“I can see how important this work is to our communities.”
- Representative Nita Lowey, D-N.Y.
Time and again, Members of Congress have told us that they need to better understand the impact of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) on their districts so that they can prioritize the humanities among other needs. In order to foster this understanding, we have begun collaborating on a series of district-based conversations aimed at providing a forum for NEH grantees to share their stories.
In October we celebrate National Arts and Humanities Month, and this week we join forces with Americans for the Arts to feature the extensive arts and humanities programming that serves our nation’s veterans. In a recent post, we briefly traced the expansion of NEH programs for veterans over the last decade, highlighting the therapeutic benefits of bringing veterans together to discuss literature about war and share their stories. Many of these Dialogues on the Experience of War programs also provide veterans with opportunities to experiment with a wide variety of artistic and literary techniques for expressing themselves.
When we launched Humanities for All in July, it included a sortable database of over 1,400 publicly engaged humanities projects. For the first time, humanities practitioners, administrators, and advocates had access to a large-scale nationwide cross-section of work in the field. For example, a philosophy graduate student could find a whole corpus of philosophy projects or dig in more specifically and search for projects in their discipline that are based at a community college and address immigration. Building this database has offered a unique perspective on the field, from which a number of patterns have emerged concerning the methods, impacts, and communication of the publicly engaged humanities.
It’s National Arts and Humanities Month, and today we are joining forces with Americans for the Arts to illuminate the ways that the arts and humanities can work together to cultivate community. Tastefully South Jersey, a program that celebrated the diverse culinary traditions of Burlington, Gloucester, and Camden counties this past summer, is a perfect example of how the arts and humanities can help a community explore the breadth and depth of its cultural heritage. With support from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the National Endowment for the Arts, and New Jersey’s state councils for the arts and humanities, the Perkins Center for the Arts hosted an engaging temporary exhibition and extensive public programming.
The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) supports humanities research through a number of grant lines, among them fellowships and summer stipends for researchers and the Public Scholar program. These grants, which typically result in a published book or article, often have effects that reverberate far beyond the individual grant product.
When Joanna Tobin approached NHA in February 2017 about partnering on a national week of reading—a project that has since become One Book, Many Conversations (OBMC)—we quickly welcomed the opportunity. Tobin’s efforts to build on the organic and overwhelming interest that had emerged in 1984 fit well with our goals as an advocacy organization committed to making the case for the value of the humanities. As we embark on the second year of OBMC—this time centered on Frankenstein—we continue to see it as a prime opportunity to advance three essential advocacy goals.
Each summer, the National Endowment for the Humanities offers seminar and institute programs for K–12 teachers, providing educators from across the country with the chance to engage deeply in humanities subject matter and establish peer networks. These one- to four-week programs are hosted by universities, state historical societies, and other cultural institutions and cover a variety of subjects.
This summer, NHA launched Humanities for All, a new website documenting the past 10 years of publicly engaged humanities research, teaching, and programming in universities and colleges across the U.S. The website presents a cross-section of the field, including over 1,400 projects that are searchable, sortable, and illustrated with 51 in-depth profiles that represent the range of the field. When viewed together, the scope and impact of this work become clear: publicly engaged humanities initiatives are building and strengthening communities; creating innovative and practical learning experiences for students and people of all ages and backgrounds; and broadening our understanding of ourselves, our nation, and our world.
Update August 29, 2018: Last Thursday the Senate passed a "minibus" appropriations bill that included level funding for Title VI and Fulbright-Hays. The full House will take action on a bill funding these programs after its August recess.
August 10, 2018: The appropriations process is much further along this August than it has been in years past. Last week the Senate joined the House in passing an Interior appropriations bill that included a $2 million increase for the National Endowment for the Humanities, which would bring its funding level to $155 million for FY 2019.