Using Media to Develop Humanities Narratives - NHC 2017

deadline for submissions: 
July 28, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Clare Callahan, University of Texas at Austin
contact email: 

We are soliciting participants for our National Humanities Conference 2017 working group, Using Media to Develop Humanities Narratives, meeting Saturday, November 4, 9:30-11. 

Our working group will discuss the increasing need to create and disseminate clear and compelling narratives that affirm the public benefits of humanities programs, especially those originating from colleges and universities, and explore options for addressing this need through new media. The questions this working group will address include: (1) What practical resources do universities and other humanities entities need to create compelling narratives about their programs, and what can universities and public humanists do to animate students and people outside the academy to advocate for the humanities? (2) What stories should humanities professionals, as well as university administrators, faculty, students, and participants in public humanities programs be telling about these programs and how should these stories be told? Lastly, (3) what audiences do these stories need to reach and how can advocates for the humanities target them? The specific goal of this working group will be to produce an initial blueprint of effective narratives that resonate with and mobilize a broad public, uses of media, and promotional strategies that universities and humanities programs can both draw from and build on to affirm the public good that the humanities serves and to advocate for increased public investment in humanities programs. 

Please provide a brief abstract (300-500 words) of what you will contribute to meeting the goals of this working group, focusing on narratives you have created, investigated, and/or employed to communicate the importance of accessible humanities programs in higher education to students, donors, and the public. You might address what you learned from the process of using new media to develop humanities narratives, including how you disseminated these narratives to targeted audiences and how the media shaped the telling and content of the narrative.  What resources did you deploy? What resources do you wish you had access to? What are some other questions we should be asking as we work toward a blueprint? Your abstract might additionally reflect on what was successful about your project, what didn’t work, and should address what you will bring to the working group based on these experiences. 

We also welcome participants who are new to their positions and interested in exploring new media narratives about the public benefits of the humanities. Your abstract should address how your participation would benefit you and your organization and what questions you have as you face the defunding of the humanities.

Finally, please focus on strategies rather than specific content of programs. We wish to develop a blueprint that is adaptable to a wide range of organizations and their programming.

Please send your statements to Victoria Davis ( and Clare Callahan ( by July 28, 2017.