Public and community programs are an important part of the Center for Public Humanities’ DNA.  Our lunch talk series, Public Humanities Now: New Voices, New Directions, invites a range of innovators in the Public Humanities to share their work each semester over lunch in the Lecture Room.  Our conferences, workshops, and exhibitions chart new directions in the field.  It goes without saying that so much of the value of these events is tied to togetherness. 

During this time of social distancing, many of our planned events have been rescheduled, but our lunch talks continue virtually.  Please scroll down to see the lunch talk schedule for this semester (Spring 2020).  In addition, you will find many resources throughout our website that may be enjoyed digitally.   

  • Our digital projects  page has links to a digital tour of our departmental home (the Nightingale-Brown House), to Public Work: A Public Humanities Podcast, and to Rhode Tour, a mobile and web app on historic and cultural sites in Rhode Island. 
  • We record all of our conferences! Our Conferences page has information about past events with links to the Center for Public Humanities' YouTube channel, where we post video of all of the presentations. 
  • Black Labor in the Making of the Nightingale-Brown House, by Joanne Melish, traces the history of black labor in the Center's departmental home on Benefit Street.  
  • The Public Humanities Blog has it all: it’s informative and fun, and features posts from many of our students, alumni, faculty, and fellows. 

Please visit the Brown Arts Initiative’s new website, [email protected], for information on new grant and partnership opportunities that are being offered during this difficult time, and for their slate of digital public programs, including online exhibitions, concerts and lectures.

There are no events available.

Past Events

“Witness” Virtual lunch talk by Karyn Olivier

John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage

Karyn Olivier creates sculptures, installations, and public art. Her work often intersects and collapses multiple histories and memories with present-day narratives. She will discuss several projects which engage existing monuments and her fabrication of contemporary monuments and memorials.


Southern New England Native Baskets and the Narrative of “Disappearance.” Virtual Lunch talk by Denene De Quintal

John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage


Virtual lunch talk by Dan Yaeger (NEMA): “COVID and Chaos: How Museums are Navigating the Crisis”

John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage

With 3,000 members throughout the region, the New England Museum Association has been a hub for keeping museums and museum people connected during the coronavirus crisis. Here’s your chance to speak with NEMA Executive Director Dan Yaeger about the latest from the front lines of museum leadership, how people are coping, and the short/long-term prospects for museum careers.


Virtual Lunch Talk: “Adaptive Practices: Two Curators Redefine Gathering During a Pandemic.”

John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage

Having been closed for 18 months of renovation, Providence Public Library was scheduled to begin its grand reopening on March 30th, with events and activities designed to bring crowds into the Library’s beautiful new public spaces throughout the weeks and months ahead. Instead, the Library didn’t open, and all public gathering for the foreseeable future has ceased.


Virtual Lunch Talk by Amelia Grabowski, MA’15: “Crafting the Mini-Exhibit in Your NewsFeed: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Museum Social Media Management”

John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage

How many times a year do you visit a museum (when there’s not a pandemic)? How many times a day do you check your phone? Museums’ social media accounts offer great ways to reach the audiences where they are and create unique experiences that you can’t offer IRL. But, it’s harder than it looks.

CANCELED: Cancelled: Lunch talk: ” Museums Boost the Soft Power of Cities”

John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage
, Lecture Room

(Margaret) Zheng, Associate Professor, Department of Cultural Heritage & Museology, Fudan University (Shanghai, China). 

Talk description coming soon.


CANCELED: “Defiant Spirits” Exhibition Closing Reception during Gallery Night Providence

John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage
, Gallery

Defiant Spirits: Fernando Brito’s Sinaloa is an exhibition of Fernando Brito’s moving images of life in Sinaloa, a province that has been wrecked by the struggle between one of the most powerful drug cartels in the world and the Mexican government. The award-winning photographer’s work reveals both the raw violence and the resilience of life in Sinaloa under the Cartel de Sinaloa.

The exhibition is on view at the Center for Public Humanities Gallery February 6 - April 16.

The closing reception will be held in conjunction with Gallery Night Providence.

Virtual Lunch Talk by Margaret Middleton - “Considering Visitor Experience from a Design Perspective”

John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities

How can we create exhibit experiences that prioritize visitors’ comfort, enjoyment, and safety? We will look at case studies, identify challenges to serving visitors of various ages and abilities, and discuss strategies for meeting their unique needs.

CANCELED: Entangled Legacies: Artist Panel

Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice and Native American and Indigenous Studies

Unity and collective empowerment can transform previously separated histories to reimagine an empowering future. In the process of colonizing what we now know as the United States, the indigenous peoples of the Americas faced murder and displacement at the hands of European migrants. Indigenous peoples from Africa were enslaved and displaced by those same hands. “Entangled Legacies” is a prompt that invites four artists to re-think, re-interpret or further meditate on their personal histories with these considerations in mind.

CANCELED: Panel Discussion with Fernando Brito and Didier Aubert

John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage
, Lecture Room

Panel discussion featuring Fernando Brito and the exhibition curator Didier Aubert, Director of American Studies at Sorbonne Nouvelle University in Paris in conversation with Barbara Mundy, Professor of Art history at Fordham University and Denise Mathews-Reidpath, Co-Executive Director of Girls Roc! RI, who is from Sinaloa.