member of the California state humanities council for six years, and its chair for three, Congressman Capps was also the Federation board chair from 1983 to 1985.

  7:00 to 8:00 pm FSHC Alumni Reception and 40th Anniversary Kickoff!
    Invite Only: At this year’s conference, we welcome Federation board alumni to join us for an intimate reception hosted by the current Federation board and staff, and featuring special guests, to celebrate the beginning of the Federation’s 40th anniversary. The reception will offer an opportunity to reconnect, network, and learn more about the Federation’s recent activities, partnerships, and advocacy.
  7:00 pm Dine-around Option

What better way to meet new people, interact with colleagues. or continue conversations sparked at the conference than through food, drink, and exploration? Sign up for the first-ever conference “dine around” to join a small group after the Capps Lecture at a restaurant within walking distance! Participants can choose from restaurants that range from casual to upscale and feature a variety of cuisines. Read more about the featured restaurants, view conversation topics, and sign up here!

Cost: Guests are responsible for paying their own dinner bill. See menu pricing at each location.

Saturday, November 4th

Select the box to add items to your itinerary

  7:30 am to 5:45 pm Registration Desk Open (Ballroom Registration)
  7:30 to 8:30 am Buffet Breakfast (Ballroom Foyer)
  8:30 to 9:15 am Address from Jon Parrish Peede, Acting Chairman of the NEH (Grand Ballroom)
    Join Acting NEH Chairman Jon Peede for the NEH annual address at the National Humanities Conference. There will be time for Q&A.
  9:15 to 9:30 am Break
  9:30 to 11:00 am Out of the Closet: A Tour of Boston’s First Pride Route (Meet in Hotel Lobby)

Boston’s first official Gay Pride March was held on Saturday, June 26, 1971. When the March took place it sought to highlight four oppressive institutions in Boston: the police, the government, hostile bars, and religious institutions. Join the History Project for a walking tour that follows the first Pride March’s route and tells the stories of the community groups, individuals, and issues related to the route.

About the Presenter: Joan Ilacqua will present the tour. Ilacqua is co-chair of the Board of Directors of The History Project and has volunteered with the organization for more than three years. As a public historian with a passion for uncovering and highlighting narratives of underrepresented people, Joan also serves as the Archivist for Women in Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

About the History Project: Documenting LGBTQ Boston: This is Boston community LGBTQ archives. An all-volunteer organization established in 1980. The History Project is New England’s largest independent LGBTQ archives and serves to collect, preserve, and share Boston’s rich LGBTQ history.

Maximum Space: 20 attendees

Cost: Free

  9:30 to 11:00 am Freedom Trail Tour: Meetings, Mobs, & Martyrs (Meet in Hotel Lobby)

When Parliament imposed taxes and unpopular policies on the American colonies, Boston gained a reputation of defiance. But how did the coming Revolution look to Bostonians from inside the meeting halls and out in the streets? Join this 60 minute tour and explore the individual paths taken by three different Bostonians toward Revolutionary actions and ideas. Attendees will meet in the conference hotel lobby and then walk to the National Park Service Visitor Center at Faneuil Hall.

About the Presenter: Eric Hanson Plass, a park ranger for the Boston National Historic Park, will lead the tour. Eric holds an MA in Public History from UMass Boston and has over ten years of experience in the field. His thesis, entitled “So Succeeded by a Kind Providence”: Communities of Color in Eighteenth Century Boston, provides a base of research to broaden the narrative of colonial and revolutionary Boston in general, and the stories told along the Freedom Trail in particular. He also works on projects for the National Parks of Boston that use technology to better connect people to history.

Maximum Space: 40 attendees

Cost: Free

  9:30 to 11:00 am Working Groups (varies)

Working groups offer conference participants the opportunity to explore more deeply an area of shared interest and involve both pre- and post- conference participation by group members, as well as time at the conference to meet to advance their project.

This year’s working group topics include:


This working group will bring together communications and program directors from councils and State Centers for the Book to address questions of building strategic communications approaches that enhance the value of both Center and council efforts.

Participants: Lizz SinclairMaine Humanities Council/Harriet P. Center for the Book; Andrea LewisMaryland Humanities; Lisa Comstock, Connecticut Humanities/Connecticut Center for the Book; Jane Kulow, Virginia Foundation for the Humanities/Virginia Center for the Book; Kate LentzRhode Island Council for the Humanities/Center for the Book

Moderator:  Rachel JeffersRhode Island Council for the Humanities 

Learn More.

DISMANTLING THE “LEGACY OF RACE” (Adrienne, 4th floor)

In fall 2016, former NEH Chairman William Adams launched “Humanities and the Legacy of Race and Ethnicity.” Now, the initiative is almost complete and the question remains – what next? This session will allow for a lightning round where councils present followed by a discussion led by the 2016 working group, “Challenging the Exclusive Past,” on successes and challenges of developing programs that address these themes.

Participants: Leondra Burchall, NEH

“Challenging the Exclusive Past” Speakers: Andrea Copeland, Indiana University; Banu Valladares, North Carolina Humanities Council; Jason Allen, New Jersey Council for the Humanities; Kirk MacKinnon Morrow, Minnesota Humanities Council

Moderator: Meg McReynolds, NEH

Learn more.


The field of Islamic art history can and should play an important role in creating a productive and tolerant public dialogue in America around Islamic culture and Muslim peoples. However, professionals working with Islamic art frequently work in isolation, meeting only occasionally at conferences focused primarily on scholarly topics, and lack the support of a peer network. This session brings together museum professionals, academics, architects and political activists based in New England to discuss strategies for the presentation of Islamic art at a politically sensitive time and ways to conceptualize the field’s obligations to respond to public discourse.

ParticipantsPamela Karimi, UMass Dartmouth; Maryam Eskandari, MIIM Designs; Nadeem Mazen, Cambridge City Councilor; Walter Denny, UMass Amherst

ModeratorLaura Weinstein, Museum of Fine Arts-Boston

Learn more.


How do we need to approach humanities-based, national civic dialogue in the Trump era? The answer depends on the different ways we diagnose problems – and identify possibilities – in each of our local communities. This panel discussion will feature members of the Humanities Action Lab, a consortium of 20 universities collaborating to produce student- and community- created public humanities on pressing social issues.

ParticipantsKevin MurphyUniversity of Minnesota; Mary RizzoRutgers University-Newark; Leah Serat, Arizona State University; Marty Blatt, Northeastern University; Andy UrbanRutgers University-New Brunswick; Robin KirkDuke University

Moderator: Liz SevcenkoHumanities Action Lab

Learn more.


A question at the heart of the battle over both national funding for the humanities and state-allocated funding for humanities in higher education is the extent to which these programs provide an appreciable return on investment. This working group will discuss the increasing need to create and disseminate clear and compelling narratives that affirm the public benefits of humanities programs.

Participants: Jesse Moss, NEH; Theresa Donofrio, Coe College; Aaron Fai, Center for the Humanities, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Robert Frodeman, University of North Texas; Trey Mitchell, Virginia Foundation for the Humanities; Angela Speakman, New Jersey Council for the Humanities; Kate Viens, Massachusetts Historical Society; Joseph Pettican, Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group; Katherine Burton, Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group

ModeratorsClare CallahanHumanities Institute, College of Liberal Arts, University of Texas; Victoria DavisHumanities Media Project, College of Liberal Arts, University of Texas

Learn more.


The Humanities Graduate Programs and Collaborations across the Academic and Public Humanities Working Group first met in 2016 at the National Humanities Conference in Salt Lake City, UT, to share collaborations among humanities graduate and post-doctoral programs and humanities councils, cultural institutions, civic organizations, and nonprofit, business, and technology sectors. This year, new speakers will explain how their programs work and what lessons they’ve learned. Small groups will reflect on adapting speakers’ strategies to local practices and frame questions and recommendations for future collaborations and careers rooted in academic and public humanities.

ParticipantsMaria WisdomVersatile Humanists, Duke University; Mona FrederickVanderbilt University, Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities; Teresa MangumObermann Center for Advanced Studies, University of Iowa; Ann ArdisUniversity of Delaware, Interdisciplinary Humanities Research Center; Paula Krebs, Modern Language Association; Andrew T. MinkNational Humanities Center; Stacy M. Hartman, Modern Language Association; Matthew Krumhotlz, HuffPost

Learn more.


There is so much overlap between the arts and the humanities that humanities council staff spend a good deal of time explaining the distinction between these two fields for the purposes of partnerships, grant proposals, and other council-based programs. And yet, there is also great benefit to bringing the two areas together for rich, meaningful, and nuanced programming.

ParticipantsAllison Hutton, Georgia Humanities Council; Thomas BryantAlabama Humanities Foundation; Angel Ysaguirre, Illinois Humanities; Jodi GrahamUtah Humanities; Josephine Jones, Colorado Humanities/Center for the Book; Jann Mylet, Alaska Humanities Forum; Anne SchlittMaine Humanities Council; Julie Ziegler, Humanities Washington

Moderator: Gigi Naglak, New Jersey Council for the Humanities

Learn more.


This working group will explore practical and conceptual matters connected with linking academic research in the humanities with public programming and engagement efforts outside the academy. The group believes these are two crucial arenas of humanistic engagement that serve the nation best when working in concert.

ParticipantsClarissa CeglioUConn; Brendan KaneUConn; Matthew FarleyConnecticut Campus Compact; Robert BoatrightNational Institute for Civil Discourse, University of Arizona; Janna IsraelWadsworth Atheneum; Nancy ParentUConn; Brenda MillerHartford Public Library; Tom Scheinfeldt, University of Connecticut; Manuela Wagner, UConn; John SarroufEssential Partners; Dana Miranda, UConn; Aimme Loiselle, UConn

Learn more.

Note Different Time (Sat. 11:15 to 12:30 pm) – RADICAL PEDAGOGIES/RADICAL MESSAGES

This working group investigates spaces of political resistance and radical historical narration that can be produced by university-community collaborations. As universities embrace publicly-engaged scholarship and community organizations look to address critical social issues in a time of shrinking state support, these collaborations have become increasingly important ways for both entities to address issues of contemporary social importance through humanistic methods.

ParticipantsGabrielle Bendiner-VianiBuscada & The International Center of Photography; Heidi CramerNewark Public Library; Dipti Desai, NYU; Denise MeringoloUniversity of Maryland; Emad Mirmotahari, Duquesne University; Rebecca Amato, New York University

Moderator: Mary RizzoRutgers University-Newark

Learn more.

To learn more about each working group, including participants and details, visit the 2017 Working Groups page.

  11:00 to 11:15 am Networking Coffee Break (Ballroom Foyer)
  11:15 to 12:15 pm Concurrent Sessions (varies)

This session features six concurrent sessions. Information for each session, including topic, goals, and presenters is below.


In this session, a panel of veterans and facilitators will engage in an interactive discussion about timeless, universal questions of war and homecoming. They will explore the ways facilitated book discussions of ancient texts like Homer’s Odyssey can affect the memory and processing of war, create community among veterans by safely prompting them to share personal stories, and enhance understanding of homecoming events and situations. Ultimately, the session seeks to help participants better plan veteran initiatives and understand our obligations to one another. More information.

SpeakersBrendan O’Bryne, University of New Hampshire; Ann-Marie Contarino, Saint Anselm College; Jack Mallory, Vietnam Combat Veteran

ModeratorKathy Mathias, New Hampshire Humanities

NEH SELF-ASSESSMENT 2.0: 2018-2022 (Dedham, 4th floor)

This session is specifically for state humanities councils. State councils up for review in 2018 are particularly encouraged to attend and talk to Federal/State Partnership staff about questions and concerns about the self assessment and review process. New guidelines for the state humanities council self-assessment and review process are currently under revision for the 2018-2022 cycle. Site visits for 2018 will still continue during this period of revision.

Speakers: Meg McReynolds, NEH; Leondra Burchall, NEH; Joshua Sternfeld, NEH; Michael Chambers, NEH


Healthy and effective relationships between board chairs and executive directors can propel or sink an organization. The panel discussion (with ample time for Q&A) will explore the ways several board chair/EDs have created productive relationships that enabled their organizations to thrive.

Speakers: Julie Ziegler, Humanities Washington; Chris Sommerich, Humanities Nebraska; Keira Amstutz, Indiana Humanities; Armand DeKeyser, Alabama Humanities Foundation; Debra Holland, Humanities Washington; Katherine Walter, Humanities Nebraska

Moderator: Julie Ziegler, Humanities Washington


Learned societies not only mobilize their members to advance scholarship and support the careers of educators and researchers in their fields; they also play a critical role in increasing the understanding of their subjects among the broader public. In this session, the executive directors of four learned societies will discuss their respective associations’ initiatives to increase public engagement with humanities-related issues.

Speakers: Ann Benbow, Archaeological Institute of America; Ed Liebow, American Anthropological Association; Pauline Saliga, Society of Architectural Historians; Andrew Vaughn, The American Schools of Oriental Research

Moderator: John Paul Christy, American Council of Learned Societies


The Quilted Conscience (TQC) is an arts-based learning program that fosters intergenerational, cross-cultural bonds between individuals and communities who, otherwise, might never meet. The new issue of The American Folklore Society’s Journal of Folklore & Education recently featured a detailed article about this workshop, which is made possible through partnerships with English Language Learner departments of public schools. Program workshops give immigrant children the opportunity to meet community members, learn basic sewing and quilting skills, and ultimately, create and publicly share mural-size story-quilts containing their dreams and memories. In this workshop session, panelists will show a short Nebraska Public TV segment, discuss their respective areas of expertise, facilitate a mini-TQC project in which attendees will participate, and teach participants how they can create their own TQC workshops.

Speakers: John Sorensen, The Quilted Conscience; Peggie Hartwell, Women of Color Quilters Network; Susan Hertzler, Lincoln Public Schools


Every humanities council can run a successful major gifts program regardless of their budget size. The question is how to define success for your organization. For smaller councils – those with few staff and smaller boards – being strategic and focused is doubly important as every resource is in short supply.

SpeakerAbbie Von SchlegellA. Von Schlegell & Co; Miranda Restovic, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities; Heather Thomas, Humanities Nebraska; Peter Gilbert, Vermont Humanities Council

  11:15 to 12:30 pm Extended Sessions (varies)

This session features two extended sessions: a working group and a program review. Information for each session, including topic, goals, and presenters is below.


This working group investigates spaces of political resistance and radical historical narration that can be produced by university-community collaborations. Case studies include the Queer Network Oral History, the NYU-based community-engaged course “(Dis)Placed Urban Histories,” and The New School/Buscada’s Layered SPURA, among others. More information, including a list of participants can be found here.


In 2016, the Federation of State Humanities Councils partnered with the Pulitzer Prize Board for a yearlong, national initiative to ignite broad engagement for the Pulitzer’s centennial celebration, to focus on journalism and the humanities, to imagine their future, and to inspire new generations to consider the values represented by Pulitzer Prize-winning work. For this panel discussion, representatives from two humanities councils, FSHC, and the Pulitzer Prize Foundation will explore the full expanse of the partnership, from its conception to the public reception of the associated programs. Panelists will also discuss the future of this relationship, the opportunities that arose from the 2016 projects, and the characteristics of councils that made them strong partners. The panel will allow for 45 minutes of conversation with the panelists and 30 minutes for feedback from staff from other councils who participated in the Campfires initiative.

Speakers: Brian Boyles, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities and Jamil Zainaldin, Georgia Humanities Council

Moderator: Esther Mackintosh, Federation of State Humanities Councils

  12:15 to 1:30 pm Clemente Professors and Colleagues Book Signing (Ballroom Foyer)
  12:15 to 1:30 pm Lunch On Your Own
  1:30 to 2:30 pm Concurrent Sessions (varies)

This session features eight concurrent sessions, one of which is a lightning round. Information for each session, including topic, goals, and presenters is below.


How can we incorporate humanistic perspectives into community conversations about crime, policing, and incarceration? This panel brings together academic and public practitioners of the humanities to discuss strategies for using the arts, literature, philosophy, and history to address these divisive and important issues.

Speakers: Anne Schlitt, Maine Humanities Council; Leroy Rowe, University of Southern Maine; Tessy Seward, Maine Inside Out; Jack Hamlin, National University

Moderator: Katherine Gaudet, University of New Hampshire

NARRATIVES OF WAR AND RETURN (Plymouth, 4th floor)

This panel investigates the unique role the humanities play in understanding the contemporary experience of war and return. Panelists will focus on the individual veterans’ experience, the challenges their families face, and the impact the humanities have in supporting and changing the institutions that serve them. After the session, join Clemente Course professors and colleagues at the Networking Coffee Break for book signings and additional conversation.

Speakers: Bob Meagher, Hampshire College; Helen Benedict, Columbia University; Max Rayneard, The Telling Project

Moderator: Lela Hilton, Clemente Course in the Humanities

Lightning Round – MAKING THE CASE FOR THE HUMANITIES ON THE PUBLIC STAGE (Martha’s Vineyard B, 1st floor)

Join presenters for lightning rounds on how individuals and organizations are making the case for the humanities via a wide range of public humanities work. Presenters will speak about a project, initiative, or trend related to this broad theme for three minutes, accompanied by up to three slides. Following the lightning talks, session participants and attendees will have time for discussion facilitated by a moderator.

Participants: Cynthia DavisCollege of Arts & Sciences University of South Carolina; Venus Akef, College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning, University of Cincinnati; Mary NyangwesoEast Carolina University; Heidi BosticUniversity of New Hampshire; Susan Ware, UMass Amherst, Commonwealth Honors College; Joseph CiadellaUniversity of Michigan; Michelle Mann, Washington State University; David Razor, Brandeis BOLLI

Moderator: Beatrice Gurwitz, National Humanities Alliance


The field of linguistics is located at the intersection of the humanities and the sciences. This session will share practical strategies from language science to take advantage of these complementary areas of inquiry and broaden the reach of scholarly research.

Speakers: Laura Wagner, The Ohio State University; Colin Phillips, University of Maryland; Peter Rohloff, Brigham & Women’s Hospital; Maria Polinsky, University of Maryland

Moderator: Alyson Reed, Linguistic Society of America


Learn more about the Massachusetts Historical Society’s new Center for the Teaching of History and how it will use digital humanities projects to promote the importance of history education, civic literacy, and critical thinking. Panelists will provide examples of making existing online collections accessible to the K-12 community in ways that foster the development of twenty-first century skills.

Speakers: Kathleen Barker, Massachusetts Historical Society; Neal Millikan, Massachusetts Historical Society; Nancy Heywood, Massachusetts Historical Society

Moderator: Elizabeth Lambert, Miscoe Hill School


In this session, presenters will explore the liberating possibilities of humanities approaches to teaching and learning, and also approaches to implementing humanities pedagogies in both unlikely settings and for underserved audiences. Presenters will share from their experiences of creating innovative humanities education programming for adult learners, elementary age students, and preschoolers to aid the discussion.

Speakers: Sarah DeBacher, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities; Tara Zapp, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities; Thomas Wartenberg, Mount Holyoke College


  2:30 to 3:00 pm Networking Coffee Break featuring Clemente Course professors and colleagues book signing opportunities (Ballroom Foyer)
  3:00 to 4:00 pm Concurrent Sessions (varies)

This session features nine concurrent sessions. Information for each session, including topic, goals, and presenters is below.


The evolution of the public humanities creates new constellations for collaboration between partners whose outcomes address critical challenges in our society, often in unexpected ways. These innovations change the structure and impact of our humanities work. This panel will discuss how emerging projects in the public humanities can generate programs and events with the potential to attract funds from foundations, endowments, and individuals.

Speakers: Jeff Hardwick, NEH; Angel Ysaguirre, Illinois Humanities; Esther Mackintosh, Federation of State Humanities Councils; Ralph LewinMechanics’ Institute

Moderator: Nicholas Allen, University of Georgia


In this session, panelists will illustrate the diverse ways a public humanities center at a university can effectively convene programs. The panelists will discuss the following projects conducted at the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice at Brown University: the Civil Rights Movement initiative, the Rhode Island Middle Passage Ceremonies & Port Markers Project, the Changing America traveling exhibition, and The Center for Reconciliation. By focusing on these specific programs, the panel will demonstrate how partnerships can be used to leverage and garner community support.

Speakers: Maiyah Gamble-Rivers, Center for the Study of Slavery & Justice at Brown University; Shana Weinberg, Center for the Study of Slavery & Justice at Brown University; Anni Pullagura, Center for the Study of Slavery & Justice at Brown University; Elon Cook, Center for Reconciliation

Moderator: Emily Owens, Brown University


How are humanities professionals across the country using surveys to assess and improve public programming? What can we learn from one another? Bring a participant survey you’ve used recently to this interactive conversation about surveying practices in the field and take advantage of the collective wisdom in the room! Don’t have a participant survey handy? No worries, we have plenty culled from across the country that you can use to take part in the discussion.

Speakers: Megan Zlatos, Alaska Humanities Forum and Caitlin Patton, North Carolina Humanities Council


In 2018, Norman Rockwell’s famous Four Freedoms will embark on an international tour in the form of a traveling multimedia exhibition entitled, “Enduring Ideals: Rockwell, Roosevelt, & the Four Freedoms.” This panel features the exhibition planners, whose backgrounds range from the museum profession to academia and from the artistic world to software technology. They will discuss the value of wide-ranging collaboration among all humanists and the ways humanists can productively merge approaches to better engage communities in meaningful discussions.

Speakers: Rich Bradway, Norman Rockwell Museum; James Kimble, Seton Hall University; Stephanie Plunkett, Normal Rockwell Museum


Like many nonprofit organizations, the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities (LEH) suffered extensive funding losses during the height of the economic recession. However, by setting long-term plans for diversifying revenue sources, increasing earned income streams, and establishing mutually beneficial and innovative partnership/collaborations, the LEH was able to conduct several initiatives that expanded, and in some cases redefined, the organization’s traditional audience. In this session, panelists will explore the development of LEH’s distinct collaborations, and ultimately, they will provide humanities professionals with strategies and ideas for identifying and seizing mission-aligned opportunities for collaboration to diversify and sustain programming.

Speakers: Shantrell Austin, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities; Aimee Smallwood, Louisiana Cultural Economy Foundation; Brian Boyles, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities

Moderator: Miranda Restovic, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities


This panel brings together funders of and participants in the Expansion Arts Program in Rhode Island to discuss capacity building and leadership development in culturally specific organizations as well as these organizations’ impact on community building and economic development. Along the way, the panelists will talk about the Expansion Arts collaboration between the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, the Rhode Island Foundation, and the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities; the network established by program alumni; currents in the broader context of the humanities and arts sectors; and the challenges and opportunities for greater cultural equity.

Speakers: Daniel Kertzner, Rhode Island Foundation; Elena Calderon Patino, Rhode Island State Council on the Arts; Stephanie Fortunato, City of Providence Department of Arts; Lorén Spears, Tomaquag Museum; Silaphone Nhongvongsouthy, Laotian Community Center of RI

Moderator: Elizabeth Francis, Rhode Island Council for the Humanities


How do we think more concretely about the forms of expertise humanists bring to the table and how and why is that expertise valuable to organizations and society at large? What allows humanities PhDs to be “transformative?” This roundtable of humanists at work in the world will consider how professionally-trained humanists can and should influence the organizations they work in and how we might expand the reach of humanistic expertise beyond the academy.

Speakers: Stacy Hartman, Modern Language Association; John Paul Christy, American Council of Learned Societies; Joshua Wolff, McKinsey & Company; Cynthia Estremera, Strategy Arts

Moderator: James Grossman, American Historical Association


This panel, inspired by the American Academy’s new commission report on language learning, will examine the importance of heritage language education for students who speak languages other than English (including Native American languages) at home. Panelists will offer practical models for the development of heritage language programs in college and universities and among state councils.

Speakers: Jessie “little doe” Baird, Wopanaak Language Reclamation Project; Terry Farish, New Hampshire Humanities; Johanna Watzinger-Tharp, University of Utah

Moderator: Rosemary Feal, Wellesley College


This interview with esteemed placemaking expert Fred Kent will explore how the public humanities might be adopted into community-enlivening placemaking efforts and tease out the unique role the humanities play in the public sphere.

Speakers: Fred Kent, Project for Public Spaces; Michael Smith, Duquesne University/Pittsburgh Cultural Trust

Moderator: Michael Smith, Duquesne University and Pittsburgh Cultural Trust

  4:00 to 4:15 pm Networking Coffee Break
  4:15 to 5:15 pm Concurrent Sessions (varies)

This session features three concurrent sessions and coincides with the Federation of State Humanities Council’s Annual Business Meeting (open to members only). Information for each session, including topic, goals, and presenters is below.


This panel will address how the digital history community can work together to develop a model that will facilitate the further transcription, editing, and digitization of historical documents; the development of tools that help projects reach, guide, and educate user groups about historical topics; and the creation of a sustainable funding model to keep digital history projects operational.

Speakers: Jennifer Stertzer, University of Virginia; Paul Israel, Rutgers University; Ted McConnell, Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools; Sara Martin, Massachusetts Historical Society; Julie Silverbrook, The Constitutional Sources Project

Moderator: Katie Lebert, Washington Papers


Join the leadership team of the NEH-funding initiative, “Versatile Humanists at Duke,” to discuss how graduate training can prepare students for more outward-facing roles in ways that are complementary to their academic research and interests. Through innovative research experiences, internship opportunities, and customized advising, the humanities community can foster graduate student versatility without forcing binaries (academic/nonacademic) in graduate student training or on professional outcomes.

Speakers: Edward Balleisen, Duke University; Maria LaMonaca Wisdom, Duke University; Ashton Merck, Duke University


This session will identify the key qualities and practices of humanities disciplines and reflect the emerging directions of humanities scholarship. The session will present a set of guides in ten different humanities disciplines that are being used by educators. Panelists will then outline an outreach strategy to identify and support the training and incorporation of these guides to inspire conversation in K-16 and university instruction.

Speakers: Omar Ali, University of North Carolina-Greensboro; Allison Cohen, Langley High School; Skye Shirley, Newton Country Day School

Moderator: Andy Mink, National Humanities Center

  4:15 to 5:15 pm FSHC Annual Business Meeting (Adrienne, 4th floor)
    For state humanities councils: Join us for the 2017 annual business meeting of the House of Delegates. We will be electing four new board members and a new chair to the Federation board, as well as voting on strategic priorities, budget, and direction. We strongly encourage one person from each council attend.
  5:15 to 5:45 pm 2018 NHC Kickoff and Coffee Break (Ballroom Foyer)
  5:45 to 6:45 pm “Mapping Our Places, Telling Our Stories: New Directions in the Public History of Boston” Closing Panel (Grand Ballroom)

This closing plenary session will showcase public/academic collaborations that use innovative approaches to show how the humanities can help surface and illuminate local stories. Teams of presenters will discuss two Boston-based projects: the African American Freedom Trail Project, a collaboration between the Tufts Center for the Study of Race and Democracy and several public organizations, and These Words, a partnership between the Jonathan. M. Tisch College of Civic Life and the Chinese Historical Society of New England.

The presentations and the discussion among presenters to follow will demonstrate how local stories can inform our understanding of larger national issues.

This session will be moderated by Martin Blatt, professor of the Practice of History and director of the Public History Program at Northeastern University, and historian and cultural resources manager for the National Park Service in Boston and Lowell for 24 years.


Kendra Field, Assistant Professor of History and Africana Studies; Director, Center for the Study of Race and Democracy, Tufts University

Kerri Greenidge, 2016-17 Gill Fellowship Coordinator, Tufts University

Susan Chinsen, Managing Director, Chinese Historical Society of New England

Diane O’Donoghue, Senior Fellow for the Humanities, Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life, Tufts University


  9:30 pm to 12:00 am Hospitality Suite! (Presidential Suite)
    Kick back, grab a drink (or two!) and enjoy the last few hours of the conference with NHA and FSHC board and staff. The hospitality suite is intended as a big thank you to all who attended, supported, and presented at this year’s conference.

Sunday, November 5th

Select the box to add items to your itinerary

  8:30 am – 9:30 am FSHC Board Breakfast (Plymouth, 4th floor)
    This meeting over breakfast will welcome the newly elected board members and conclude business matters from Thursday’s Federation board meeting.