Public Humanities Exchange

Current Projects


Spring 2013 Awards


Composing Life Experiences: Connecting and Building Community at the WI Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired
Annika Konrad: English (English--Composition and Rhetoric)
Partner: Wisconsin Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired

When individuals experience sensory loss, they often must find new means of communication and self-expression. This group aims to provide guidance for people who have experienced vision loss in finding those new means of expression. The group will work toward a culminating project—a collection of life stories--that will educate the public about the “humanness” of people with disabilities, while at the same time building community among people who have been affected by vision loss. 

Interested in similar projects that Annika is using to design her own? Check out Behind Our Eyes and Operation Homecoming.


Moving beyond homelessness: storytelling of place and belonging
Kaitlin Stack Whitney (Zoology; Holtz Center for Science and Technology)
Partner: WORT 89.9 FM and TBD

Homeless families with children are often marginalized or invisible members of the community. Yet just because people are temporarily lacking in a traditional ‘home’ does not mean that place and belonging are not important or relevant – or that their experience and stories are not worth telling and hearing. This project explores storytelling and oral history centered around place, home, and belonging, with children and families who are temporarily homeless, empowering them to share their stories with the rest of the county via community radio on WORT FM.

Interested in similar projects that Kaitlin is using to design her own? Check out the Homelessness Radio Broadcast (Kansas City, MO), Homeless Voice podcast (Hollywood, FL), the Storyteller Center (Santa Barbara, CA) and the Homlessness Resource Center.


Allied Drive Neighborhood Story Project 
Christopher Earle and Elisabeth Miller (English-Composition and Rhetoric)
Partner: Boys and Girls Club of Dane County (Allied Drive location)

Responding to the lack of a sense of community among youth in the Allied Drive neighborhood, the Allied Drive Neighborhood Story Project partners with the Boys and Girls Club to offer a space for youth to develop a sense of shared experience by collecting and telling stories about their community. This project engages high school youth as researchers and writers, inviting them to perform interviews; take photos or video; write narratives; and—most importantly—reflect on their place in the neighborhood, the Madison community, and society more broadly. During weekly meetings, in collaboration with facilitators, youth will brainstorm, give and receive feedback on writing or multimedia compositions, and engage in a rich discussion of their experiences living in—and now documenting—the neighborhood.

Interested in similar projects that Elisabeth and Chris are using to design their own? Check out the Writing Austin's Lives (Austin, TX) and the Neighborhood Story Project (New Orleans, LA).


Madison Zine Workshop
Elizabeth Barr (Communication Arts)
Partner: Malcolm Shabazz Alternative High School

The Madison Zine Workshop will empower students through self-publication. We will use zine-making as an avenue to explore local and personal political issues. The Madison Zine Workshop will engage students through collaboration with one another as well as community partners, and expose them to networks of zinesters around the country.

Interested in a similar project that inspired Liz? Check out the Zine Archive Publishing Project.

Construyendo puentes Community Theater
Megan Bailon, Carly Kragthorpe, Nicole King: Spanish and Portuguese
Partner: The Literacy Network

Contruyendo puentes Community Theater intends to bring together Spanish and English language learners to explore space, identity, and citizenship through performance. Theater exercises (vocal and corporal expression, improv, and teatro-foro) will allow group members to develop their acting exercises and consider issues that concern their community. After reading scenes of plays related to citizenship, the group will select a play to study, rehearse, and stage for a community audience.

Interested in similar projects that Megan, Carly and Nicole are using to design their own? Check out the International Theatre of the Oppressed Organization, All Nations Theatre (Calgary, Canada), ImaginAction (Los Angeles, CA), and the Cornerstone Theater Company (Los Angeles, CA).


Shared Legacy: the South Madison Center for Culture and Community and the History of 633 W. Badger Road
Paul Grant (History)
Partner: Nehemiah Community Development Corporation

“Shared Legacy” is a project of telling the history of 633 W. Badger Road from the 1830s to the present, and helping the Nehemiah Community Development Corporation make use of this history. Building off archival research completed last year, this project incorporates new stories from ex-offenders and community activists to create a seamless story of a neighborhood’s decline and restoration, to be printed as a booklet.

Digital Storytelling at East Madison Community Center
Alexandra Rudnick (History of Science, Medicine, and Technology)
Partner: East Madison Community Center

Working with middle and high school-aged students, this project will create a series of four short documentaries highlighting life at the East Madison Community Center and telling stories about their neighborhood, adjacent to Truax Field and MATC. The finished films will be shown at the Madison Children's Museum as part of their ongoing KidShare program.