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What We Do

Our programs engage the public actively in the humanities and make the humanities an integral part of community life in Tennessee.  We do this through a variety of public programs and partnerships across the state. Explore what we have to offer!

A few examples of the diverse programming Humanities Tennessee has to offer...

Southern Festival of Books


Chapter 16


The Partnership for Public Humanities

Full list of programs...

(Center for the Book)*



The Southern Festival of Books
is a three-day Celebration of the Written Word (SM) held each year in downtown Nashville. Inviting over 250 authors and welcoming over 20,000 guests for readings, signings, and discussions, the Festival is one of the nation's premiere literary events.
Bittersweet Harvest: The Bracero Program, 1942-1964
is a bilingual, traveling panel exhibit exploring the roots of Mexican migrant labor to the US, and will be touring across the state.
The Partnership for Public Humanities
formerly the Community History Development Fund,  provides support to nonprofits to plan and implement public humanities projects.
Authors in the Round
is an annual fundraising dinner held the Friday evening of the Southern Festival of Books. Diners are paired with festival authors for a vibrant evening of cocktails, fine faire, and socializing.
The Conversations Bureau
provides free, ninety-minute discussions based on brief text excerpts and guided by a scholar, encouraging participants to reflect on the outcomes of social divisions and their significance to current civic affairs.
The annual Grant Program
provides funding support for ambitious public humanities projects awarded each spring, and small project grants awarded each summer.
Young Writers' Workshops
are residential programs for 8th-12th graders and takes place on a college campus, each during one full week in the Summer.
The Media Lending Library
consists of documentaries addressing a broad range of topics on Southern history and culture available to Tennessee nonprofits and schools for free public or classroom screenings.
Scholarships for the Tennessee Association of Museums Conference
are available to volunteers of small or emerging organizations without paid professional staff.
Letters About Literature
is a writing contest for students in grades 4–12 to think critically and read and write reflectively.
Civil War, Civil Rights, Civil Discourse
is a multi-format initiative providing opportunities to share perspectives on socially divisive issues over the past 150 years and the prospects for civility in public life today and in the future.
Cooperative Agreements
provide continuing support to ongoing efforts in humanities education across the state.
Student Reader Day Programs 
bring writers together with young readers to offer great literature, critical thinking, and discussion opportunities.
The Young Historians Series
showcases award winning student projects from Tennessee History Day.
Outstanding Educator Awards
are available each year for up to six full-time 3rd–12th grade Tennessee teachers who receive cash for professional development and school humanities projects or materials.
is an author readings series made possible in partnership with the Nashville Public Library and Parnassus Books.
The Way We Worked
is a Smithsonian exhibition touring the state in 2015, and includes local public programs.
is a community-wide reading program that encourages everyone to read a specific book and attend special events and discussions related to the book. Humanities Tennessee partners on the event with the Office of the Mayor and the Nashville Public Library.
Standing Together in Tennessee
uses the humanities to foster Tennessee veterans' communication of their experiences of war and homecoming as well as civilians' deeper understanding of those experiences.
Chapter 16
is an online literary publication of Humanities Tennessee and the State's virtual Center for the Book. The site hosts daily content including book reviews, statewide literary events calendars, and author Q&As.
  * Humanities Tennessee is the state's official Center for the Book, as designated by the Library of Congress.