News
15 May 2020
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Interview with Phoebe Stein, New Federation President

It’s been exactly two weeks since we welcomed Phoebe Stein as the new Federation President so we wanted to catch her (in between all the Zoom meetings!) to see how she is doing, what it feels like to begin her leadership during a pandemic, her thoughts about the organization and humanities community as a whole, and finally whether she’s a virtual coffee break or happy hour kind of person!

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Humanities At Home: Watch. Documentaries, Digital Shorts, Virtual Theater, and Festivals

Extend your documentary repertoire with several unique offerings from state humanities councils! Films from a wide range of topics such as Responding to COVID, the Veteran Experience, Women’s History and UNLADYLIKE2020, Virtual Theater, Hoosier Film Festival and more, can be found and viewed by just clicking a button. Let us know your thoughts by tagging us on social @HumFed and using #HumanitiesAtHome.

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Interview with Delaware Humanities on Virtual Program: Distant Discussions

More than anything else, the humanities inspire empathy.  The disciplines and tools allow you to see the world from someone else’s perspective.  That’s more important than ever now, especially when we are physically distant.  If I’m young with no pre-existing conditions, no kids, no elderly relatives, I may need elucidation of what this situation is like for those individuals, and thus why it’s important for me to socially distance, wear a mask, and wash my hands.  The humanities are the best way to give people that alternative point of view, which could help save lives. Read the full interview with Delaware Humanities Deputy Director Ciera Fisher.

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Interview with Oregon Humanities on Virtual Program: Connect in Place

COVID has illuminated so much of what is already in place and what isn’t in place. And it has raised questions that are clearly rooted in the daily and long-term realities of people’s lives. In this moment, we’re trying to show up as a calm, encouraging, and reliable partner in creating opportunities for people all over Oregon to feel a strong sense of interpersonal connection and shared imagination. Read the full interview with Oregon Humanities Executive Director Adam Davis.

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Interview with Humanities Montana on Gather Round / Montana Conversations Virtual Programs

I think the humanities shift our perspective and give us a little bit of distance from current events in a way that lets us engage more. That sounds a little paradoxical, but I’ve found that focusing on stats, curves, protests, and antibody testing can be both overwhelming and narrowing in our understanding and response. By asking questions like, “What lessons and stories from this pandemic are worth passing to future generations?” we seem to be able to open up and talk more. The humanities help us move through fear toward a more encompassing understanding of the variety of experience.

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What Our Members Are Saying: Virtual Community Conversations

Last week, we spoke with Oregon Humanities Executive Director Adam Davis, Delaware Humanities Deputy Director and Senior Program Officer Ciera Fisher, and Humanities Montana Program Officer Samantha Dwyer about their recently launched virtual programs, Connect in Place (Oregon), Distant Discussions (DE), and Gather Round / Montana Conversations (Montana) to gather their tips for making community conversations, Zoom calls, and other online discussion programs work for their states.

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01 May 2020
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Interview with Esther Mackintosh

After a career dedicated to serving, strengthening and supporting the state humanities councils, Federation President Esther Mackintosh officially retired as of April 30, 2020. The Federation staff was honored to toast to her retirement and to sit down and ask her a few last questions!

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11 Tips for Virtual Board Meetings

In the age of physical distancing, how do you convert and run meetings, such as what was traditionally a multi-day, in-person Board meeting? We checked in with our members and Federation Events Manager Tom Marabello for his input. While some challenges just can’t be helped (poor wifi, unmuted background noise, and those who don’t ‘video conference’), many reported positive experiences overall. Check out the tips and resources and share your experiences!

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18 Apr 2020
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Humanities At Home: Podcasts and Radio Programs

32 Podcasts on History, Journalism, Literature, and the Human Experience from the State and Territorial Humanities Councils

Refresh your audio library and tune into a wide variety of podcasts that use the humanities disciplines to explore important areas of everyday American life. With over 30 different podcasts by councils from across the United States and US territories, there is something for everyone!

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18 Apr 2020
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Q&A with NASAA President and CEO Pam Breaux

Earlier this week, we checked in with Pam Breaux, the president and CEO of the National Association of State Arts Agencies (NASAA), on the role of the the state art agencies and humanities councils during this crisis, why they are natural partners at this time, and the challenges and needs of the communities we all serve.

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20 Mar 2020
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Urging Support for the Humanities Community

In collaboration with the National Humanities Alliance, the Federation is requesting supplemental funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities to begin alleviating strains felt across the humanities sector, including the state humanities councils.

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Breaking Down the Barriers: A Case for Academic-Public Collaboration

The fact that broad public interest in history, literature, ethics, art, and the power of ideas has never been higher should hearten academic humanists, despite the worrisome fact that our students are choosing to leave themselves out of the conversation.  While I have been involved in efforts on my campus to recapture student interest in the Humanities, I have also, during my five years as an academic administrator, recognized that we must work strategically with allies beyond the walls of the university to promote the value of what we do.   We have nothing to lose in this effort—and a great deal to gain.

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