Research

We believe in contributing our learnings to the larger conversation about the role of the humanities in creating lasting change.

We put participatory research at the forefront of all our work and partner with scholars, consultants, and a cross-sector of leaders including University of Pennsylvania’s PennPraxis, Elizabeth Myrick + Associates, and Allegheny Intermediate Unit.

In 2022, we will publicly release three important program-related research projects. Stay tuned as we update this page throughout the year.

Written by: Elizabeth Myrick & Rachel Mosher-Williams

FALL 2021

In February 2019, we launched a learning project in collaboration with researchers at Elizabeth Myrick + Associates seeking greater clarity about the direct experiences of PA Heart & Soul participants at our three pilot locations: Greater Carlisle, Meadville, and Williamsport. We wanted to discover how connecting residents to each other through stories, ideas, and experiences changed lives and transformed communities, as well as how participants were championing and redefining the role of the humanities in our communities. The research revealed a series of field-relevant themes and lessons for practitioners and funders looking to put the humanities into action.

Written by: Valerie N. Adams-Bass, PhD

SPRING 2022

In this learning brief, youth specialist Dr. Valerie Adams-Bass shares a decade of field-relevant insights, research, and findings about youth development from Teen Reading Lounge (TRL), our award-winning, interactive reading and discussion program. The brief draws on ten years of data collected by the Allegheny Intermediate Unit from both the teen participants and the adult TRL facilitators. In addition to providing valuable insights into PA Humanities’ successes and challenges, this research sheds light on how to better center diversity, equity, and inclusion in all youth programming. The findings support the humanities as a viable means for effectively and equitably engaging youth in programs that build important educational and social-emotional skills. how participants were championing and redefining the role of the humanities in our communities. The research revealed a series of field-relevant themes and lessons for practitioners and funders looking to put the humanities into action.

coming soon

Humanities in Action: A National Perspective

Written by: Julie T. Donofrio, AICP, Katie Levesque, with Paul Farber, PhD, A.L. McCollough, and Alli Davis.

Expected Mid 2022

In 2019, we engaged PennPraxis, the center for applied research and practice at the University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design, to examine how the humanities are contributing to civic engagement, creative placemaking, and community development across the nation. This undertaking explored our work alongside other organizations, funders, and practitioners pursuing similar initiatives. The research revealed many commonalities between the humanities and the broader work of community development, with possibilities for future collaborations between the fields. The research also highlights the recovery and response techniques that various groups employed to take action for their communities during 2020, offering even more examples of how the humanities can be a force for equitable social change.

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