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Across the United States, faculty and students at higher education institutions are engaging communities in humanities research, teaching, preservation, and a wide variety of public programming.

Humanities for All, an initiative of the National Humanities Alliance Foundation, showcases the full range of these higher ed-based publicly engaged humanities initiatives, presenting a cross-section of over 2,000 undertaken over the past decade from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. This collection includes a wide range of humanities projects that engage with diverse publics as audiences and as partners. The cataloged publicly engaged humanities initiatives fall into one or more of the following categories:

  1. Outreach: scholarly programming and media for a general audience, including public lectures, op-eds, and podcasts;
  2. Engaged research: research initiatives in which higher education faculty and students partner with community members, including community-based research;
  3. Engaged teaching: higher education coursework involving community engagement, including service learning and project-based learning beyond the university;
  4. Engaged public programming: public programming in which the primary objective is not the transfer of knowledge but the creation of an experience, such as community conversation programming; and
  5. The infrastructure of engagement: institutional structures that support engaged scholarship, including degree programs, centers, funding opportunities, digital technologies, and curriculum reorientation initiatives.

When viewed together, these 2,000 initiatives illustrate the possibilities of the humanities for everyone involved: building and strengthening communities; creating innovative and practical learning experiences for undergraduate students, graduate students, and people of all ages and backgrounds; offering forums for meaningful dialogue; and advancing humanities scholarship that broadens our understanding of ourselves, our nation, and our world.


Humanities for All presents the results of a survey of the state of the publicly engaged humanities over the last 10 years conducted in 2017-2018 with the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The survey utilized multiple modalities of broad scope data collection, including searches of multiple databases that feature publicly engaged work (including grants databases, conference proceedings, and publications), interviews with leaders in the field, and active calls for participation issued through NHA member institutions across the U.S.

The 2,000 publicly engaged projects collected through this survey can be found on the website's database, which is searchable on multiple axes. The website also features a selection of 51 case studies featured on the website showcase the range of work in the field over the last 10 years.

Contribute to Humanities for All

In an effort to represent the ongoing development of the field, Humanities for All continues to collect examples of publicly engaged humanities work in U.S. higher education.

If you have been involved with a publicly engaged humanities project that is not yet listed in Humanities for All, we would be very grateful for your contribution. You can submit unlisted engaged humanities projects to Humanities for All by clicking here.

If you have any suggestions regarding the refinement of existing entries in the Humanities for All database, please let us know here.

Humanities for All is an initiative of the National Humanities Alliance Foundation and is supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

About NHA / NHA Foundation

The National Humanities Alliance (NHA) is a nationwide coalition of organizations advocating for the humanities on campuses, in communities, and on Capitol Hill. Founded in 1981, NHA is supported by over 200 member organizations, including: colleges, universities, libraries, museums, cultural organizations, state humanities councils, and scholarly, professional, and higher education associations. It is the only organization that brings together the US humanities community as a whole.

The National Humanities Alliance Foundation (NHA Foundation) is the 501(c)(3) supporting foundation of the National Humanities Alliance. The NHA Foundation advances the humanities by conducting and supporting research on the humanities and communicating the value of the humanities to a range of audiences including elected officials and the general public.

For more information about this project contact Michelle May-Curry at mmaycurry@nhalliance.org.

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