Humanities Means
— Josh Berk, executive director
Bethlehem Area Public Library

Humanities in action

Apr 21, 2016

Martin Memorial Library in York, Pennsylvania, is one of the fifteen public libraries that will be launching Teen Reading Lounge this spring. Carla Christopher, a champion of the humanities who has already made an impact on youth in York, will be the program facilitator. Besides being the York poet laureate from 2011-2013, Christopher is a publisher, event producer and educator. She has won multiple awards for her work in poetry and has been recognized by the National Federation of Poetry Societies and the Pennsylvania Poetry Society. Christopher’s passion for arts, culture, literature and education will definitely bring humanities to the front and center of Martin’s Teen Reading Lounge program. Martin’s teen program coordinator, Dawn States, and Christopher worked closely together to shape the program to focus on personal motivation, identity and resilience. Participating teens will read Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper as well as other novels that address social biases, overcoming obstacles and encourage a journey toward self-understanding. They will also have the opportunity to visit Studio 117 (a production studio), York City Pretzel Co. and The Rooted Artist Collective during the six-session program. Christopher hopes that by participating in Teen Reading Lounge, teens will gain hope and possibility as they interact with their peers, professionals and artists.  

Apr 21, 2016

Today, as the Pulitzer Prizes are awarded for the 100th time, we find ourselves in an increasingly challenging environment of funding cuts in education and public services, angry civic dialogue, and communication dominated by sound bites and 140-character "messages." But, as PHC executive director Laurie Zierer writes in a Philadelphia Inquirer op-ed, the humanities and the skills they teach offer hope and focus in challenging times. Read the op-ed. 

Apr 21, 2016

How well do you know your community? How diverse are the residents? What issues are they facing? Questions like these inform the work of PHC’s current Civic Engagement Grant communities, and the answers are sometimes surprising. Each of the four communities—Carlisle, Meadville, Williamsport, and the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia—has carried out a community network analysis (CNA) to identify population segments, social networks, and the links among them. The CNA is a critical part of the Community Heart & Soul™ method, which PHC has brought to its grant communities through a partnership with the Orton Family Foundation. Community Heart & Soul™ embodies PHC’s belief that people’s own stories should be at the heart of community development. Using the humanities-based Heart and Soul method, team leaders aim to uncover what matters most to their communities by gathering stories from and engaging as many residents as possible. One of the first steps is to develop a more comprehensive understanding of who comprises the community by conducting a CNA.  

  • jackson park
Jackson Park, Team Reading Lounge

Our Vision & Mission 

At the Pennsylvania Humanities Council, we believe the humanities inspire people to make a difference and come together to advance cultural diversity, economic vibrancy, and an equitable society.

Our work is grounded in people. We connect Pennsylvanians to each other through stories, ideas, and experiences that can change lives and transform communities.  

We champion and redefine the role the humanities play in educating citizens and strengthening community. Our programs create pathways for learning and creativity, spark dialogue and civic engagement, and encourage diversity of expression.