November 3, 2010
Innovative Humanities Programs

Below is a sampling of the many innovative formats people are using to generate and share ideas and stories. Please feel free to add to this list in the comment section.

INNOVATIVE PROGRAMS BY HUMANITIES COUNCILS

VELOSOPHIE
www.prairie.org/programs/velosophie
Velosophie is a reading-discussion program that combines physical, outdoor excursions in natural settings with evening reading and reflection. 

THINK & DRINK
www.oregonhumanities.org/programs/section/think-and-drink/
Think & Drink is a happy-hour series that sparks provocative conversations about big ideas.

PEDALPALOOZA 
www.shift2bikes.org/cal/viewpp2010.php
Pedalpalooza was a mobile exploration of how the architecture and design of Portland both cover up and reveal the history of its people and our struggles over space. Lewis & Clark College history professor Reiko Hillyer led this humanities group bicycle ride.

SHOP TALK
www.prairie.org/programs/shop-talk
Shop Talk is a monthly discussion series held by The Public Square and the Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago in Ron’s Barber Shop as an effort to build a bridge between the university and the surrounding community.

CHEW ON THIS
www.indianahumanities.org/chewonthis.aspx
Chew on This brought 150 people together, at nine different locations around Indianapolis, to talk and tweet about how Indiana’s strengths in agriculture and artisanal products can help position Indiana globally.

OTHER UNIQUE PROGRAMS:

QUICK IDEAS

PECHA KUCHA
http://pecha-kucha.org/
Pecha Kucha Night events consist of around a dozen presentations, each presenter having 20 slides, each shown for 20 seconds. Each presenter has just 6 minutes 40 seconds to explain their ideas before the next presenter takes the stage. Conceived as a venue through which young designers could meet, show their work, exchange ideas, and network, the format keeps presentations concise, fast-paced and entertaining.

IGNITE
http://ignite.oreilly.com/
Ignite is a high-energy evening of 5-minute talks by people who have an idea. Run by local volunteers who are connected through the global Ignite network, Ignite is a force for raising the collective IQ and building connections in each city.

TED TALKS
www.tedtalks.com/
TED (Technology Entertainment and Design) is a global set of conferences curated by the American private non-profit Sapling Foundation, formed to disseminate “ideas worth spreading.”

CONVENING

FACE TO FACE
www.facetofacegso.com
From friend-raising to advocacy, Face to Face brings youngish people together by bridging gaps in our community, providing space for voices to be heard and information to be shared, ultimately creating a more vibrant, more connected, more culturally rich Greensboro.

UNCONFERENCES / OPEN SPACE FORMAT
www.unconference.net/
An unconference is a facilitated, participant-driven conference centered on a theme or purpose. The term “unconference” has been applied, or self-applied, to a wide range of gatherings that try to avoid one or more aspects of a conventional conference, such as high fees and sponsored presentations.

BARCAMP
http://barcamp.org/
BarCamp is an ad-hoc gathering born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment. It is an intense event with discussions, demos and interaction from participants who are the main actors of the event.  

STORY TELLING

HAPPY ENDING SERIES
www.amandastern.com/happyending.html
http://happyendingseries.blogspot.com/
The Happy Ending Series features the most interesting storytellers, writers, musicians, raconteurs and personalities, and requires the readers to take one public risk, while the musicians, who perform two short sets with their original, lyric-driven music, are required to play one cover song and try to get the audience to sing along.

THE MOTH
www.themoth.org/
The Moth is an acclaimed not-for-profit organization dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling. Each show features simple, old-fashioned storytelling on thoroughly modern themes by wildly divergent raconteurs who develop and shape their stories with The Moth’s directors.

MORTIFIED
www.getmortified.com/
Witness adults telling stories about their lives by sharing their own adolescent journals, letters, poems, lyrics, plays, home movies, and art. Participants include a wide range of people, from professional performers (comics, celebrities, singers) to total amateurs (architects, ad execs, salesmen) all in the noble pursuit of personal redemption through public humiliation.

POSTSECRET
www.postsecret.com/
PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a postcard.

MICRO AND CROWDSOURCED FUNDING

SUNDAY SOUP
http://sundaysoup.org/
SUNDAY SOUP, Chicago – http://incubate-chicago.org/sunday-soup/
STEW, Baltimore – http://stewbaltimore.org/
SUNDAY BORSCHT, Kiev Ukraine – http://borshch.newcitizen.org.ua/
The Soup Grant is a grassroots model for funding small to medium sized creative projects through community meals. The basic formula is that a group of people come together to share a meal and that meal is sold for an affordable price. All the income from that meal is given as a grant to support a creative project. Grant applications are accepted up until the meal, everyone who purchases the meal gets one vote to determine who receives the grant.

FEAST
http://feastinbklyn.org/
FEAST is a recurring public dinner designed to use community-driven financial support to democratically fund new and emerging art makers. At each FEAST, participants pay a sliding-scale entrance fee for which they receive a supper and a ballot. Diners vote on a variety of artist projects and at the end of the night, the project with the most votes is awarded funds to produce the project.

KICKSTARTER
www.kickstarter.com/
Kickstarter is an online threshold pledge system for funding creative projects. Kickstarter has funded a diverse array of endeavors, ranging from indie film and music to journalism and food-related projects.

RESIDENCIES

SPARE ROOM
www.lovespareroom.com
Spare Room is an artist-run initiative that provides alternative space for emerging artists, makers, and thinkers. It hopes to create and nurture a sustaining dialogue across disciplines and imagines free and open space, which embraces experimental thought and work in the social context.

SUPER G RESIDENCY
www.supergresidency.wordpress.com/
The Super G: Experiential Residency Program is an intensive three-week residency that invites thinkers and practitioners to collectively develop projects that are directed towards the production of “experience.” The Super G Mart is a 75,000-square-foot international supermarket and public flea market. Residents are given a 144-square-foot space within the flea market to use and transform in any way wish.

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