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Mellon grant will strengthen humanities programs

A $500,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will enable the Willson Center for Humanities and Arts to expand its Global Georgia Initiative, a public humanities program in place since 2013:

In its first six years, the Global Georgia Initiative has engaged the humanities and arts in exploring global issues of public concern in a diversity of local contexts, serving audiences at UGA and throughout the Athens community. Programs have featured guests from five continents on topics from Chinese film and literature to journalism in the American South, and from hyperlocal agriculture and manufacturing to pan-African cultural criticism.

The expansion of the initiative focuses on three areas: connecting its visiting speaker programs to curricular and experiential learning activities at UGA; bolstering existing off-campus public humanities collaborations; and instituting a statewide symposium for the humanities.


Two of the Global Georgia Initiative’s speaker programs will be produced with input from proposals by UGA faculty, integrating the programs with coursework and involving UGA students in archival research and public engagement.

Global Georgia will also now support public humanities programs built by the Willson Center with public school systems and other partners in three locations: Sapelo Island, Putnam County and UGA’s home of Athens-Clarke County. The grant will strengthen the university’s engagement with these communities by providing research internships, travel funding and other resources.

The Willson Center is an engine for creative research and support in the humanities and arts on campus. Among its many programs, the Global Georgia Initiative brings leading thinkers and artists to campus, strengthening a dynamic that propels the university and the richness of the campus community learning environment. Great news about this significant new support from the Mellon Foundation, and congratulations to the many Franklin faculty who lead and collaborate in Willson Center programs. 

Image: Designer and sustainable fashion entrepreneur Natalie “Alabama” Chanin holds a sewing workshop for UGA students and Athens community members in the Lamar Dodd School of Art. 

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