CHW – represented by Elijah Gaddis, Nicole Coscolluela, Lucas Kelley, and Morgan Vickers – traveled to New Orleans to present at the 2018 National Humanities Conference, which was organized by the Federation of State Humanities Councils. The conference took place November 8-11, 2018 at the New Orleans Marriott hotel.
There was representation from all over the United States and sessions were on such topics as immigrant engagement, pedagogy, development/advocacy, prison initiatives, and rural outreach. It was clear that there is varied, innovative, and passionate humanities work being done across the country. Moreover, the National Endowment of the Humanities was present in order to promote the “Humanities for All” initiative and the Academy of Arts & Sciences also had a booth to present “Humanities Indicators,” their project that studies areas in work and life that humanities studies contributes to.
The CHW panel was on the first day of the conference, Thursday, November 8. The session titled “Historians and Developers, Pitfalls and Potential” welcomed approximately 30 audience members to listen to each presenter speak about their experiences working on the Rocky Mount Mills project.
Elijah introduced the panelists as well as provided a brief history of CHW and the project. Nicole discussed the challenges of doing community-based work while having associations with developers. Lucas spoke about his observations of doing digital projects for communities. Morgan recounted her personal experience as an undergraduate taking part in publicly-engaged humanities work.
The session was well-received and audience members asked questions pertaining to community reception, K-12 learning, gentrification, and the business of adaptive reuse. Some were particularly curious about the collaborative experience between students and the community and bridging the gap between the institution and communities.