Cal Humanities

"Part of resilience is finding joy, finding beauty, finding love."

— George Takei, Actor, Author, Director, Activist

"Part of resilience is finding joy, finding beauty, finding love."

— George Takei, Actor, Author, Director, Activist

Images of four people on four separate screens in conversation.

California Humanities Launches Virtual Programming

California Humanities is working to provide unique and compelling humanities programming through a virtual format. The shift comes as we, like others, recognize the need to pivot to more accessible content during this period of required social distancing. Through our Art of Storytelling initiative, which until now has focused on humanities-related art exhibits in our Oakland office, we are developing programs to share California stories from throughout the state on far-reaching topics.

Our first foray into virtual programming took place in July 2020, with Seeking Refuge In America: A conversation with Tom Shepard, Director of UNSETTLED. This event featured a discussion and preview of the documentary film, UNSETTLED: Seeking Refuge In America. The film explores the lives and challenges of LGBTQ refugees and asylum seekers as they attempt to resettle in the San Francisco Bay Area. Moderated by Mina Para Matlon, a California Humanities board member and the Managing Director of Imagining America, the event spotlighted award-winning filmmaker Tom Shepard and two of the film’s subjects, Cheyenne Adriano and Junior Mayema. In the conversation on topics ranging from the experience of making and participating in the film, to the complexities and challenges of the refugee experience in the United States, this discussion was poignant, challenging, and moving. We thank Cheyenne, Junior, and Tom for sharing their stories with us. To watch a recording of this Art of Storytelling event, please visit our YouTube channel. To learn more about UNSETTLED, please visit the film’s website.

UNSETTLED is supported by the California Documentary Project (CDP). The next CDP grant deadline is November 2, 2020. To learn more about CDP and our other grant programs and funding opportunities, sign up here for our upcoming online grant workshop.

In addition, earlier this summer, we asked humanities practitioners in California, “How does COVID-19 impact your work, and what capacity-building needs do you have to help adjust to this new reality?” The keen response we received from grantees and partners has led us to create plans for virtual convenings and skill-building events in the coming months.  On October 1, starting at 4 pm, we are hosting an online event entitled Virtual Programs, Real Connections: A Conversation that will feature short presentations from grantees from around the state who are experimenting with different types of online and socially-distanced programming formats. A Q&A and general discussion will follow the participants’ remarks.  You can register for this event HERE.

Watch for our announcements on future offerings!


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