2020 Virtual National Humanities Conference

The Federation of State Humanities Councils and the National Humanities Alliance host the National Humanities Conference each November. This annual conference brings together representatives from colleges, universities, state humanities councils, cultural institutions, and other community-based organizations to explore approaches to deepening the public’s engagement with the humanities.



Join representatives from colleges, universities, state humanities councils, museums, and libraries for the first-ever virtual National Humanities Conference, taking place Friday, November 6; Tuesday, November 10; Thursday, November 12; and Friday, November 13. Together, we will explore our collective work to deepen the public’s engagement with the humanities. 

Highlights include:

  • Opportunities to connect with each other and reflect on our collective work in the wake of an unprecedented year and the 2020 election

  • Small group discussions on timely topics

  • More than 60 sessions exploring public humanities work

  • An opportunity to connect with National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) program officers and hear from NEH Chairman Jon Parrish Peede 

We are pleased to offer this virtual programming, which will be low cost and require no travel, to welcome new participants and broaden our conversations.   

Friday, Nov. 6 at 12:00 PM EST

Johnnetta Betsch Cole is a Principal Consultant with Cook Ross, Inc., a consulting firm that provides solutions to organizations around the world in the areas of diversity, inclusion, cultural competency, leadership development and organizational change management. She has served as the director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, president of Spelman College, president of Bennett College, chair of the board of United Way of America, president of the Association of Art Museum Directors, and co-chair of the American Alliance of Museum’s Working Group on Diversity, Equity, Accessibility and Inclusion. She has written and edited numerous publications for scholarly and general audiences, including Conversations: Straight Talk With Americas Sister President; All American Women: Lines That Divides, Tides That Bind; With Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Gender Talk: The Struggle for Women’s Equality in African American Communities; and with Rudolph P. Byrd and Beverly Guy-Sheftall, I Am Your Sister, Collected and Unpublished Writings of Audre Lorde.

Dr. Cole attended Fisk University in the early entrance Basic College Program and went on to graduate from Oberlin College and complete a Masters and Ph.D. in anthropology with a specialization in African Studies at Northwestern University. 

She is a fellow of the American Anthropological Association, a member of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences, and served as a Senior Consulting Fellow at the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Dr. Cole is the National Chair and Seventh President of the National Council of Negro Women. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and the Links, Inc.

Tuesday, Nov. 10 at 8:00 PM EST

 Jon Parrish Peede is Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. His previous positions include publisher of the Virginia Quarterly Review (VQR) at the University of Virginia, literature grants director at the National Endowment for the Arts, counselor to NEA Chairman Dana Gioia, director of the NEA Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience program, director of the NEA Big Read program, director of communications at Millsaps College, and editor at Mercer University Press with a focus on the humanities. He has written speeches for a U.S. president, a first lady, and a librarian of Congress.

From 2007 to 2011, Peede oversaw the NEA’s funding of literary organizations and fellowships to creative writers and translators. For seven years, he led writing workshops for U.S. troops in Afghanistan, Bahrain, England, Italy, Kyrgyzstan, the Persian Gulf, and on domestic bases.

Under his leadership,VQR expanded its paid readership to 51 countries. He acquired work from seven Pulitzer Prize winners and edited interviews with two Nobel laureates.

He has served on several nonprofit boards, including the national council of the Margaret Walker Center for the Study of the African-American Experience at Jackson State University. 

Peede holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Vanderbilt University, and a master’s in Southern Studies from the University of Mississippi. 

He is the coeditor of Inside the Church of Flannery O’Connor: Sacrament, Sacramental, and the Sacred in Her Fiction (Mercer, 2007) and editor of a bilingual anthology of contemporary American fiction (Lo que cuenta el vecino: cuentos contemporáneos de los Estados Unidos [UNUM: Mexico City, 2008].)



Anthony Poore joined New Hampshire Humanities as Executive Director in 2018.

In Anthony’s 25 years of experience in the community economic development sector, he has worked as a practitioner, policy analyst, researcher and executive addressing the needs of urban and rural communities through participatory cross sector collaborative processes.

Past and current professional activities involve positions of strategic and executive leadership, community organizing, qualitative & quantitative research, policy analysis, and program monitoring and evaluation. In addition, he helps financial institutions and community-based organizations pursue community development lending and investing activities in pursuit of mutually beneficial public-private economic development projects and consumer-driven educational programming leveraging internal and external resources for maximum impact.

Currently, Anthony serves on the Board of Directors of the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund, New Hampshire Endowment for Health, Currier Museum of Art, Manchester Community College and NH Listens Advisory Boards.

Friday, Nov. 13 at 12:00 PM EST

Jason Reynolds is an award-winning and #1 New York Times bestselling author. Jason’s many books include Miles Morales: Spider Man, the Track series (Ghost, Patina, Sunny, and Lu), Long Way Down, which received a Newbery Honor, a Printz Honor, and a Correta Scott King Honor, and Look Both Ways, which was a National Book Award Finalist. His latest book, Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, is a collaboration with Ibram X. Kendi. Jason is the 2020-2021 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and has appeared on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Late Night with Seth Meyers, and CBS This Morning. He is on faculty at Lesley University, for the Writing for Young People MFA Program and lives in Washington, DC. You can find his ramblings at JasonWritesBooks.com.



 Andrea Lewis is senior program officer at Maryland Humanities and director of the Maryland Center for the Book. She joined the staff in 2007 after working in museums, then public libraries, bringing her experiences to coordinate literature programs including the statewide reading program One Maryland One Book, which draws nearly 20,000 participants annually. Her background in public relations, programming, and fundraising includes work with The National Gallery of Art, Baltimore Museum of Art, Folger Shakespeare Library, Scholastic, Public Library Association, Maryland State Department of Education, and Maryland State Library.

What will the virtual NHC look like?

The conference will include plenary sessions featuring national leaders in the humanities, more than 60 concurrent sessions that were accepted for the Indianapolis conference, and facilitated conversations on topics related to carrying out humanities work in the current moment. We will also hear from NEH Chairman Jon Parrish Peede and present the Schwartz Prize, which recognizes excellence in state humanities council programs. Finally, we will provide opportunities for connecting with colleagues, new and old, just as in previous years. The conference will be spread over four days, with most sessions occurring between 12:00 pm and 8:00 pm ET. 


What is the registration rate? 

We have worked to keep costs low to ensure as much participation as possible. Registration will be $75 for presenters and $100 for all other attendees. 


I thought a virtual conference would be free? Why should I pay for an online conference?

Webinar and video-conferencing platforms like Zoom are not free—especially when used on a large scale. Not only is there a cost for the web technology, but managing a conference of this size requires a virtual conference platform to make sure that everything runs smoothly. In addition to a reduced registration rate, there are no travel or hotel costs this year, making the total cost for conference participation much lower.


Besides registering for the conference, do any individual sessions require advanced or additional registration?

Yes, there are a few sessions that attendees must register for in advance. They are:

  • Friday, November 6, 1:30 PM – 3:00 PM: Constituent Groups 
  • Friday, November 13, 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM: Fundraising During the Pandemic: Research-based Approaches to Building Support, hosted by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. The additional fee to attend this session is $25.00.


Is there a deadline to cancel and receive a full refund?

The deadline to cancel to receive a full refund is October 30, 2020. Any cancellations after October 30th will not be refunded.


I do not have the funds for the registration fees, what should I do?

As in previous years, we will offer a limited number of grants to defray conference registration costs on a first-come first-served basis. The deadline for these requests has now passed.


What will I need in order to participate in the online conference?

A computer, tablet, or smartphone that has a camera, microphone, and internet access (preferably high speed). The web interface will work best on a computer or tablet.


Will sessions be recorded?

Yes. Plenary and concurrent sessions will be recorded and made available for 30 days after the conference. Networking events, constituent groups, and facilitated conversations will not be recorded. We are recording plenary and concurrent sessions to better provide access to participants in a wide range of time zones and with dependent care challenges, among other commitments. We recognize that some attendees may be concerned about privacy issues, which is why we are requiring login access and prohibiting individual downloads of recordings.


I need accommodations to participate actively in the conference. Will you provide accommodations?

If you need accommodations, please contact us at Events@statehumanities.org by October 30 so that we can be sure to do our best to accommodate you. 

What platform will we be presenting on? How does the conference platform work? 

We will be using a virtual events platform that integrates with Zoom video conferencing and creates a central online hub for the event. Participants will gain access to the event hub by logging in with their username and password created while registering.


What will I need in order to present at the online conference?

A computer, tablet, or smartphone that has a camera, microphone, and internet access (preferably high speed). We will send along some recommendations for improving the quality of video and audio during your presentation. If your presentation requires music, video, or other projection, you will also need to have a way to access that material on your computer to share with the audience via Zoom.


Will there be any opportunities to help me learn the technology I’ll need to use?

Yes. We will distribute written “how-to” guides to help you get ready for the event. We will also hold pre-conference webinars to walk through the technology for those who feel they need additional training.


Besides the training webinars and how-to guides, what else can I do to prepare for my session?

Hold a dress-rehearsal with you and your panelists! If you are a session coordinator please ensure that all your panelists know how to use the platform. If possible hold a pre-conference zoom meeting to practice your session and the timing so that your session has plenty of time for Q&A and conversation. 


Can I pre-record my session?

In order to emulate the dynamic participation and engagement opportunities of our in-person meetings, the conference will operate as a live gathering. As in previous years, we encourage presenters to leave at least half the session time for engagement with the participants, whether as a full group or in breakout rooms. We do recognize, however, that participants will be connecting from across the globe and will have access to different technologies/bandwidths. With this in mind, we will make recordings of the sessions available to conference registrants for 30 days after the conference.


Can I individually record sessions or share links on social media?

In order to create an environment that is most conducive to creating dynamic engagement opportunities for conference attendees, we have limited access to session recordings to the community of registered attendees. By participating in NHC sessions, you agree to not individually record or screen-capture any of the proceedings. If you want to review a particular session after it has concluded, you may do so in our “recording bank” of sessions that will be available until December 13, 2020.

Event Details


Registration is now open!

Register Now


Conference Schedule

All times are listed in Eastern time.

Schedule at a Glance

Full Conference Program




American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Routledge, Taylor & Francis

The Whiting Foundation


Association of University Presses (AUPresses)

David Bruce Smith, Grateful American Foundation

Theory Meets Praxis


Become a Sponsor