Community Conversations

Each year, Indiana Humanities and the Bowen Center for Public Affairs at Ball State University hold a Community Conversations series designed to help communities tackle challenging issues. The focus of the  series for 2014 and 2015 will be Bicentennial 2016: The Next Indiana.

Over the past five years more than 25 Indiana regions have been selected to participate in the series, which is aimed at helping the community build on its strengths and meet its challenges.

Stay tuned for details on the 2014 application process.

Selected regions, lead partners and topics for 2013 included:

Evansville. Historic Southern Indiana, a heritage-based program out of the University of Southern Indiana, will examine the city’s history and work with cross-disciplinary groups to revitalize center city neighborhoods.

Hamilton County. Hamilton County Tourism, Inc. seeks to lead a meaningful cross-county conversation about how Hamilton County’s heritage can be preserved and presented for the future.

La Porte. The La Porte Historic Preservation Commission will use this opportunity to discuss best practices for historic towns to revitalize in the 21st century.

Lawrence County. The Lawrence County Economic Growth Council will lead a conversation to celebrate its past and present and identify its path to the future.

The goals of the Community Conversations will be to:

  • Convene regional conversations among community leaders and citizens from public, private and non-profit sectors to better understand the community’s past and future;
  • Evaluate possible solutions for addressing community challenges and discuss best practices;
  • Provide regions with access to resources, technology, and expertise in the creation of solutions to regional problems;
  • Provide ongoing consultation to continue to address these challenges.

The workshops vary by community and audience. They are typically a one-day workshop that spans several hours, beginning in the morning and concluding in mid-afternoon.  However, they can also be a two-hour event with a keynote speaker, a mobile bus tour, or anything in between. A nominal fee can be charged to participants to cover the cost of meals and materials. The cost of the speakers, planning and promotion will be covered by the Bowen Center for Public Affairs, Indiana Humanities, and event sponsors. After the workshops, The Bowen Center for Public Affairs will provide additional consultation as requested.

In 2012, communities selected were: Dubois County, Elkhart County, Kosciusko County, Wayne County and the 20-County Trenton Gas Dome region.

Indiana Humanities connects people, opens minds and enriches lives by creating and facilitating programs that encourage Hoosiers to think, read and talk.