Vermont Humanities

First Wednesdays Events

A person in a kayak rowing on a lake in front of a rock face with green folaige on it
First Wednesdays

Free talks held at public libraries around Vermont on the first Wednesday of the month, October through May.

Please note that talks flagged as Digital Event or Hybrid Event may require advance registration.

Upcoming First Wednesdays Events

Two men huddle to one side of a train car while another looks on in surprise
Digital Event

Suspicious Minds: Conspiracy Theory Explained

Cultural critic Mark Dery delves deep into the history, causes, and current proliferation of conspiracy theories. He explores their appeal, social media’s role in spreading them, and the threat they pose to democracy and to the very notions of objective fact and nonpartisan truth. 

A man in a red kayak rows on lake champlain
Digital Event

The Making of “No Other Lake”

In 2021, UVM student Jordan Rowell kayaked the 120-mile length of Lake Champlain. Over a two-week journey, Rowell and local filmmaker Duane Peterson conducted interviews to better understand the challenges facing the lake and to explore our relationship with natural resources in the era of climate change. The pair shares excerpts from their short documentary film and discusses its creation.

A group of animated characters walk through a snowy landscape
Digital Event

Adapting Traditional Stories into Mainstream Literature

Indigenous people have shared stories to pass down knowledge, ways of living, traditions, and ceremonies for thousands of years. Author David A. Robertson examines his middle grade fiction fantasy novels, The Misewa Saga, and discusses what role traditional stories played in the development of the series. He explains how he honored the richness, intent, and themes of those original stories. 

A document sits on the pavement and the headline reads IMMIGRATION
Digital Event

“The Other Side of Hope:” Films About Immigration

Filmmakers have tackled issues of displacement, discrimination, exploitation, and assimilation in movies like The Other Side of Hope (Syrians in Finland) and Dirty Pretty Things (West Africans in London.) Film history expert Rick Winston shares clips from fifteen works that address one of the most pressing issues of our times. 

Soldiers and sailors statue in Barre, Vermont
Digital Event

Are Your City’s Monuments Worthy? Take the Quiz!

Many communities recently have questioned the value of long-standing monuments. These debates can strike at the heart of history and memory. Seeking dialogue instead of a shouting match, author Raffi Andonian suggests four simple questions for communities to consider as they evaluate historic sites, famous figures, and public monuments. 

a balck and white photo of men wearing hats heaving hay into a wagon
Digital Event

Haymaking, Barns, and Farm Memories

In his book The Haymakers: A Chronicle of Five Farm Families, Steven Hoffbeck shows that haymaking was more than just harvesting grass, alfalfa, and clover. It was about toil, fears, and the fragile nature of human life. Anyone who grew up on a farm—or wishes they had grown up on a farm—will enjoy the insights and humor of this multimedia presentation. 

An Arizona street with tents lined along each side
Digital Event

What is Trauma Informed Journalism?

Journalist and activist Lori Yearwood explores what it means to be a trauma-informed journalist when reporting on difficult topics. Having experienced homelessness herself, she suggests key ideas to keep in mind as journalists engage with populations who face dire situations and systemic poverty. 

a volunteer conservationist hold hula hoops and stands in a forest wearing a mask
Digital Event

Biodiversity, Conservation, and Civic Participation in Paraguay

South America’s Atlantic Forest is one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet. Cristian Fretes Ojeda, technical trainer for Peace Corps Paraguay, discusses how civic participation is leading the effort to conserve crucial natural areas like the Atlantic Forest and the Gran Chaco, which span several South American countries. 

a group of workers stand facing a farm while holding shoulders
Digital Event

Youth in Agriculture: Why It Matters

Greenagers engages young adults in environmental conservation, sustainable farming, and natural resource management. Sarah Monteiro from the Massachusetts non-profit reflects on the importance of getting youth involved in environmental and agricultural industries. 

Cover of The People's Tongue with red and blue like the United States flag
Digital Event

The People’s Tongue: Americans and the English Language

Longtime First Wednesdays favorite Ilan Stavans discusses his new book, an anthology that tells the story of how the English language has been transformed in the United States. The People’s Tongue features essays, letters, poems, songs, speeches, stories, jeremiads, manifestos, and decrees across history, from Sojourner Truth and Abraham Lincoln to Henry Roth and Zora Neale Hurston and beyond.

Vermont Humanities*** December 9, 2021