About the Initiative

In 2014, the Heyman Center for the Humanities established a Public Humanities Initiative.  Its mission is to foster and enhance community engagement with the humanities at Columbia and university engagement with Columbia’s diverse neighboring communities.  Often collaborating with other Columbia centers and institutes, with local educational and cultural institutions, and with community organizations, it sponsors a wide range of programming, service, and research activities intended to interest and include audiences beyond the university.

The Heyman Center Public Humanities Initiative strives to expand the opportunities for humanities-based conversations, on and off campus.  It sponsors lectures, panel discussions, roundtables, film screenings, poetry readings, dramatic performances, and community-university collaborative projects. 

In partnership with the New York Council for the Humanities (NYCH), it supports graduate fellowships in the Public Humanities and works with community organizations on specific NYCH-funded projects.  It also supports curriculum development for courses with significant public humanities content.

Additionally, the Heyman Center Public Humanities Initiative administers The Justice-in-Education Initiative, a collaborative project with the Center for Justice at Columbia and the Media and Idea Lab to provide education to incarcerated and formerly incarcerated persons and to integrate the study of justice more fully into the Columbia University curriculum. The Justice-in-Education Initiative is made possible by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

  • Public Humanities Programming

    The Public Humanities Initiative sponsors cultural events, discussions, and collaborative projects that advance public engagement with the humanities.  These projects involve faculty, undergraduate and graduate students, community organizations, and local artists.  In the coming months, programming will include events on a range of topics, including "narratives of inclusion" and "art as activism.”

  • Public Humanities Fellowship

    In partnership with the New York Council for the Humanities, the Heyman Center Public Humanities Initiative offers graduate students the opportunity to explore the public dimensions of their own scholarship by supporting projects that are situated in the public sphere.  Public Humanities Fellows receive training in the methods and approaches of public scholarship, often working closely with organizations committed to serving public audiences.

  • Public Humanities Initiative News

    The Heyman Center Public Humanities Initiative envisions new ways of interacting with the public, focusing our efforts on the impact of the humanities on civic life and society. To stay abreast of the latest news and happenings, please visit our PHI News page.

  • Justice-in-Education Initiative

    The Justice-in-Education Initiative is a collaboration between the Heyman Center for the Humanities and the Center for Justice at Columbia University, along with the Media and Idea Lab of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race, to provide educational opportunities to incarcerated and formerly incarcerated persons and to integrate further the study of justice into the Columbia University curriculum.

Public Humanities Initiative

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