May 9, 2017 was the first ever Day of Public Humanities (DayofPH). The John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanity’s post-doctoral fellows Robyn Schroeder and Jim McGrath, and Inge Zwart (MA ’17) curated, organized, and hosted three events on Brown’s campus and an elaborate online discussion in order to raise the profile of the public humanities with specific attention to questions of labor within the field. In this blog post, we share our reflections on the events, show some behind-the-scenes preparations, and introduce tentative future plans.
As part of the university’s 250th anniversary, a group of Public Humanities students, faculty, and collaborators are giving new life to a piece of Brown’s history. Christened ‘The Jenks Society for Lost Museums’, the group is tracking down remaining objects, remaking specimens, and researching the Jenks Museum of Natural History and Anthropology’s history.
The John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage and the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities will collaborate to create a Rhode Island statewide mobile application, tentatively titled, “Mobile RI.” The appearance and format of the app will be similar to Sakonnet Historical, a mobile app developed by the Center for Public Humanities, the Tiverton Public Library, and the Little Compton Historical Society, with funding and support by RICH.
Dances by American choreographers provide unique insight into American history and culture, yet Americans, historically, have not turned to dancers or dance institutions to deepen their understanding of America. In fact, as a culture, we have privileged the visual arts and the word over the performing arts, particularly dance, and turned to literature, paintings, sculpture, and artifacts to tell the story of who we are and from whence we came.
Mapping Arts – Providence reveals the lives, influence, and work of black artists in Providence from the 1860s through the 1960s. The project connects the legacies of artists including painter Edward Bannister, singer Sarah Vaughan, and jazz musician James Berry, who all spent time in the city and shaped its cultural landscape. The hub of the project is a digital map with historical information and images about black artistic influence on Providence.
When I first walked into the UNESCO headquarters in Paris at the very beginning of the summer, stomach in knots and passport in hand, I had never thought I would still be here, five months later. But as fate would have it, here I am…
What gives a place a soul? Is it the people who pass through it, whether for an hour or over a lifetime? The celebrations, the rituals, the community gatherings? The homes, shops, places where “history happened”? Is a place’s soul something that persists over time or transforms? And how do we capture and value it?
After finishing my first year of study at Brown, I headed back to the UK. I caught up with friends and family, enjoyed my sister's wedding, and reflected on the beautiful chaos of the past 12 months. It was a relatively peaceful time and a good base from which to launch myself into my summer adventure: a 2-week solo trip to Hong Kong.