Doing Public Humanities To-Do List and Exhibit at Brown University

Doing Public Humanities (Brown University’s “Public Humans”)

On May 9th, 2017, members of Brown University’s John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage organized several events tied to Day of Public Humanities. Doing Public Humanities (by Jim McGrath, Robyn Schroeder, and Inge Zwart) was “a public performance art installation on the Main Green, featuring public humanists working at or near a desk.”

“Doing Public Humanities” Exhibit Label


“Doing Public Humanities” exhibit and exhibit label

Part of our exhibition involved completing a To-Do List documenting the work that all of our “performers” completed over the course of the day. The Day of Public Humanities team would like to thank everyone who participated in this exhibition: Susan Smulyan, Sabina Griffin, Ron Potvin, Marisa Angell Brown, Emily Sellon, Maggie Unverzagt Goddard, and Bryn Pernot! Special thanks especially goes out to the JNBC, who graciously agreed to hold their weekly staff meeting outdoors on a chilly and rainy Providence morning!

Bryn Pernot shows her work to Robyn Schroeder and Brigitte Santana during her hour “performing” public humanities work at our “Doing Public Humanities” exhibit.

JNBC staff (Susan Smulyan, Marisa Angell Brown, Sabina Griffin, Ron Potvin, and Robyn Schroeder) “performing” as part of “Doing Public Humanities.”


#DayofPH: How To Participate on May 9th!

If you’re reading this, you’re probably (hopefully!) wondering how to participate on Day of Public Humanities on May 9th, 2017! Here’s an overview of the day and some suggestions for how to get involved. If you’re new to this “public humanities” thing, check out Robyn Schroeder’s overview on our site. If you’re wondering why we’re doing this in the first place, we’ve written on the subject over at the National Council on Public History’s History@Work blog and over at the blog for the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage.

#DayofPH on Twitter

Follow @DayofPH and use #DayofPH to join these conversations on May 9th! Times are EST (we’re based in Rhode Island!), but we’ll be talking about these topics all day, so join us when you can! 🙂

  1. If you’re not following @DayofPH on Twitter, or tracking the conversations that have already been happening via the #DayofPH hashtag, then what are you waiting for?
  2. Day of Public Humanities is an attempt to make our work more visible (and to share the many forms that work takes up around the world). There are many ways to document and highlight this work. Some of you may want to share your To-Do Lists for the day and update us on your progress. Check out our blog for sample lists (and feel free to respond creatively to this prompt!).
  3. Day of Public Humanities is also an opportunity to have conversations about public humanities with other practitioners (and, to network and potentially build connections with potential collaborators)! We’ll be using @DayofPH to circulate some discussion prompts over the course of the day. These questions are meant to be prompts: feel free to talk about other topics as well!
  4. We’ll be continuing to update this blog and web site after May 9th, and we’d love your help! If you had a particularly memorable work day, were inspired by a conversation on social media, or you’re just interested in talking more about public humanities, let us know if you’d like to write a brief blog post! Email us ( or send us a direct message on Twitter!

Day of PH @ Brown

As some of you know, #DayofPH is a project of the JNBC at Brown University. We’ll be running a number of events on campus:

Doing Public Humanities: An interactive exhibit and performance piece staged on the Main Green of Brown University campus, Doing Public Humanities is a public space where public humanists at Brown will do the less visible work that goes into public humanities projects in public. This work is arguably less exciting than the finished products of this labor, but it’s also work that is frequently overlooked and under-valued in scholarship (and, as we’ve seen in press coverage and in statements by politicians looking to cut humanities funding, it is similarly devalued by various members of the public beyond our field). By inviting public humanities practitioners to occupy this exhibition space, we hope to create conversations on campus and online about the forms and contexts that shape our labor and the public’s ideas about the labor of cultural production.

Making The Humanities Public: A collaborative workspace in which we invite members of the Brown and Providence community to create artwork, protest signs, texts, and images that document our various commitments to humanities projects and our feelings and perspectives on the value of humanities initiatives large and small.

Advocating For The Arts And Humanities: A panel discussion with members of the Providence community about how best to advocate for our work, interests, and values in The Age Of Trump. Details here.

If you’re in the Providence area, come join us! We’ll be circulating photos, artwork, quotations, and other materials related to these events on @DayofPH throughout the day!