Public Humanities

If you’re asking, “what is public humanities” see “What is Public Humanities?” by Robyn Schroeder for a lineage of the term, the field of study, and its radical potentials.

My quick answer to the questions is, “public humanities is making meaning with others, in public, through some mode of humanistic inquiry.” My definition includes the arts in addition to humanities disciplines and all of the wonderful, messy, un-discplined spaces in between. My practice often draws on poetry, history, storytelling, and performance. For me public humanities must be grounded in collaboration, accountability, and listening. I am motivated by, hold, and learn from anti-racist, feminist, and queer oranizanizing and frameworks. My participation in public humanities projects and programs has drawn on my poetry writing and performance, project management skills, and qualitative evaluation experience.

Here is a selection of public humanities programs I’ve facilitated, articles I’ve written, and projects in which I’ve participated. 

LGBTQ+ Histories and Storytelling Workshops, Barrie School – Workshops for middle and highschool students to engage LGBTQ+ histories through creative writing and performance (Silver Spring, MD; 2019)

Partnering Artist, Growing Our Own Gardens, directed by Matthew Cumbie – Iterative process utilizing performance and engagement to explore LGBTQ+ histories and queer worldbuilding: Triskelion Improv Festival, NYC (January 2016), Queer Arts Festival, Dance Complex, Boston, MA (June 2016), Performance and Dance Party, Dance Exchange, Takoma Park, MD (January 2017), Summer Institute and Performance, Dance Exchange, Takoma Park, MD (July 2017), A Queer World Unfolding, Dance Place, Washington, DC (February 2018).

Conference Weaver, National Association of Poetry Therapy Conference – Dance artist, Matthew Cumbie and I facilitated a conference closing session, weaving together conversations, experiences, and connections through collaboratively generated poetry and movement (Baltimore, MD; 2019)

Humanist-in-Residence, Newport Health Equity Zone – In collaboration with a resident-directed public health initiative, I developed and facilitated humanities programming and provided grant writing support. Programs included a multidisciplinary arts exploration of neighborhood history, a panel about community preservation, and writing workshops about memory and place. (Newport, RI; 2017 – 2018)

“Keying In: Getting Close to 186 Carpenter, Creative Placemaking, and the Artist Entrepreneur,” Artivate: a Journal of Entrepreneurship in the Arts, Vol. 7, Issue 1, 2018

Your Body as Pedagogy or Dancing in the Museum, Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology – I designed and facilitated a training for museum docents to develop their public speaking skills and bring their bodies into communicating with visitors during tours (Providence, RI; 2017). 

“Communicating Melancholia / Sad Young Men and Portrait of a Lady in Pink,”RISD Museum Manual / a resource about art and its making – 2016

Queer Cookies Poetry Slam, co-organizer and baker – Regie Cabico and I curate and host poetry events and bake sales for LBGTQ+ identified poets. I develop and bake custom cookies based on poets involved in each event. The cookie sales fund the events and pay participating poets (Washington, DC; 2015 – currently).

Nourish SC – I interviewed stakeholders in food system in South Carolina and created a traveling exhibition about the tensions, both productive and problematic, between community food security and the local food movements in the state. I displayed the exhibit at farmers markets in Colubmia, SC (Columbia, SC; 2011 – 2013).