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.
In early August, the NEH awarded $43.1 million in grants to humanities projects across the nation. The announcement, which included $13.2 million for Cultural Infrastructure Challenge Grants, underscored the NEH’s long-term investment in the brick-and-mortar of humanities institutions; its consistent investments in outstanding humanities organizations across the country; and its commitment to new ideas, communities, and organizations.
For over a decade, the National Endowment for Humanities (NEH) and the state and territorial humanities councils funded by the NEH have provided unique services to the veteran community through a variety of interactive, community-building programs throughout the country. The NEH began employing the humanities to address the challenges veterans face through the Literature and Medicine programs held at VA hospitals and the Talking Service program established in partnership with the Great Books Foundation in 2012. In 2014, former NEH Chairman William Adams, a Vietnam veteran, expanded these efforts, launching Standing Together: Humanities and the Experience of War. The initiative increased funding for veteran-related projects across all NEH divisions and established the Dialogues on the Experience of War program, which gathers veterans together around literature, films, and reflective writing exercises that explore the journey from home to the battlefield and back. Since 2016, the NEH has sponsored 47 Dialogues in 21 states. Here at the National Humanities Alliance, as part of our NEH for All initiative, we’re researching past and future Dialogues programs to better understand their impact on veterans and their communities.
In 2016, the University of Maryland (UMD) and the Smithsonian National Museum of American History received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to host a program entitled “100 Years of American Women in Uniform” for women veterans. “100 Years” is the first of NEH’s Dialogues on the Experience of War programs to focus specifically on women veterans. Thirty-eight women veterans from 10 states and Washington, D.C. participated in the program, which spanned four weekends. Participants engaged a wide variety of materials from a century of women’s military history--including diaries, documents, photos, scrapbooks, and artifacts from the Smithsonian collection. They enjoyed expert-led sessions, including several reflective writing exercises. And they learned how to contribute their own and other veterans’ stories to the Library of Congress’ Veterans History Project.