Dear Friends,

Welcome to the 12th edition of #HumanitiesInContext with news of the Council’s grants, initiatives, and events as well as curated humanities content that is a springboard for reflection, learning, and action. Read on for stories of impact, humanities in action, and humanities happenings in Rhode Island. 

We will also be sharing some of our favorite stories and resources on the Council’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @rihumanities. 
All my best,
Elizabeth Francis
Executive Director
and the Humanities Council Team
Your support helps ensure that all Rhode Islanders have access to and engage with the humanities, now, and in the future. Visit or if you’d like to learn more contact Rachael Jeffers at
Stories of Impact:
Culture is Key moves forward with pilot projects

The Culture is Key initiative moves forward this month as participating cultural organizations partner with local journalists and media producers to explore how to deepen the civic impacts of cultural programs. Representing radio, public television, print journalism, video production, and content development for social media, the journalists bring to the pilot projects their perspectives on community engagement, media literacy, media production, and the public role of cultural and media organizations to the pilot projects. Put Saturday, December 12 on your calendar to participate in Wilbury Theatre Group’s Culture is Key performance, and watch for information about other project programs coming soon.

The Culture is Key Pilot Project teams include:
newportFILM team (Becca Bertrand, Executive Director; G. Wayne Miller, Staff Writer, Providence Journal & Co-Founder and Director, Story in the Public Square)
Providence Public Library team (Christina Bevilacqua, Programs & Exhibitions Director; Janaya Kizzie, Events Coordinator; Lo Bell, Vista Volunteer; Kenny Borge, Artist; Will James, Independent Journalist) Pushed Learning and Media team (Eric Axelman, Co-Executive Director; Oliver Arias, Co-Executive Director; Sam Eilertsen, Co-Executive Director, Tikkun Olam Productions)
The Tomaquag Museum team (Lorén Spears, Executive Director; Silvermoon LaRose, Assistant Director [not pictured]; Tom Meade, Journalist)
The Wilbury Theatre Group team (Josh Short, Artistic Director; Ana González, Producer, and Host of Mosaic, The Public's Radio)

Culture is Key: Strengthening Rhode Island’s Civic Health through Cultural Participation is an initiative to understand, test, and evaluate the role of cultural participation on our state’s civic health. Culture is Key is supported by the Rhode Island Foundation, the Federation of State Humanities Councils, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Throughout the past year, the Humanities Council has been undertaking a values-driven strategic planning process, including the structure of the staff. This month, as the Council began a new fiscal year, we are excited to announce the following staff transitions as part of moving forward with this plan. Rachael Jeffers has been promoted to Associate Director of Engagement, Scott Raker has been promoted to Associate Director of Operations, and Julia Renaud has been hired full-time (starting November 30th) as Associate Director of Grants & Strategic Initiatives. Read more about each team member’s journey and hopes for the future. 

A new Associate Director of Development role has also been established and the Council is now accepting applications for this position. Find application details here.
Humanities in Action: a curated list of humanities resources for reflection, learning, and action.
To Read:

If you’re looking for new ways to explore places close to home, consider navigating the Rhode Tour website from the comfort of home or take the stories with you on the road or on foot via the free app. In the First Peoples of Rhode Island tour, curated by Katherine Kirakosian, PhD and the Tomaquag Museum, you’ll be introduced to the stories of Metacomet, Canonicus and Miantonomi, and the Narragansett Food Sovereignty Initiative among others.

As noted in the tour narrative: “In experiencing this tour, it is important to note that any group of people who have a shared cultural identity are diverse in their views and opinions on their heritage. The Narragansett Indian Tribe is no exception. Accordingly, the secondary sources informing this tour do not reflect the views of the Narragansett Indian Tribe, or necessarily, its tribal members. Our hope is that by sharing these sources, we inspire respectful dialogue between Native and non-Native groups about the history of the First Peoples of Rhode Island.” Learn more here
To Watch:
Rhode Island creatives featured in the Kennedy Center’s Arts Across America series

Last week the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts joined forces with the New England Foundation for the Arts and FirstWorks of Providence to bring Rhode Island’s own Rose Weaver and Sokeo Ros to the world through virtual performances you can enjoy from the safety of home. FirstWorks, Rose Weaver, and the Everett Dance Company, where Sokeo Ros is Co-Artistic Director and Director of the Hip-Hop Program, have each received grant support from the Humanities Council in recent years. 
To Listen:
“The Shadows of the Constitution” from NPR’s Throughline podcast

Grab your favorite mug of something and settle in for this exploration of Heidi Schreck’s play What the Constitution Means to Me. Listen here to the full episode which delves into the complexities of the Constitution, personal history, and “the space between what we think we’re about and what we’re actually doing.”
Image: Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty
#HumanitiesHappenings: Upcoming Events & Opportunities
There are a lot of humanities going on! We encourage you to check out the Council’s calendar for more details. The events we’ve highlighted below are just a few of the many offerings by Council grantees and partners.

Join the URI Center for the Humanities with guest lecturer Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea (11/18) as she reflects on the lessons of the 19th Amendment. This series is sponsored by the Center for the Humanities, the Gender and Women’s Studies Program, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Honors Program, Women’s Leadership Council, and the Suffrage Centennial Committee. Find details and register at:
Recordings of past lectures with Kenneth Florey, Martha Jones, Hilary Levey Friedman, and Kathleen McIntyre can be found here.

Join Stages of Freedom and the Redwood Library for this virtual talk with Dr. John Rice, great-grandson of Newport’s Isaac Rice, who was a close friend and ally of Frederick Douglass, as he explores the important connections Douglass maintained in Newport. This program is supported by a Council grant. Click here to register.

Write Rhode Island, co-created by Goat Hill and School One, is a short fiction program and competition for RI students in grades 7-12. Free, creative writing classes and virtual visits with guest authors are offered throughout the fall; students submit their 2500 word stories in December 2020. Winners are announced in the Spring and receive a cash prize, are published, and participate in a statewide reading.
The Write Rhode Island competition is open to all public, private, parochial, or home-school students throughout the Ocean State. Additional information and full competition guidelines can be found here. Submissions must be made online by December 13th. Write Rhode Island is supported by a major grant from the Humanities Council. 
XIX: Shall Not Be Denied is a partnership initiative of the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities and the Rhode Island Department of State. Due to the pandemic, Shall Not Be Denied will continue amplifying Rhode Island centennial events through March 2021 via the website and on Instagram @xixshallnotbedenied.
This list will be added to as the Humanities Council is made aware of resources available to the sector as we weather this storm together. Check back often.