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Featured Programs

City Council Meeting: Performed Participatory Democracy in Keene

The Redfern Arts Center at Keene State College is spearheading a unique project that will explore civic engagement through a variety of programs. The goal of the project is to put a performative frame around bureaucracy, and put adversaries into the same artistic space. The project will open with an exhibit at the Keene Public Library titled Engage! Picturing America through Civic Engagement beginning on Monday, October 6 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. and running through October 27 in the library's Kay Fox Meeting Room.

A public talk on The Connection Between Creativity and Civic Engagement will take place on Sunday, October 12 at 2 p.m. at Keene Public Library's Heberton Hall at 60 Winter St. Aaron Landsman and Mallory Catlett will lead this exploration of the civic self, the performed self, and the dramaturgy of local government meetings. The talk will include slides and video from City Council Meeting performances in four US cities, as well as stories from the creative process in each.

The Redfern Arts Center will host The Long Table: A Public Dinner Party and Forum on Presentation of Self on Monday October 13 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the Arts Center's Main Theatre. Brian Kanouse will lead the discussion. Conceived by artist Lois Weaver, The Long Table is an open-ended improvisatory conversation set in a public space through which participants can select and alter their participation in a formal conversation. Taking on a dinner table atmosphere – participatory, theatrical and unique – the event will invite college students and community members from the Keene area to engage in discussion surrounding how we come to construct and perform our social and self-identities within the public sphere. For more information, contact Sharon Fantl at or 358-2167.

Rebecca Rule will present Moved and Seconded: Town Meeting in New Hampshire on Wednesday, October 15 at 7 p.m. at Heberton Hall. Drawing on research from her book, Moved and Seconded: Town Meeting in New Hampshire, the Present, the Past, and the Future, Rebecca Rule regales audiences with stories of the rituals, traditions and history of town meeting, including the perennial characters, the literature, the humor, and the wisdom of this uniquely New England institution.

On Tuesday, October 21 the Keene State College Debate Club will lead a discussion on The Role of Students as Local Citizens at 6 p.m. at the Putman Science Center at Keene State. This Keene State Debate Club-led event will focus on the questions of engaged citizenry, and the role of students in the processes of civic engagement. The will engage in a conversation about the roles temporary citizens can play in the life of their adopted city. The debate students will first discuss their experiences within the American Democracy Project as well as on campus at Keene State College. This will be followed by an open forum in which other students and community members will be invited to share their own experiences and insights. What are strategies for giving students a greater sense of agency, responsibility and collaboration in the life of Keene? Should students think beyond their time at college? How can the life of the college and the life of the city intersect more seamlessly?

Community members, students and the artists to take part in City Council Meeting will have an open dress rehearsal on Tuesday, October 28 at 7 p.m. at Heberton Hall. Project organizers and artists will also be on hand to talk about the process and answer questions.

The main event, City Council Meeting: Performed Participatory Democracy, will take place on Wednesday, October 29 at 7 p.m. at Heberton Hall. Created in a yearlong residency in Keene with New York artists Aaron Landsman, Mallory Catlett and Jim Findlay in collaboration with the Keene Public Library, City Council Meeting is performed participatory democracy, local government fi ltered through the lens of art, and performed by the audience. Come and be a part of live democracy in action. A public discussion and debriefi ng will conclude the project on Thursday, October 30 at 6 p.m. at the Keene Public Library. The discussion, led by Brian Kanouse, will focus on the direct experiences that performers underwent during the preparation, rehearsal and performance of City Council Meeting. As a debriefing, this conversational-style engagement will look to pull insights, critiques and humorous recollections out of each individual present.

Learn more on the project website.

Series will explore New Hampshire and the Revolutionary War

The Humanities Council has awarded a grant to White Mountains Community College's Fortier Library, the Gorham Public Library, and the Berlin Public Library for a discussion series on New Hampshire and the Revolutionary War. The project includes lectures, a book discussion, and a living history presentation.

The first event in the four-part series took place on Wednesday, August 20 at 6 p.m. at the Fortier Library when Martha Schmidt Blaine, Plymouth State University, offered a talk titled Trading Partners or Enemies? New Englanders and the Revolution.

George Morrison will lead a discussion of Nathaniel Philbrick's Bunker Hill on Wednesday, September 17 at 6 p.m. Gwendolyn Quezaire-Presutti will present a living history program on Ona Judge Staines, a young woman who escaped slavery in George Washington's household with the help of Portsmouth's citizenry, on Wednesday, October 15 at 6 p.m. for the general public, with a repeat performance the next morning for the students of Gorham Middle-High School. The final discussion, led by Marcia Schmidt Blaine and titled New Hampshire Voices from the Revolution, will wrap up the series on Wednesday, November 19 at 6 p.m.

All four of the evening programs are free and open to the public and will be held at the Fortier Library at White Mountains Community College. Copies of Bunker Hill are available for loan at all three libraries. For more information, contact the Berlin Public Library at 752-5210, WMCC Fortier Library at 342-3086, or the Gorham Public Library at 466-2525.

The Refugees of Shangri-La explores the experiences of Bhutanese immigrants

In the last five years more than 75,000 Bhutanese refugees have been resettled in the United States. New Hampshire is home to 1,700 of them. How are our new neighbors navigating the extraordinary leap from their lives in refugee camps in Nepal to their new lives in America?

The World Affairs Council of New Hampshire will host three film showings and discussions around the state featuring The Refugees of Shangri-La: Exploring Modern Immigration and Identity, a documentary that explores these questions directed by New Hampshire residents Doria Bramante and Markus Weinfurter. The documentary provides historical background on the humanitarian conflict that has left 1/6th of Bhutan's population nationless. The film follows a group of Bhutanese families from the refugee camps in Nepal to their new homes in the Granite State.

The Humanities Council has awarded a grant to the World Affairs Council for three screenings of the film beginning next month. Each screening of the hour-long film will be followed by a discussion facilitated by Sara Withers, Lecturer in Anthropology at UNH. The discussion will explore issues such as immigration, racism, ethnocentrism, and questions of identity through the lens of the refugees' story. The film knits together international and local issues while also serving as a mirror, allowing attendees to examine their own roots and cultural identity.

The first screening will be held in Nashua on Wednesday, September 17 at 7 p.m. at Nashua Community College. The second showing will take place on Wednesday, October 22 at 7 p.m. at the Belknap Mill, 25 Beacon St. in Laconia. The final showing will take place on Wednesday, November 12 at 7 p.m. at the Congregational Church, 21 Front St. in Exeter. All events are free and open to the public. For the most updated information, please visit the World Affairs Council of NH website or call Elyse Harris at 314-7970.

Making Sense of the Civil War book and film series begins in September

The Humanities Council has awarded a grant to the Wadleigh Memorial Library in Milford for a lecture and film series based on the Making Sense of the Civil War project created by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The lectures will take place at the library over four Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. beginning on October 1 and continuing on October 8, 15, and 29.

Books in the series include March, Geraldine Brooks reimagining of the war experiences of the patriarch of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women family; Crossroads of Freedom: Antietam by James McPherson, and America's War: Talking About the Civil War and Emancipation on their 150th Anniversaries, an anthology of historical fiction, speeches, diaries, memoirs, biography and short stories edited by Edward Ayers.

Film showings and discussions will be held on Friday, October 3 at 2 p.m. when Glory will be screened; and on Wednesday, October 22 at 6:30 p.m. when Steven Spielberg's Oscar-winner Lincoln will be shown and discussed.

Denise Askin, St. Anselm College, will lead the discussions. Copies of the books are available to borrow from Wadleigh Memorial Library. The series is free and open to all, but registration is strongly suggested. For more information, contact the library at 249-0645 or visit their website.

Along the River: Exploring Community Connections traces the impact of our rivers

How do we use our rivers — for transportation, industry, recreation? How have we shaped our rivers, and how do they shape our towns?

The Humanities Council has awarded a grant to the Hopkinton Historical Society for Along the River: Exploring Community Connections, a collaborative project that will examine how communities use the Contoocook River and the ways the river has influenced the development of the communities along its path.

The Hopkinton Historical Society is partnering with a number of community organizations on the project, including the Bradford Historical Society, the Little Nature Museum, Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum, the NH Telephone Museum, and the Bradford, Penacook, Sutton and Warner Historical Societies.

An Along the River exhibit opened at the Hopkinton Historical Society in May and will run through the summer. Exhibits are also planned at the partner sites. Accompanying the exhibits will be a series of programs, concerts, hands-on demonstrations, a canoe/kayak trip, and a living history presentation.

For a complete list of programs planned through fall, visit the project website.


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