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February 2013

the latest from Suite 603

February 19, 2013

Looking@Democracy
The Illinois Humanities Council, with support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, launched the $100,000 Looking@Democracy Challenge. Click on the image to read more.
Quoth the Raven/s: Cal Humanities pays up to the Maryland Humanities Council for the Ravens' Super Bowl victory over the 49ers
Welcome to Elizabeth Francis, new executive of the Rhode Island Humanities Council
Clemente courses spread “the life of the mind”
"How can we model the behavior we seek to inspire?" The urban/rural divide

"Created Equal: America's Civil Rights Struggle"—a package of civil rights films will go to 500 communities

 

Filmmaker and film preservationist Martin Scorsese will deliver the 2013 Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities.

Find—and recommend—this summer's NEH teacher seminars and institutes.

The deadline for the Looking@Democracy challenge is April 30.

FYI: The Oral History Association provides principles and best practices for oral history as well as grants and awards.

Quoth the Raven/s: Cal Humanities pays up to the Maryland Humanities Council for the Ravens' Super Bowl victory over the 49ers

One football team is named for a poem and its competitor is named for an important historical era. The 2013 Super Bowl was ripe for "humanities action," as Cal Humanities put it. They challenged the Maryland Humanities Council to join them in inviting people to weigh in, via social media, on the outcome of the Super Bowl and to suggest a great book as a prize for a social media follower of the organization whose home team wins.

The Baltimore Ravens won over the San Francisco 49ers. Cal Humanities' pay-up is going to Mary Mannix, the Maryland Room Manager at the Frederick County Public Libraries and a supporter of the Maryland Humanities Council. She will receive a volume of Lawrence Ferlinghetti's writing, a collection of literature about the Gold Rush (including Bret Harte, Dame Shirley, and Mark Twain), and a book of poetry by California Poet Laureate and former Cal Humanities board member Juan Felipe Herrera.

In a Facebook exchange, Cal Humanities executive Ralph Lewin acknowledged that, "Our heads will be hanging low as we walk through Chinatown to City Lights [co-founded by Ferlinghetti] in North Beach to pick up the books. Wait a minute—that's an incredible walk! Can't wait!" Phoebe Stein Davis, MHC's executive replied that, "We accept this win with pride but no gloating, we promise. Well, maybe a little."

Congratulations to the winners and to the losers.

Welcome to Elizabeth Francis, new executive of the Rhode Island Humanities Council

Elizabeth Francis has joined the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities as its new executive director. She was director of Corporate and Foundation Relations at Brown University and a member of the board of the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities. Her doctorate in American Studies is from Brown University.

"Following an extensive national search, the members of the board unanimously endorsed the selection of Elizabeth Francis as the next executive director for Rhode Island Council for the Humanities," said David Lux, chair of the Board of Directors. "Elizabeth Francis brings strong experience with program development and fund development. She is a recognized humanities scholar in her own right, and brings energy and commitment the position."

Please welcome Elizabeth.

Clemente courses spread “the life of the mind”

Students in the Utah Humanities Council's Venture Course in Ogden, Utah, a partnership with Weber State University. Photo by Jean Cheney
Students in the Utah Humanities Council's Venture Course in Ogden, Utah, a partnership with Weber State University. Photo by Jean Cheney
 

written by Jean Cheney, Associate Director, Utah Humanities Council

Don Randel argues for the importance of the humanities to all people, everywhere. Speaking at the November 2012 National Humanities Conference in Chicago, he said that, "You don’t have to be rich to live the life of the mind. Education is the greatest liberation from poverty there is, but not only because of the economic status it makes possible. It frees the mind from impoverishment."

Robin Smith would agree. Five years ago, she graduated from the Utah Humanities Council’s Clemente Course in the Humanities in Salt Lake City, a free college course offered to people living on low incomes. In June, she will receive her bachelor’s degree as a McNair Scholar at Westminster College. Next year, she is headed to graduate school in social work. Like thousands of Clemente students across the country, Robin found in the study of the humanities a way to greatly expand the possibilities ... read more >>>

"How can we model the behavior we seek to inspire?" The urban/rural divide

In last month's newsletter, we announced that each issue of the newsletter through October will address issues raised by the theme of the November 2013 Federation conference in Birmingham, Alabama. We welcome your suggestions.

One of the issues that councils have to take into consideration in planning and implementing their programming and activities is the divide separating city from countryside. Fifty-five of the state and jurisdictional humanities councils deal with urban/rural divides. For some councils bridging these divides is not only culturally difficult but can also involve transportation and financial challenges. The Humanities Council of Washington, DC, is the only exception because it is wholly urban, serving the city of Washington. Here are six examples of the varying kinds of urban/rural contexts with which councils work.

  • In "habitation," Illinois is metropolitan. In "land," it is agricultural. According to the last census, 80% reside on 20% of the land. Only 13% do not live in a city. Almost 76% live in or around one city—Chicago. Chicago has the fifth highest foreign-born population in the U.S. counting 21.7% of its residents as foreign born.
  • Montana is the fourth largest state with 145,552 square miles, and a population of 1,005,141. While Native Americans often live in rural places on seven reservations, Montana has one of the lowest US percentagesof foreign-born citizens and African Americans. Montanans tend to love their land but disagree about the appropriate means for inhabiting the place.
  • In 41 of Kentucky's counties the poverty and unemployment rates can be as high as 45% and 58%, respectively. In contrast, the urban areas of Lexington, Louisville, the Northern Kentucky area (Golden Triangle), Owensboro, Bowling Green, and the “Interstate-plus-university communities” have younger, growing populations, higher incomes/rates of employment, and higher educational attainment levels.
  • Utah's population is concentrated in a few small cities, surprisingly making it the 6th most urbanized state. Nearly 80% live in a 20-mile wide and 80-mile long corridor that runs north and south of Salt Lake City. The topography of Utah's 85,000 square miles makes travel between regions difficult—a hundred miles as the crow flies can require a day’s drive. It is an oasis civilization.
  • Vermont’s population is the most rural of any state in the country. Sixty-two per cent of its population lives in towns of fewer than 2,500 people, which is the federal government’s long-standing definition of "rural." Only eight communities have a population over 10,000, and only one—Burlington—has a population greater than 20,000. Vermont’s population is also one of the oldest, whitest, and smallest in the union.
  • Over 60% of Georgia's population lives in the cities of Atlanta, Augusta, Macon, Columbus, Albany, Savannah, and Valdosta. The rural population is not well served by schools and other basic human services. In contrast, Atlanta is home to 20 colleges and universities, museums, the world’s largest aquarium, and a zoo. Sixty-five languages are spoken in its public schools.

The topic next month will be educational levels and opportunities in six varied states and jurisdictions.

"Created Equal: America's Civil Rights Struggle"—a package of civil rights films will go to 500 communities

"Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle," an NEH initiative produced in partnership with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, will use four powerful documentary films—The Abolitionists, Slavery by Another Name, Freedom Riders, and The Loving Story—to encourage public conversations about the changing meanings of freedom and equality in US history.

Coinciding with the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, this program will offer a packaged set of NEH-funded films on Civil Rights history to 500 communities across the nation from 2013 to 2016. Selected venues will also receive a traveling version of the exhibition, "Changing America: The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863, and the March on Washington, 1963," developed by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

"We've arranged online screenings and discussions of these films in late February, during Black History Month," says Karen Mittelman, director of the Division of Public Programs at NEH. "ITVS has created an innovative online platformcalled OVEE that allows up to 500 people anywhere to watch a film together and hold a moderated discussion." The Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, the Mississippi Humanities Council, and the Georgia Humanities Council are already on board to pilot OVEE in their communities.


FEDERAL/STATE PARTNERSHIP
National Endowment for the Humanities
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Washington, DC 20506
202.606.8254, main number
202.606.8365, fax

Edie Manza, director [ about ]
202.606.8257
Kathleen Mitchell, senior program officer [ about ]
202.606.8302
Meg Ferris, program analyst [ about ]
202.208.7100
Shirley Newman, program assistant [ about ]
202.606.8254

directions to the National Endowment for the Humanities and Federal/State Partnership

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National Endowment for the Humanities

Federal/State Partnership is the liaison between the National Endowment for the Humanities and the nonprofit network of 56 state and jurisdictional humanities councils
 
     
 
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