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Mellon Grant for the Arts and Humanities

Mikhail Shiskin Reading

Mikhail Shishkin Maidenhair Reading at Swarthmore College. April 2018.

Photo credit. José Vergara

When we meet in society, if we have not learned to . . . [imagine] in one another inner faculties of thought and emotion, democracy is bound to fail, because democracy is built upon respect and concern, and these in turn are built upon the ability to see other people as human beings, not simply as objects.

~ Martha Nussbaum, Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities

In 2018, the Office of the President received a 3-year grant in the amount of $100,000 to support initiatives that explore the power of the arts and humanities to engage the imagination and enable communication across different viewpoints, experiences, and perspectives. Members of the Swarthmore community were invited to propose projects that use the shared creation or experience of works of artistic or humanistic expression to cultivate a common understanding of our shared humanity. This program was created in order  to support our efforts to build a more inclusive community, where people learn to engage fruitfully with those who are different from themselves.  In addition, it was created to raise the profile of the arts and humanities on campus by fostering discussion of the importance of these disciplines. Projects included, but were not limited to, storytelling, lecture series, book discussions, film discussions, artists’ visits, collaborative art projects, original performances, transportation to galleries or museums. Each project had the potential to receive up to $10,000 in funding.

The grant supported 18 projects across campus, proposed by students, faculty and staff members.