PA Humanities Discovery Project to tell first-ever story of state’s cultural sector

September 27, 2022

PHILADELPHIA (September 27, 2022) — Today PA Humanities and Drexel University announced the PA Humanities Discovery Project. This new collaboration seeks to map, network, and celebrate Pennsylvania’s humanities landscape. The project officially kicked off with the launch of a statewide survey of the broader cultural sector. 

“We plan to tell the first-ever story of the humanities across Pennsylvania,” said Laurie Zierer, executive director of PA Humanities. “There is so much to learn and share, especially about their critical role during the pandemic in keeping people connected and inspired, while encouraging resilience and recovery.”

To help get the word out about the survey, PA Humanities is conducting a comprehensive outreach campaign that includes finding those who may not necessarily identify their work as the humanities. The goal is to reach a broad cross-section of people who are building community, making space for new voices, sharing stories, uplifting culture, educating, and solving problems creatively.

The PA Humanities Discovery Project survey was developed under the guidance of researchers at Drexel University. Questions were carefully designed to explore the impact, identities, motivations, challenges, and connections of humanities workers.

“Our Westphal research team and PA Humanities share a passion for collective expression and engaged communities. We are very excited about the doors this project will open for all Pennsylvanians to understand the multitudes contained in our state’s culture,” said Jason Schupbach, Dean of the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design.

“The PA Humanities Discovery Project allows us to advance knowledge about how people in Pennsylvania make meaning, celebrate history, and understand their lives,” said Andrew Zitcer, one of the project’s lead researchers and an associate professor at the Antoinette Westphal College.

The survey is anonymous and takes approximately 20 minutes to complete. Participants receive special invitations to networking opportunities and project-related public forums. They also gain early access to select research materials and may have the opportunity to have their work highlighted to a statewide and national audience. Responses are due by October 31, 2022 with results released publicly in Spring 2023.

“I believe the PA Humanities Discovery Project will be a powerful antidote to all the eulogies proclaiming the demise of the humanities,” said Zierer. “We’re starting a movement that will deepen our understanding of the humanities, build networks and connections, and give greater recognition to all our incredible humanities workers who every day make Pennsylvania the wonderful place it is.”

To learn more about the PA Humanities Discovery Project and to take the survey visit Funding for the project comes from the National Endowment for the Humanities as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.


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