Arts and culture today must mean more than wine and cheese -- and must increasingly engage a diverse range of people and communities. Civic reflection is one approach to the arts and humanities that can help transform programs at museums, libraries, arts organizations, and state humanities councils into participatory and engaged discussions that bridge the gap between the arts and humanities, and civic life.
No longer mere repositories of books and information, libraries and museums are becoming hubs of civic engagement and “community living rooms” – places where people come together to discuss the issues affecting their communities and the world.
The Center for Civic Reflection has worked with state humanities councils across the country to explore and refine the practice of civic reflection, train facilitators and guide programming around this practice, and, ultimately, continue exploring how to put the humanities into practice.
Libraries are ideally situated to nurture... democratic practices. Libraries are open to all; they contain books and other materials that can provide people with a common experience and vocabulary... Libraries, which are often seen as products of democracy, can also be seen as engines of democracy, as places where people go to engage with one another and to begin making a difference.
Director, Center for Civic Reflection
I will take away the idea that life... is extremely complex. Every side has important points to make and it is important to listen to one another... Being American doesn't just mean being born here.
New Hampshire Humanities Council Conversation Series
Civic reflection at its best is infused with this spirit of critical generosity. It is a process that acknowledges that we need one another to unmask prejudices that inform our beliefs and also to share our inspirations.