Center for Humanities Communication co-leaders Christine Henseler and Alan Liu (who also co-lead the 4Humanities.org initiative) visited with the Federation of State Humanities Councils during their virtual “happy hour” on October 4, 2023. In the audience were professional humanities communicators and marketers working with various U.S. State Humanities Councils.
Christine and Alan helped lead a conversation about how to communicate the “positive” about the humanities and how to engage young people in the humanities.
Christine’s talking points in answer to these questions included:
- Change who is talking, how we talk and what we talk about. In other words, not repeating what everyone says (to use Alan’s work theme)
- Empower young people to talk about the ways in which they experience the arts and humanities from their own perspectives, languages, and platforms.
- Place more emphasis on voices from fields outside the arts and humanities, especially disciplines like environmental studies, health and wellness, and social justice.
- Provide concrete examples that are joyful, exciting, innovative (we must reclaim this term for the humanities), and can allow young people to see themselves in those roles in the future.
Alan’s talking points (based on outcomes from the WhatEvery1Says research project he led) included:
- Show-and-tell a humanities object.
- Engage with an unexpected dialogue partner on the humanities.
- Bridge from local to national significance.
(See full notes, images, and a video from Christine and Alan’s presentation.)