Public Humanities at WesternWestern Arts and Humanities

Becoming a Public Scholar: Community Engagement and the Future of the Humanities

 male professor speaking to crowd

Becoming a Public Scholar: Community Engagement and the Future of the Humanities

Congress Workshop on the Public Humanities

Organized By: Paul Yachnin (McGill) and Joshua Lambier (Western)

What role does public scholarship have to play in the arts and humanities disciplines today? During a time of change and crisis for higher education, how can scholars in the arts and humanities disciplines explore new spaces of engagement for our research, teaching, creative work, or even activism? How can we translate our field scholarship into innovative forms of engagement that reach a broader audience within and beyond the university, whether this takes the form of new digital platforms, experiential learning, campus-community collaborations, public lectures and writing, or other forms of artistic creation? How, in short, will we advance the “civic turn” currently taking hold in higher education across Canada, the US, and beyond? This Congress-sponsored workshop, “Becoming a Public Scholar,” will take up these challenges and opportunities by highlighting new possibilities for presenting dynamic, publicly engaged scholarship to broader audiences, particularly in cases where academic research can help foster public debate, policy development, community engagement, and a wider appreciation of the value of the humanities. Featuring emerging and established scholars, “Becoming a Public Scholar” will offer new perspectives on the growing field of the public humanities in Canada and beyond.

Our 2-hour Workshop will be divided into two parts. We will begin with short presentations by an expert panel of established scholars who will highlight new ways to include publicly engaged forms of scholarship as part of our research programs. During the second part of our session, participants will have the unique opportunity of working in smaller groups with our expert facilitators to discuss the place of community engagement in their research, and to identify strategies that can help take their research public. The workshop’s primary objective is to give all participants the chance to develop at least one new idea they can take away to help engage broader audiences with their research and teaching.