PROVIDENCE, RI – At the National Humanities Conference on Friday, October 27, the Federation of State Humanities Councils (Federation) presented the 2023 Schwartz Prize for outstanding work in the public humanities to Rhode Island Humanities along with Alaska Humanities Forum and North Carolina Humanities. Rhode Island Humanities won for the 2022 RI Civic Health Index; Alaska Humanities Forum for the Ilakucaraq Program; and North Carolina Humanities for the North Carolina Reads program.
“This year’s winners have worked in and with communities across the nation to build deeper understandings and develop curiosity and empathy,” said Phoebe Stein, President of the Federation State Humanities Councils. “We are pleased to recognize three of our member Councils for strengthening community connections through multi-faceted approaches that have resulted in innovative and sustainable public humanities programming.”
Elizabeth Francis, Executive Director of RI Humanities, noted, “Rhode Island Humanities developed the state’s first Civic Health Index as an essential first step for shared understanding and action to improve civic life through the humanities. We are honored by this national recognition and to be in the company of our Council colleagues from Alaska and North Carolina. Receiving the Schwartz Prize for the RI Civic Health Index underscores – at a time when it matters deeply – that humanities are essential to civic health and how we understand our world from varied perspectives.”
The 2022 Rhode Island Civic Health Index defines civic life in broad and inclusive ways, thanks in part to collaboration from institutional partners, academic advisors, 10 Community Partners and a Data Consultant. The Index draws upon data-driven indicators and information about diverse aspects of civic life to provide a baseline to help community members, cultural leaders, and policy makers understand what challenges and opportunities Rhode Islanders share. It includes humanities perspectives on data content, collection and analysis, and was designed to support active and meaningful engagement with the report’s findings. The Index has sparked in-depth conversations about community, well-being, social connection, public participation, collective understanding, and engagement with government throughout Rhode Island. Supported by an Engagement Facilitator, five Community Partners designed Index-focused events in Newport, South Kingstown, Woonsocket, and Providence, and 15 venues have hosted the bilingual traveling exhibit of the Index, attracting thousands of viewers.
The 2022 RI Civic Health Index was done in partnership with the National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC) and the Rhode Island Department of State with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities through the “A More Perfect Union” initiative, the Rhode Island Foundation, and individual supporters. In addition, RI Humanities worked with organizational partners including Generation Citizen as well as academic advisors from Brown University, Johnson and Wales University, Providence College, Rhode Island College, and the University of Rhode Island. To read the 2022 RI Civic Health Index and for more about the initiative, visit: rihumanities.org/program/ri-civic-health-index/.
RI Humanities has been awarded the Schwartz Prize twice before in the organization’s 50-year history: in 1982 for “The Trinity Humanities Series: The Dramatic Work as a Historical, Cultural Document” and in 2001 for “Action Speaks 2000, A Topical Forum: Under-Appreciated Dates of the 20th Century That Changed America.”
Image caption: Julia Renaud, Associate Director of Grants and Strategic Initiatives, and Elizabeth Francis, Executive Director, accept the Schwartz Prize on behalf of RI Humanities at the 2023 National Humanities Conference in Indianapolis, IN, from Paxton Williams, Chair of the Board of the Federation of State Humanities Councils. | Photo credit: Harley Avery, Federation of State Humanities Councils
Watch the video below to hear from the 2023 Schwartz Prize winners, including Elizabeth Francis and Julia Renaud of Rhode Island Humanities.
Click here for the Federation’s press release about the 2023 Schwartz Prize.
About the Schwartz Prize
Since 1982, the Federation has awarded the Schwartz Prize to up to three councils for outstanding work in the public humanities each year. The prize was established by founding Federation board member Martin Schwartz and his wife, Helen. The Schwartz Prize judges are selected from humanities partners, former board members, and council board and staff of the prior year’s winners. For more information, visit: statehumanities.org/schwartz-prize-faqs.
About the Federation of State Humanities Councils
The Federation of State Humanities Councils (Federation) was founded in 1977 as the membership association of state and jurisdictional councils. The Federation provides support for the state humanities councils and strives to create greater awareness of the humanities in public and private life. For more information about the Federation, visit: statehumanities.org.
About Rhode Island Humanities
Established in 1973, Rhode Island Humanities seeds, supports, and strengthens public history, cultural heritage, civic education, and community engagement by and for all Rhode Islanders. It supports museums, libraries, historic sites, schools, preservation and historical societies, community and cultural organizations, individual researchers and documentary filmmakers to bring Rhode Island’s stories to life and to amplify many diverse voices. For more information, visit: rihumanities.org.
Media Contact: Rachael Jeffers, Associate Director of Engagement | (401) 273-2250 | email@example.com