Dear Friends,

Welcome to the 19th edition of #HumanitiesInContext with news of the Council’s grants, initiatives, and events as well as curated humanities content that is a springboard for reflection, learning, and action. Read on for stories of impact, humanities in action, and humanities happenings in Rhode Island. 

We will also be sharing some of our favorite stories and resources on the Council’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @rihumanities. 
All my best,
Elizabeth Francis
Executive Director
and the Humanities Council Team
Your support helps ensure that all Rhode Islanders have access to and engage with the humanities, now, and in the future. Visit or if you’d like to learn more contact Rachael Jeffers at
Stories of Impact:
Culture is Key: Pilot projects shine light on pandemic experiences and ask deep questions about civic responsibility
The Humanities Council’s Culture is Key initiative is well underway working to understand, test, and evaluate the role of cultural participation on our state’s civic health.
On Sunday, the Wilbury Theatre Group aired their project Capture the Block: Stories from Ward 15 - a collaboration with journalist Ana González of The Public’s Radio and One Neighborhood Builders. Through interviews and conversation, this project offers a glimpse into how residents of the Olneyville, Silver Lake, and Valley neighborhoods, one of the hardest hit zip codes in the state, is coping with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Watch Capture the Block here.
This week, another pilot project team led by newportFILM is providing free streaming access to the acclaimed new documentary MLK/FBI, February 22 - 25th. Click here to register and newportFILM will send you a link to stream the documentary. Then tune in to newportFILM’s Facebook live on Thursday 2/25 for a Q&A session with film director Sam Pollard, producer Benjamin Hedin, and G. Wayne Miller of The Providence Journal and Story in the Public Square. An in-depth interview between Miller, Pollard, and Hedin will also air on Story in the Public Square, Sunday, February 28th at 11:00am and 7:30pm EST on RI PBS and is available as a podcast on the POTUS channel on SiriusXM Radio.
Lorén Spears of the Tomaquag Museum was recently featured in an article in The Westerly Sun sharing the Museum’s focus on embedding civic engagement across their virtual programs including their recent Quarantine Creatives series with Indigenous artists and now their Literature and Culture Author Conversations and Indigenous Author Conversation series running from now into May 2021. Click here for details and registration information for upcoming Author Conversations. To view past Quarantine Creatives programs, check out the Museum’s YouTube channel
Stay tuned for more from Culture is Key project teams in the coming months. Culture is Key is supported by the Rhode Island Foundation, the Federation of State Humanities Councils, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Humanities in Action: a curated list of humanities resources for reflection, learning, and action.
To Read:

This week, the United States marked a milestone of over 500,000 lives lost in a year to the coronavirus. In a story from the PBS News Hour’s CANVAS segment, reporter Joshua Barajas highlights the pop up memorials across the country that seek to help communities process the magnitude of loss caused by the global pandemic. What role do memorials play in our culture and how do we use the humanities and art to process loss? Read more here
Local connection: Here in Rhode Island, WaterFire created the Beacon of Hope installation, referenced by many in the Capture the Block interviews, which provided a weekly chance to reflect over nearly 100 nights of lightings. Click here to learn more about the Beacon of Hope installation
To Watch:
Songs of Our Native Daughters is a new album from Rhiannon Giddens, Amethyst Kiah, Leyla McCalla, and Allison Russell. Inspired by 17th-, 18th-, and 19th-century sources the artists reinterpret and create new works from old ones. Their songs recognize the daughters, mothers, and grandmothers who have fought for justice in both public and private ways. Click here to watch the creation of one song from the album. Sample tracks from the album are available here and a new documentary about the process is airing this week on The Smithsonian Channel.
To Listen:

Learn about the power and potential of libraries and archives to confront racial injustice, foster equity of access and participation, and to educate and train the next generation of librarians, archivists, and activists. Panelists include: Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla D. Hayden, UCLA Professor/Project Director, Million Dollar Hoods Dr. Kelly Lytle Hernández, and Liberatory Memory Worker and PhD candidate of the Department of Anthropology at Harvard University Jarrett Martin Drake moderated by Mellon Foundation President Dr. Elizabeth Alexander. Click here to listen.
#HumanitiesHappenings: Upcoming Events & Opportunities
Please check out the Council’s calendar for more details. The events we’ve highlighted below are just a few of the many offerings by Council grantees and partners.

Join Newport’s International Tennis Hall of Fame for this virtual talk with Katrina Adams, immediate past President, Chairperson, and CEO of the United States Tennis Association, and Damion Thomas, Museum Curator of Sports for the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. They will explore the gender and racial dynamics of tennis by focusing on the life story of Hall of Famer Althea Gibson, who broke tennis’ color barrier when she became the first African-American to compete at the U.S. National Championships. Free and open to the public. Click here to register.

This series is supported by a Humanities Council grant.
February 25, 26, 27: Cartography

Join FirstWorks for this live streamed performance on February 25 at 7pm, February 26 at 7pm, and February 27 at 2pm. Woven from young refugees’ accounts of their journeys, CARTOGRAPHY combines simple storytelling with interactive video technology to recount experiences of modern-day migration from a youth perspective. Developed by theater director Kaneza Schaal and author/illustrator Christopher Myers, CARTOGRAPHY empowers viewers young and old to share their experiences of searching for home: What journeys have you taken? What maps have you made for yourself along the way? This performance is free and for all ages. Click here to register.

This performance is supported by a Humanities Council grant.

America Too: Reckoning and Resilience a co-production of Trinity Rep and the Providence Public Library marks the sixth year of the America Too initiative. This 5-part online series combines theater, music, and art with stories from our community. Anchored by Joe Wilson, Jr., Founder/Producer of America Too, Michelle Cruz, Director of Community Engagement at Trinity Rep, and Christina Bevilacqua, Programs and Exhibitions Director at the Providence Public Library the program seeks to catalyze community dialogue around the pressing issues of our moment. Click here to register for free streaming access.

This series is supported by a Humanities Council grant.

Rhode Island PBS has put out a request for proposals from independent producers to create 3 to 5-minute short films that respond to the global pandemic. Click here for details about eligibility, submission criteria, and timeline.

The week of March 8 - 12, New England museums will advocate for the value of cultural institutions in our civic life through a series of virtual events featuring each state. Rhode Island based museums and museum-lovers can join in a free advocacy training event on March 10th from 9:30 - 10:30 am EST hosted by the New England Museum Association. Click here to register.

The Humanities Council is a proud sponsor of New England Museum Week.
XIX: Shall Not Be Denied is a partnership initiative of the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities and the Rhode Island Department of State. Due to the pandemic, Shall Not Be Denied will continue amplifying Rhode Island centennial events through March 2021 via the website and on Instagram @xixshallnotbedenied.
This list will be added to as the Humanities Council is made aware of resources available to the sector as we weather this storm together. Check back often.