Public Humanities

What is Public Humanities
What is Public Humanities?
The public humanities field involves actively engaging diverse audiences with heritage, traditions, and history while acknowledging the significance of the Humanities in today's cultural and civic context. The Fulbright Commission in Israel is dedicated to advancing and protecting these disciplines, with a focus on their pivotal role in Israel's economic, civil, research, and cultural landscape. Our initiative aims to prepare and nurture the next generation of capable leaders for public, community, and private institutions.

PH conf - Nides
First Public Humanities Conference raises issues such as relevance and creativity and their importance to vital aspects of life in Israel
The first Public Humanities conference, a joint venture of Fulbright Israel and Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design took place in Jerusalem yesterday, May 17.
Around 180 people, including Fulbright fellows and alumni, Academics, and representatives of cultural and academic institutions as well as participants from government and the third sector came to discuss relevance, creativity, and the humanities, and their great importance to civil, cultural, economic, and academic life in Israel.

U.S. Ambassador Thomas Nides opened the event, together with the president of Bezalel, Professor Adi Stern.

During her opening lecture, guest speaker, Nina Simon discussed relevant art pertaining to museums and other public institutions.
The day continued with additional lectures and workshops, that linked theory and academic skills to practice and between creativity and humanities to technology and economics.

Thank you to Dr. Tal Rippa and Rotem Ruff our partners at Bezalel.
Our gratitude also goes to the U.S. Embassy Jerusalem and especially to the team in the Department of Public Diplomacy.

Photo: Shlomi Yosef
Nina Simone - PH conf 2023
Nina Simon gives inspirational talk on being relevant, at the joint Fulbright Israel and Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design Public Humanities Conference
Nina Simon described as a “museum visionary” opened the first Public Humanities Conference, initiated by Fulbright Israel and Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem in May, Being relevant, she said, is the key to success. It starts by asking who are the audiences or the communities I really care about and what do they value. Because, she said, we can’t say “we exist for everyone,” if the people coming in the door do not look like everyone in our community.

Nina discussed relevant art pertaining to museums and other public institutions and how, as the Executive Director of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, she led an institutional turnaround based on grassroots community participation. The participants were particularly moved by Nina’s account of her project working with foster children, who were paired up with artists for a year, so as to present their personal stories through exhibits. The children initiated, curated, developed and guided the exhibition that, as stated by one of the children, was about, from and for them. This was the most viewed exhibition ever seen at the museum and each of the children established long-lasting ties with other community members.

Nina has spent over twenty years as an exhibit designer, museum director, nonprofit CEO, mentor and advocate for community participation in the arts and is also the author of several books.
PH conf 1
PH conf 2
PH conf 3
Tal Rippa
Adi Stern, Amb. Anat