At the end of August, the Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage welcomed ten new students to the Masters program in Public Humanities. Geographically, we’ve cast a wide net, with two of our new students hailing from right here in Providence—and two from another hemisphere altogether. Our new students have worked for music festivals, art museums, house museums, architecture centers, and in the cultural heritage sector.
Fitt Artists in Residence, Pedro Gutiérrez Torres and Alexander Beatón Gallano arrived in Providence from Santiago, Cuba, by way of Miami, in early September. Their immediate project while in the U.S. was to install a now internationally travelled installation: The Way to Strategy, "a tribute to those dreams that fell in the fight for life".
If we want the humanities to be more than academic—if we want them to make a difference in the world—we need to change the way we work. We need to rethink some of the traditional assumptions of the humanities. I suggest here seven rules of thumb for doing public humanities.
The Center for Public Humanities at Brown University announces a Faculty and Community Fellowship Program. Brown faculty and community leaders in the arts and humanities will serve one year terms at the Center. Faculty members interested in innovative methods for presenting their research to the public; those conducting research in collaboration with community organizations; and/or faculty seeking to incorporate public engagement in their courses will find support through the fellowship program. Culture workers from the non-profit community can use their fellowship to purs
The public humanities program emphasizes the relationship of theory and practice. Rather than writing a thesis, students undertake two practicums where we connect knowledge learned in the classroom to practice in a professional setting, and reflect critically on these experiences with our academic peers. Practicums allow us to enhance our skills as well as to connect to the field.
At the end of the July, Deputy Director, Anne Valk will be leaving Brown and the Center for Public Humanities for Williams College, where she will be leading public humanities initiatives through a multi-disciplinary appointment. Annie has shaped the Brown Center in the most profound ways. Outgoing director, Steve Lubar hired Annie seven years ago and he vividly remembers a quality Annie mentioned during her interview: “I am a collaborator. I believe in collaboration.”
Since 2012, a group of undergraduate and graduate students from Brown have joined teams from 14 other universities as well as hundreds who served, lived, and were held at GTMO in a process of unearthing and exploring its hidden histories.
The result is the Guantánamo Public Memory Project, an internationally traveling exhibit of surprising stories, images, and documents from before 9-11 and after, as well as dialogues on why GTMO's past matters today. We are thrilled to be hosting the exhibit in Providence from September 2 – 30, 2014.
Background “Oral History and Community Memory,” co-taught by Anne Valk and Holly Ewald, teaches both theory and practice. Students research the history of an area, interviewing people who spent time there. And then they use the archive of interviews to teach others, creating interactive exhibits and tours that reveal Providence’s history and spaces through the stories of those who lived here.