Workshop 23: The Public Humanities
Dave Tell and Trevor Parry-Giles
This workshop will introduce participants to the public humanities—a scholarly practice that seeks to integrate the public into the development of scholarly insight and include the public in practices of scholarly dissemination. Rather than viewing the public humanities as a “dumbed down,” jargon-free version of scholarly inquiry, we will pitch it as a robust practice with its own methods, its own intellectual commitments, its own mechanisms of funding, and its own principles of dissemination.
The workshop will consider the methods, funding, and dissemination of the public humanities in three ways.
First, the workshop will begin by featuring examples of public humanities work from within the field of rhetorical studies. This includes, but is not limited to, Dave Tell’s Emmett Till Memory Project. The ETMP is a model project in the public humanities. It has been covered by the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the BBC. It was recently selected by the National Humanities Alliance as a featured part of their “Humanities for All” initiative. In the workshop, we will use the ETMP to talk about team building, fund raising, and the intellectual development of a public project.
Second, workshop participants are encouraged to come with their own projects. These projects may be at any stage (an idea, a prototype, a proposal). Through the course of the weekend, we will workshop participant projects with the goal of moving each to the next stage of development.
Third, the workshop will feature presentations by professionals in the field of the Public Humanities. The goal of these presentations is to provide a snapshot of what the public humanities looks like from the perspective of those who fund it. A representative of the National Humanities Alliance will share the “Humanities for All” initiative. We are also trying to schedule a program officer from the National Endowment for the Humanities to talk about questions of funding. These resources will offer participants a chance to gain a much wider view of the public humanities, ask questions of people who sit on the other side of the table (reading funding applications rather than writing them), and be able to frame their project in terms of a broad and current vision of the public humanities.