Humanities in Action: A National Perspective

Prepared by: PennPraxis & PA Humanities

“Here is a powerful antidote to eulogies proclaiming the demise of the humanities.” -Laurie Zierer, executive director of PA Humanities

In 2019, we partnered with PennPraxis, the center for applied research and practice at the University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design, to look at how the humanities are contributing to civic engagement, creative placemaking, and community development across the nation.

Together we explored PA Humanities’ work alongside numerous organizations, funders, and practitioners pursuing similar initiatives across the country. The research revealed synergies between the humanities and the broader work of community development, with exciting possibilities for future collaborations between the fields. The research also highlights the recovery and growth work employed to take action for their communities during 2020, offering further examples of how the humanities can be a force for equitable social change.

Questions explored

  • What are the humanities?

  • How are they used?

  • What is this work achieving?

  • What are the current realities of doing this work?

Call to Action

  • Celebrate storytelling

  • Invest in commitment and new leaders

  • Talk about Transformation

  • Build power through exchange

  • Prioritize healing

Read the Report Online

The research in this report was produced by PennPraxis. The opinions expressed in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily
reflect the views of PA Humanities, the National Endowment for the Humanities, or Spring Point Partners. Commissioned by PA Humanities.

Photo by Margo Reed.

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