Starting this October, the Chicago Humanities Festival brings the world’s best and brightest humanists together to examine and celebrate the humanities. The mission of the festival is to create opportunities for all Chicago citizens to explore the humanities. Access to cultural, artistic and educational opportunities is necessary for a thriving civic environment.
The Chicago Humanities Festival is devoted to making the humanities a vital and vibrant aspect of daily life. Diverse audiences come together, fostering collaboration and dialogue that provide life and support to the humanities. The Chicago Humanities Festival showcases the riches of the world’s cultures and draws international attention to the importance of the humanities.
The first festival took place on November 11, 1990 at the Art Institute of Chicago and Orchestra Hall. This program included a memorable keynote address by playwright Arthur Miller, initiating one of Chicago’s most culturally rich annual events. The Chicago Humanities Festival began as a dream shared by a determined group of Chicago’s civic and cultural leaders who sought to extend the riches of the humanities to all who benefit – everyone.
Each year since, Chicago Humanities Festival has brought together some of the world’s most exciting novelists, poets, scholars, musicians, historians, artists, performers, playwrights, policy makers and more to offer performances and discussions on universal themes. From established talents to emerging humanists, the performers and speakers explore human themes of love, war, peace and thinking big.
Presented in partnership with some of Chicago’s premier cultural institutions, and produced in some of Chicago’s most remarkable public and performance spaces, the festival has become an annual highlight for thousands of people from Chicago and beyond.
The 2011 Chicago Humanities Festival includes an incredible list of Festival Presenters. A few notable presenters include:
Laurie Anderson is an influential American experimental performance artist, composer and musician who plays violin and keyboards and sings in a variety of experimental music and art rock styles. Anderson is a pioneer in electronic music and has invented several devices that she has used in her performance art shows. In 1977, she created a tape-bow violin that uses recorded magnetic tape on the bow instead of horsehair and a magnetic tape head in the bridge. In the late 1990s, she developed a talking stick, a six-foot-long batonlikw MIDI controller that can access and replicate different sounds.
Jared Diamond is respected author of the Pulitzer Prize winning Guns, Germs and Steel and Collapse. His lectures present a deeper and more nuanced view of the development of human civilization and the global gap between the rich and poor community. Diamond tackles questions such as: How can humanity maximize the opportunity for human happiness while saving the planet from ecological ruin and collapse? Currently a professor of geography at UCLA, Diamond has received a MacArthur Genius Grant and the National Medal of Science, America’s highest civilian award in science.
Jonathan Franzen is the author of the novels The Twenty-Seventh City (1988), Strong Motion (1992), and The Corrections (2001) as well as a collection of essays. Franzen’s honors include a Whiting Writer’s Award in 1988, a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1996, and the American Academy’s Berlin Prize in 2000. He is a frequent contributor of essays and journalism to The New Yorker, and his nonfiction has appeared in Best American Essays 2002, 2004, and 2005. Franzen was born near Chicago, and now lives in New York City and Boulder Creek, California.
Sylvia Nasar is the author of the bestselling biography, A Beautiful Mind, which has been published in 30 languages and inspired the Academy Award-winning movie (2001). Nasar grew up in Germany and Turkey, and was trained as an economist. She received her B.A. in literature from Antioch College and her M.A. in economics from New York University. Nasar has worked as a New York Times economics correspondent, staff writer at Fortune and columnist at U.S. News & World Report. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Newsweek, The New York Times Sunday Book Review and numerous other publications.
Stephen Joshua Sondheim is an American composer and lyricist for stage and screen, winner of an Academy Award, multiple Tony Awards, multiple Grammy Awards, and a Pulitzer Prize. His most famous scores as composer and lyricist include A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Company, Follies, and Assassins. He wrote the lyrics to West Side Story and Gypsy.
Emmaline Niendorf is an Integrated Marketing Associate with Otherwise Incorporated.