We believe people have the creativity, know-how, and talent to make a difference right now in building culture, discussing books, and exploring history in our local communities while adhering to social distancing guidelines. We wanted to quickly give them the support and visibility they need to champion their big ideas. Our Pop-Up Grants for Cultural Producers was created to support organizations in Pennsylvania seeking to launch humanities events, programs, and projects during the COVID-19 shutdown through virtual or other forms of distance-based engagement with the public.
How do journalists, historians, grassroots organizations and residents all contribute to telling a community’s story and motivate meaningful change? What are the challenges communities face in sustaining a sense of place while also welcoming new members and exploring new opportunities in ways that are inclusive of our differences and shared humanity? Our community engagement partners Chester Made and Greater Carlisle Heart & Soul addressed these questions and more in 2018-2019, telling A Tale of Two Cities through a series of programs and activities as part of the national Democracy and the Informed Citizen initiative.
For 2020-2021, PA Humanities worked with Teen Reading Lounge sites in West Philly and Aliquippa to develop youth-led videos. We’ll share more about these projects soon.
Professionals from across Pennsylvania, representing non-profits, government, arts, culture, humanities, and library services, attended Reimagining Community Engagement, a virtual event presented by PA Humanities in partnership with the Office of Commonwealth Libraries during the summer of 2020. The three-part series created a statewide network to learn and build humanities-based and equitable practices for the future of community engagement in our changing world.