Humanitini Curator Guide

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Program: Humanitini

Brief Description

Panel-driven, moderated conversation that takes place in bars and restaurants. Contemporary topics are discussed from unique, innovative, humanities-focused perspectives.


Core Elements

  • Exciting, fresh, and pointed topic
  • 2-to-3-person panel curated around the topic
  • Skilled moderator
  • Brief panelist introductions
  • Audience inclusive conversation
  • Takes place during happy hour in bars or restaurants with bars

Program Goals

  • Introduce thought-provoking, intellectually stimulating conversation to the city’s after-work, happy hour scene.
  • Bring innovative ideas and concepts to Washington, DC audiences. Give bar-goers something to think and converse with one another about that they may never have considered before.
  • Increase the visibility of the HumanitiesDC brand.
  • Bring new people, especially younger Washingtonians, into contact with HumanitiesDC.
  • Cultivate relationships with scholars, experts, business owners, and others who may be able to contribute to the work of HumanitiesDC.

Topic Criteria

  • Contemporary and relatable; will allow immediate audience engagement
  • Innovative or able to be viewed from a fresh perspective
  • Grounded in one or more published or publicly available works
  • Can be summed up in a one-or-two-sentence thesis statement or research question.
  • Will attract an audience
  • Appropriate in tone for happy hour in a bar
  • Suggests clear and appropriate panel prospects

Panelist Recruitment

  • Every panelist should be able to speak to the topic as it has been described to the public. The topic should define which panelists are approached; the selection of panelists should not define a topic.
  • Each panelists should have a unique perspective on the topic.
  • Additional recruitment criteria:
    • Author or creator of one of the published or publicly available works upon which the top is based
    • Ability to draw and audience
    • Name recognitions
    • Synergy with another HumanitiesDC program or grant
    • Excellent speaking and presentation skills

Estimated List of Production Tasks

Completed One or Two Months Before the Program

  1. Confirm a date and location for the event.
  2. Confirm all panelists and moderator.
  3. Generate a one-to-two-paragraph public statement describing the program and what audience members can expect.
  4. Generate a question list for the moderator.
  5. Execute promotion and audience building strategy.

At Least Two Weeks Before the Program

  1. Organize a conference call with panelists and moderators. Use Doodle to ensure participation. Explain to panelists what the audience should get out of the conversation. Go over question list.
  2. Visit venue in advance of program.
  3. Recruit volunteers and assign roles if necessary.
  4. Create a PDF of a printed program that clearly identifies the program as a “Humanitini” and it is “a program of HumanitiesDC.” Send to HumanitiesDC for approval and printing.
  5. Prepare all necessary equipment and handouts.

Day of Program

  1. Check package required décor, handouts, printed programs, branded materials, and equipment.
  2. Arrive with materials and volunteers 1 hour before advertised start time.
  3. Arrange furniture and test AV setup.
  4. Decorate the space.
  5. Greet panelists as they arrive and remind them of the run-of-show
  6. Distribute handouts and programs to audience.
  7. Moderator begins the program.
  8. Estimate total audience members.
  9. Hand out survey forms.
  10. Collect survey forms.
  11. Pack up materials.


  1. Moderator welcomes audience on behalf of HumanitiesDC, describes what makes a Humanitini unique, and encourages the audience to be prepared to ask questions during that part of the program.
  2. Moderator introduces panel by name and affiliation.
  3. Panelists describe their background and how it is connected to the topic; each gets 5 minutes, and they should be fully aware of this well before the program.
  4. Moderator alternates between questioning the panel, taking questions from the audience, and asking the audience questions.
  5. Panelists each add 2-3 minute final thought.
  6. Moderator closes program by encouraging the audience to continue to engage with HumantiesDC and announcing the next Humantini when possible.
  7. Panelists may opt to circulate among the audience to continue conversations.

After Program

  1. Return survey forms, curator/fellow evaluation, and materials to HDC.
  2. Fellows submit a final financial report accounting for the non-stipend portion of their fellowship award.

Visual Identity at Event

  • Tablecloth with HDC and Humanitini logo
  • Branded banner or foamcore board behind the panelists
  • Reusable table-tents at each table
  • Logo and topic displayed on any available TV screens
  • Signage at restaurant entrance