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The Conversation Project

"History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again." --Maya Angelou

The Conversation Project provides a selection of topics available for 90-minute discussions based on a brief audio, visual and/or text excerpts and guided by a scholar/facilitator. Each of our topics encourages participants to reflect on divisive issues—such as race and ethnic relations—within the US over time, and to consider the significance of these issues to our current civic affairs.

By engaging Tennesseans in collective reflection and conversation, the Conversation Project results in mutual understanding and respect among Tennesseans across points of division.

Communities and nonprofits utilize these Conversations in many different ways. This article provides a great example of how The Promise Land Community in Charlotte, TN used our Conversation Project to expand on the theme of an exhibit.

Eligibility & Hosting Instructions

Any not-for-profit organization or high school in Tennessee is eligible to host a conversation.  Humanities Tennessee covers the cost of the scholar/facilitator's honorarium and travel expenses. The Conversation Project is designed to serve Tennesseans who are not employed by, or enrolled in, post-secondary educational institutions; eligible conversations must be intended for and advertised to the general public and free of charge. Humanities Tennessee is especially interested in supporting those organizations that reach underserved audiences or regions.

For High Schools: Teachers or administrators from Tennessee public or private high schools may apply to host a Conversation. Schools are not required to have an outside audience. Rather, the conversation must be geared to a school-based audience, such as students, teachers, faculty, administration, parents, or any combination of these groups.

Each Conversation  addresses the Tennessee Social Studies Curriculum Process Standards for grades 9-12; Acquiring Information, Analysis of Data and Problem Solving, Communication, and Historical Awareness.

Conversations also meet multiple Content Standards for courses in African American History, Contemporary Issues, Modern History, United States Government, and United States History.

To host a conversation:

  1. select a Conversation topic from this list
  2. submit this form to request the Conversation; our staff will work with you to confirm a facilitator
  3. explore these resources to help publicize and evaluate your Conversation

Resources and information for scholar-facilitators may be found here.

Generous support for The Conversation Project provided by the Nissan Foundation.