Wisconsin Idea

“The Wisconsin Idea is the principle that the university should improve people’s lives beyond the classroom”
–The Wisconsin Idea website

The Wisconsin Idea is one of the things that most attracted me to my job in Madison. I’m passionate about public humanities opportunities, especially opportunities that allow me to mentor students as they learn to take personal ownership of The Wisconsin Idea.

These are the two public outreach projects I’m most excited about right now:

Holding History

“Mentoring-driven public engagement” is the simple–but powerful–approach that guides Holding History. “Student Curators” are the points of contact with public audiences, and my co-director, Sarah Marty and I (along with a host of guest scholars and public thinkers) mentor these students as they learn public engagement skills. At its core, Holding History is the Wisconsin Idea in action: the event not only welcomes public audiences into the university’s Special Collections, but also provides a forum for training students to share their knowledge and the resources of the campus with our broader community.

For more information, visit the Holding History web site or visit our Facebook page.

Shakespeare in Wisconsin

2016 is officially the Year of Shakespeare in Wisconsin! In November 2016, to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, the Folger Shakespeare Library will send a copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio to the University of Wisconsin-Madison. For more information, see this UW-Madison news article or visit “The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare” site hosted by the Folger Library.

Departments across the University are collaborating to offer some amazing public programming around the First Folio. Jonathan Senchyne (School of Library & Information Studies) and I will be co-teaching an exciting course called “Shakespeare & Media” in Fall 2016. On November 3rd, I’ll give the keynote lecture at the Chazen for the Exhibit Opening.

Student Curators invite public audiences to leaf through 16th C books as part of a Holding History event (Photo: Rick Marolt)

Student Curators invite public audiences to leaf through 16th C books as part of a Holding History event (Photo: Rick Marolt)