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September 2014


the latest from FedState — September 24, 2014

A 2010 alum of Oregon Humanities' Idea Lab and now a new donor, Pitzer College senior Braden Bernard has studied in Kathmandu. “I’ve watched the Idea Lab seed grow inside me, pushing me to always keep learning.”

working together: welcoming Leondra

Federal/State Partnership welcomes new Program Officer Leondra Burchall. She was Director of African American Programs and Virginia Africana at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. Experienced in public history, she also worked for The St. George’s Foundation and the National Museum of Bermuda. She looks forward to seeing all of you at the Federation conference in Philadelphia.


"The Heart of the Matter" revisited

In 2013 the American Academy of Arts and Sciences identified a humanities crisis in "The Heart of the Matter." In a series of articles, public humanities scholars examine this "crisis." Briann Greenfield, executive director of the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, notes that, "Crisis narratives and global politics have a long tradition in humanities advocacy."


Ralph Lewin, executive director of the Mechanic's Institute in San Francisco and former executive of Cal Humanities, asks whether there might be ways to bridge the divide that academics willingly allow to separate themselves from society. They are neither as "alone nor as lonely as they might now feel." Yet, they are "frequently reluctant" to engage beyond "the walls of tradition."


Mary Rizzo of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Center for the Humanities points out that the weight given by the AAAS on civic engagement "should make us pause." The public humanities movement began with an emphasis on policy and moved to that of civic engagement. Key questions should address the origins of civic engagement, "how it has shaped the public sphere," and identifying its effects.


Nancy Conner notes that when the humanities are linked to "the needs of citizens rather than scholars or students" they are understood and valued as "practices," no longer as disciplines. "Given the importance of these activities for public discourse and community engagement, the public humanities can be considered essential conveners of civic life, civic hubs


From his perspective as president of the Georgia Humanities Council, Jamil Zainaldin observes that "the health of the public humanities is more robust" than the AAAS suggests. The "public is hungry for content-rich programs [and] seek content that will captivate them. They are eager for urgent, entertaining, even mind-bending stories about our lives together on this planet."


Gillette Castle has gone missing

By popular vote, Connecticut’s famed Gillette Castle has disappeared. In January 2015, CT Humanities will begin publishing The Great Connecticut Caper, a serialized mystery story for young people created by Connecticut authors and illustrators and published on the web. Follow #CTCaper on social media or sign up for the weekly newsletter to follow along as the plot thickens.


“It’s always wise to look ahead, but difficult to look further than you can see.”—Winston Churchill

At the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, "we are leaning forward into the future rather than simply shaking off old ideas.”


The South Dakota Book Festival in South Falls this weekend is navigable by app. Download the app—you may win an iPad Mini.


equality,the social contract, the common good Mass Humanities celebrates its 40th anniversary with film/discussion groups, a symposium, a gala, and the Governor's awards.


The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities announces an award of $540,000 over three years from BHP Billiton to support the PRIME TIME Preschool program. Kudos.

reading materials: read about engaging with millennials: 10 ways to engage your best millennial talent, Millennial Givers and a “Movement” Approach to Giving; about boards: The World’s Best Board Member; about overhead: A Board Member’s Guide to Nonprofit Overhead; about the arts & culture sector: A case for support, driven by data.


trendlines: Indiana Humanities' Nancy Conner suggests being on the lookout for people—generational shifts and increasing diversity; place—health and healthcare: food, fitness, industrial healthcare, livable spaces, the environment, and energy; and ideas—reassessing whether technology is a problem solver or a problem creator and what kinds of values and ethics people will have. Democracy needs public spiritedness.

grant opportunities: The Pearl Birnbaum Hurwitz Humanism in Healthcare Award (nomination deadline 11/7/14); Knight Foundation seeks new ideas that make the 26 communities where Knight invests more vibrant places to live and work (applications accepted 10/1/14- 11/14/14).


National Endowment for the Humanities
400 7th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20506
202.606.8254, main number — 202.606.8365, fax

Leondra Burchall, program officer, 202.606.2324 [ about ]
Edie Manza, director, 202.606.8257 [ about ]
Kathleen Mitchell, senior program officer, 202.606.8302 [ about ]
Meg Ferris McReynolds, program officer, 202.208.7100 [ about ]
Shirley Newman, program assistant, 202.606.8254 [ about ]

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