This week over at Humanities for All we reached an exciting milestone - our database of publicly engaged humanities projects now holds over 2,000 entries!
Since its inception in 2018, Humanities for All has grown alongside the rapidly expanding field of the public humanities. As humanities scholars and practitioners both inside and outside of higher ed grapple with the most pressing issues of the moment, the database offers a wide range of examples that inspire and offer paths forward. Through programming created with and for specific publics, the humanities are building and strengthening communities in the wake of ongoing crises. Through experiential learning and engaged research collaborations with community organizations, publicly engaged courses are creating innovative and practical learning experiences for undergraduate students, graduate students, and people of all ages and backgrounds. By sharing research outside of traditional academic venues and hosting forums for meaningful and democratic dialogue, scholars are working to expand access to materials that have long felt reserved for a privileged few. In advancing humanities scholarship that broadens our understanding of ourselves, our nation, and our world, colleges and universities are funding multi-year humanities programs and campus-wide initiatives that aim to build and/or repair trust between campus and community.
Our Humanities for All database一searchable by discipline, theme, state, community partner type, and higher ed institution type一provides a roadmap to understanding the full scope of this ongoing work. It also offers the public humanities community a space to gather together and share their projects. Across our over 47,000 lifetime users, visitors to our website have reported the many ways that they have used the collected projects as inspiration for their own public-facing projects. As Matthew Pavesich reflected in one of our inaugural Humanities for All blog posts, using the database as a teaching tool helped students in his “[email protected]” undergraduate English course understand the breadth of the field. “I can assign all the reading in the world, but that’s not enough for students to get a sense of the rhythms and flows of public engagement. We need to examine public humanities projects—lots of them—for students to see what exactly this kind of work can be,” Pavesich wrote. Similarly, at the University of Portland and at Indiana University, public humanities fellows draw on our database as inspiration for starting their own publicly engaged projects. Our essays on the goals and methods of the public humanities based on examples pulled from our database have been used in classrooms to teach the introductory concepts of public engagement. For project directors and humanities department chairs advocating for increased funding and infrastructure for publicly engaged work on their campuses, our database provides proof of past and current successes.
Our never ending work of collecting and sharing projects continues to evolve and sharpen. Adjustments to our search filters over the coming months will introduce new disciplines and themes that reflect the growth of the field, including the environmental humanities, performance studies, food studies, and medical humanities, as well as expanding our ethnic studies tags to include Asian American and Pacific Islander Studies, Arab American Studies, and Jewish Studies. In an effort to capture projects that aren’t necessarily major-grant funded or easily discoverable through their web presence, we are also specifically eager to better highlight publicly engaged work happening at community colleges, regional comprehensive universities, and minority serving institutions.
Read more: humanities for all