Dear Friends,

Welcome to the eighth 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. On this first day of autumn, grab a mug of your favorite warm beverage and read on for stories of impact, humanities in action, and humanities happenings in Rhode Island. It's an impressive list!

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:

Since the Council’s founding in 1973, the grantmaking program has been at the heart of our mission and has served as a hub for Rhode Island’s remarkable cultural ecosystem–weaving together seemingly disparate organizations into the strong fabric of cultural production that sustains us even through the most challenging of times. 

This fiscal year, the Council awarded a record-breaking 95 grants totaling $547,075. The Council made 30 awards for a total of $169,429 as part of our regular grantmaking and 64 grants totaling $377,646 in General Operating Support Relief Grants and “Humanities in the Age of Social Distancing” Project Grants made possible by supplemental CARES Act funding through the National Endowment for the Humanities. 

Read more about the August mini grants, totaling over $9,000, in support of public projects, documentary film, and individual research. The Council also awarded $8,000 to four “Humanities in the Age of Social Distancing” Project Grants at the final July 27 deadline. Read more about each of these organizations and projects that received CARES Act grants here

Five state cultural organizations, partnering with local journalists and media producers, have begun developing pilot projects as part of the Culture is Key initiative. Participants newportFILM, Providence Public Library, Pushed Learning and Media, The Tomaquag Museum, and The Wilbury Theatre Group each will explore how cultural programs, including exhibition programming, documentary film and video, and performance, can align with strategies for improving civic health. Together, participants will evaluate civic health outcomes and work with Culture is Key Fellow Julia Lazarus in collaboration with the initiative’s advisory committee. Follow the projects on the Council’s social media, @rihumanities #CultureIsKey #HumCitizen.

Culture is Key is supported by the Rhode Island Foundation, the Federation of State Humanities Councils, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in partnership with the Pulitzer Prizes.

There’s a hint of fall in the air which means it’s time to register for the Celebration of the Humanities. Going virtual this year, the event produced in partnership with Atomic Clock will certainly be different but will offer meaningful engagement with the work of this year’s honorees and a few surprises! Get your tickets now, starting at $20 - $100. Supporter tickets at $100 provide two registrations for the event AND include three free tickets that the Council will give to those who might otherwise be unable to attend.

Thank you to our early sponsors! You can still sponsor! Sponsorships will be recognized during the event on screen, and digital program ads are available. Click here for more information.
Humanities in Action: a curated list of humanities resources for reflection, learning, and action.
To Read:

Dive into this interview with Louise Dubé, the executive director of iCivics, and Maryanne Wolf, a cognitive neuroscientist and the author of Reader, Come Home: The Reading Brain in a Digital World. 
They discuss the urgency of teaching about our institutions of government in relevant, accessible ways and about the importance of deep reading for fostering empathy and critical thinking. Read more.
Louise Dubé, executive director of iCivics, and Maryanne Wolf, author of Reader, Come Home. 
— Courtesy of iCivics; Courtesy of Maryanne Wolf
To Watch:

In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept 15 - October 15) Rhode Island Latino Arts is holding “a series of virtual conversations where speakers from countries throughout Latin America and the Caribbean will share their knowledge, research, and experience.” Held every Monday during Hispanic Heritage Month and then one a month thereafter, this series is “meant to open up dialogue among all people of color, with an emphasis on the Latinx experience.”
September 28th: Afro-Latino Identity in the Dominican Republic
October 5th: Colombia: Historias y Literaturas del Trópico
October 12th: Nahuatl: Other Histories of México

Click here for more information and to register. The series is free, however registration is required. 

The Teatro Latino @RILA Pláticas are made possible in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, National Endowment for the Arts, Rhode Island State Council on the Arts and the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities.
To Listen:

In memory of the legacy of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, who passed away on September 18, 2020, we hope you can take a few moments to enjoy this performance of Vocalise by Rachmaninoff from Yo-Yo Ma which the famed cellist shared on Twitter @YoYo_Ma. An appropriate tribute for Justice Ginsberg, who famously loved the opera for its ability to help clear her mind and be in the moment, Vocalise contains no words but conveys much meaning. 

Click here to explore more of Yo-Yo Ma’s #SongsOfComfort project which calls for people to create and share their own art from home during the pandemic in an effort to promote connection and empathy.
#HumanitiesHappenings: Upcoming Events & Opportunities
September 22: Virtual Grant Information Workshop at 4:30 PM
Join Humanities Council staff members to learn all about the grant application process and ask any questions you might have. This final workshop will be held via Zoom at 4:30pm EST.
Registration is required, and space is limited--sign up today!
This is the second of a three-part online discussion series hosted in partnership between Lippitt House Museum and the Providence League of Women Voters and is part of XIX: Shall Not Be Denied. This session will focus on Criminal Justice Reform with guest speakers: 
Jill Harrison, Professor of Justice Studies, Rhode Island College
James Monteiro, Founder and Director, Reentry Campus Program
Judge Judith C. Savage, Former RI Superior Court and recipient of the Humanities Council’s 2017 Honorary Chairs’ Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Humanities
This event is free, but registration is required
September 23, 30, & October 7: Power, Privilege & Social Justice
This three-part series from the Rhode Island Black Heritage Society, in partnership with Providence Community Library, explores the history and struggle for African Americans to achieve Civil Rights in Providence over a 300-year period. Keith Stokes, Advisor to the RI Black Heritage Society, will presents the talks. 

The FREE talks take place on successive Wednesdays, September 23, 30 and October 7, and will be prefaced by a short story told by Valerie Tutson of RI Black Storytellers and recipient of the Council's 2017 Public Humanities Scholar Award.

GET FREE TICKETS for each of the three parts through Eventbrite and you will receive a Zoom link with instructions on how to join:


Wednesday, September 23, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM


Wednesday, September 30, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM


Wednesday, October 7, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM

This program series is supported by a Humanities Council mini grant.
This grant opportunity from Rhode Island Commerce is open to arts, humanities, and cultural organizations to support costs associated with purchasing, obtaining, delivering, installing, or otherwise enabling outdoor activities between the period September 28 - December 18. All details and RFP requirements can be found here
On Wednesday, October 7 at 7:00 PM, the Museum of Work & Culture will host journalist Patrick White for “The Exodus of French Canadians to New England: the Story Behind the Story,” a free talk via Zoom. White’s talk will deal with the wave of emigration of French Canadians to New England, from 1840 to 1930. He will discuss the situation in Quebec that brought on this mass emigration of French-Canadians to the United States and the impact that this had on the six New England states. He will also talk about the French-Canadians fight to preserve their language and culture in the context of assimilation.
Please register for the talk by emailing
October 7, 8, & 9: 8mm Film Festival Screening
These are the stories of the artists of RI in the time of quarantine. 18 artists were given 8mm cameras and film on which to document their lives in 2020. This screening event will allow you to see all 18 of their short films.

The screening will be held outside at the Retina Creative Lab in Riverside, RI from 6:30 - 8:00 PM each evening. Special health and safety measures are being taken in compliance with CDC and local guidelines. Click here for more information and to register.

This project was supported by the Humanities Council through a Humanities In The Age Of Social Distancing Project Grant.
David W. Blight, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom and director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale, will discuss Douglass’ connections to Rhode Island, his vision for freedom, and his relationships with fellow Rhode Island abolitionists. The talk will be accompanied by African American spirituals by the Schiller Boston Community Chorus. Presented by Stages of Freedom, in partnership with the Providence Athenaeum, as part of their series “Frederick Douglass in Rhode Island”

Funded by the RI Council for the Humanities, Providence Tourism, and the Herman H. Rose Civic, Cultural and Media Access Fund. This virtual lecture is free and open to the public however registration is required. Use promo code: STAGESOFFREEDOM for free registration.
Join in the first ever virtual Celebration of the Humanities starting at 6:00pm as we honor Dr. Joyce L. Stevos, Mary Beth Meehan, the Providence Clemente Veterans’ Initiative, and Janya Kizzie.

Tickets available from $20 - 100. Click here to register

The rescheduled Bristol BookFest, supported by a Humanities Council grant, is set to offer a close look at Robert Penn Warren’s All the King’s Men.
It is now a free, online three-day public humanities program October 16-18 from 4 to 6 pm each day via Zoom. If you registered before, you are still registered, and 100 new spaces are now available.Go to for more information.
Speakers include the legendary Texas political consultant George C. Shipley and the country’s two leading Robert Penn Warren scholars: Ernest Suarez of The Catholic University of America and John Burt of Brandeis University. Joining them are film historian Alexandra Keller of Smith College and Bristol-based historian Charles Calhoun.
Join Council grantee UNLADYLIKE2020 and the Providence Public Library for a virtual viewing of the incredible stories of Sissieretta Jones, Annie Smith Peck, and Charllotta Spears Bass. Following the viewing, there will be a discussion with the project’s Series Creator, Executive Producer, Director & Writer Charlotte Mangin; Executive Producer, Director & Writer Sandra Rattley; Artist & Artistic Director Amelie Chabannes; and Motion Graphics Animator & Artistic Director Joel Orloff about how they worked together to research, recover, and then make visible the lives and dynamism of women who, although famous in their own time, had for the most part disappeared from living memory, and whose images and effects had been scattered across decades and distances.

This virtual event is free and open to the public; however registration is required.

Work by UNLADYLIKE2020 to tell the stories of Sisseretta Jones and Annie Smith Peck was supported by Humanities Council grants and done in collaboration with local organizations: Stages of Freedom, Rhode Island Historical Society, and the Providence Public Library. UNLADYLIKE2020 is part of XIX: Shall Not Be Denied.
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.
September 30: Deadline to fill out your Census form. Rhode Island currently only has about 40% participation. Census reporting has a direct result on federal funds available to states.

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.