As Executive Director of the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, Elizabeth Francis leads the Council’s promotion of public history, cultural heritage, civic education and community engagement. She works with the Council’s board of directors and leaders in government, higher education, and cultural organizations to connect humanities resources and perspectives with challenges and opportunities in the state. Overseeing the Council’s relationship with the National Endowment for the Humanities, Elizabeth helps to position the Council’s work more broadly as well as to build public-private partnerships.
Before her role at the Council, Elizabeth was director of Corporate and Foundation Relations at Brown University for 10 years. She earned her doctorate in American Studies at Brown, and her book, The Secret Treachery of Words: Feminism and Modernism in America, was published by the University of Minnesota Press in 2002. She completed her bachelor’s degree at Hampshire College. Elizabeth taught at Brown and the University of Rhode Island. In addition, she has been on the board of the International Charter School in Pawtucket, RI, and chaired the Grants Committee as a member of the board at RICH. As a member of the RI Commerce Corporation board in 2013-2014, Elizabeth co-authored a strategic plan to develop the creative and cultural economy. She is a Community Fellow at the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage at Brown University and Vice President of the Community Advisory Board for Rhode Island PBS. In 2017, she joined the Advisory Council for the Dirt Palace at the Wedding Cake House, a project led by this feminist art collective to redevelop and renovate the famed historic building on Broadway in Providence’s West End.