Dear Friends,

Welcome to the third 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. 

In this issue, we also recognize the contributions of two remarkable members of the Council’s team, Logan Hinderliter and Cat Laine, who are moving on this summer to pursue new endeavors.
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:
Well Wishes for Logan Hinderliter and Cat Laine

Logan Hinderliter and Cat Laine have been invaluable members of the Council’s “small but mighty team.” Logan began at the Council right after graduating from Wheaton College in 2014 and in recent years has led the grantmaking program—building relationships with applicants and grantees, encouraging projects with strong civic impact, and introducing tools for collaboration and evaluation. Logan has also propelled the Council’s partnerships and initiatives. Cat joined the staff just two years ago and brought focus and insight to the Council’s program coordination as well as creativity and inspiration to Council communications and outreach. Since public health restrictions limit our ability to celebrate their contributions in person, we hope you take a few moments to read these interviews with Logan and Cat . Each offers insight into the Council’s impact, what they are personally taking away from their time on the team, and what the future holds for each of them. 

The first ever virtual Celebration will take place Thursday, October 15, 2020 . The unique digital program with this year’s honorees— Dr. Joyce L. Stevos, Mary Beth Meehan, the Providence Clemente Veterans’ Initiative, and Janaya Kizzie —will bring the Celebration straight into homes, offices, and classrooms and will offer opportunities to explore fascinating humanities projects that address societal problems and progress. “This moment demands much of us. These leaders exemplify how the humanities meet extraordinary challenges with creativity, empathy, innovation, and knowledge,” said Elizabeth Francis, executive director of the Humanities Council. “In their own ways, each demonstrates how investing in culture is an investment in democracy and the greater good.” Read more about each of our honorees and stay tuned later this month for more information about sponsorship opportunities and tickets.

To date, the Council has awarded 12 project grants to support individual scholars, film and other media makers, and cultural producers—as well as nonprofit humanities organizations—in the production of accessible projects that connect audiences with the public humanities in the age of social distancing. A final application period for project funds is now open, the deadline to apply is July 27th at 5:00pm EST .

Humanities in Action: a curated list of humanities resources for reflection, learning, and action.
To Read:
“Smithsonian’s Leader Says ‘Museums Have a Social Justice Role to Play’” an interview in The New York Times with Lonnie Bunch III

Lonnie Bunch III became the first director of the National Museum of African-American History and Culture in 2005 and led the museum into existence with a team of dedicated museum professionals. Now he is the secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, overseeing all 19 museums, nine research centers, and affiliates around the world.

“History often teaches us to embrace ambiguity, to understand there aren’t simple answers to complex questions, and Americans tend to like simple answers to complex questions. So the challenge is to use history to help the public feel comfortable with nuance and complexity.”
Image credit: Jared Soares for The New York Times
Read the full interview as Bunch talks about the responsibilities of museums, especially in this moment, to add to their collections in ways that connect the past, present, and future.
To Watch:

Looking for something new to stream? Check out Unladylike2020: The Changemakers , an hour long American Masters program which premiered on July 10th and “marks the women’s suffrage centennial with stories of pioneering women who shaped American politics.” If you have not already done so, be sure to watch the Unladylike2020 shorts focused on Rhode Island pioneers Sissieretta Jones and Annie Smith Peck .

Research and production of the shorts highlighting Rhode Islanders Sissieretta Jones and Annie Smith Peck were supported by grants from the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities. Nationwide, this project was supported by 11 state humanities councils as well as by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
To Listen:
“Times Are Changing As Tolerance Weakens For Confederate Monuments” an NPR interview with historian Julian Hayter

“So I call it historical jiujitsu where you essentially use the scale and grandeur of those monuments against themselves, right? You could have a glass placard - a big one, not a small one - and when you look through that glass placard, etched into that placard would be a story that tells you not only what those people intended when they built those monuments but delineates in many ways all the historical fallacies that were inherent to the lost cause.”
University of Richmond Professor Julian Hayter (Photo by Jay Paul) from
Take four minutes to listen to this interview from June 15, 2020 where Julian Hayter, a historian at the University of Richmond, talks with NPR’s Noel King about how the public could engage with historical context in the public square that offers a more complete version of history in this country. In November 2019, Hayter spoke about this topic at the Providence Athenaeum .
#HumanitiesHappenings: Upcoming Events & Opportunities

The Little Compton Historical Society, recipient of the 2017 Innovation in the Humanities award, has pivoted their summer programming to a unique outdoor exhibition experience. The Little Compton Women’s History Project includes an outdoor exhibit and companion website supported by a major grant from the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities. You can now make a reservation to take a private, self-guided tour of 50 exhibit panels installed across the LCHS site. Click here for more information . Call 401-635-4035 for a reservation .

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, we will continue amplifying Rhode Island centennial events through March 2021 via our website and on Instagram @xixshallnotbedenied.

Presented by The Wilbury Theatre Group in collaboration with WaterFire Providence, FRINGEPVD The Providence Fringe Festival® has traditionally brought hundreds of theatre, music, dance, and multimedia performing artists to the Olneyville neighborhood of Providence. In light of COVID-related closures to performance spaces, the 2020 Festival will feature performances from around the country streamed through the Wilbury Group and FRINGEPVD social media channels July 19-August 1, 2020. Click here to learn more about how you can view these performances and participate in the festival which is supported by a grant from the Humanities Council. 

Join the Providence Preservation Society via Zoom on for Bite-Sized Preservation: Historic Districts 101 which is supported by a grant from the Humanities Council. This program will illuminate the differences between local and national historic districts. Why are districts under local preservation protection and districts on the National Register both called "historic districts"? PPS has invited colleagues from the city and state to help iron out the differences. Is your property in one, both, or neither of these historic districts? Come find out.

Free and open to the public. Advance registration required.

Don’t forget that there’s a mini grant application deadline approaching on August 1st. The Mini Grant Program for requests up to $2,000 invites individual researchers, nonprofit organizations, and schools to apply for funding in support of public humanities projects, documentary film, civic education initiatives, and individual research.

For more information about application requirements, visit the Council’s website:
Questions? Contact Logan Hinderliter at
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.

General Civic Engagement: Fill Out Your Census Form!