Member News, Mellon Foundation, Grants

Willson Center at the University of Georgia Awarded Mellon Foundation Grant for Global Georgia Initiative

The Willson Center at the University of Georgia is expanding its Global Georgia Initiative thanks to a $500,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The ppublic humanities program, which brings leading artists and thinkers to Georgia, has been 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.

Nicholas Allen, Franklin Professor of English and Willson Center director, is the founder of the Global Georgia Initiative and principal investigator. “The idea of a Global Georgia resonates with all kinds of people and enables discussion of complex subjects such as the environment, migration and public memory, by framing our conversations in comparative contexts,” he said. “At the same time, it gestures towards the complex local experiences of our students and of our citizens, experiences that are often the first entry point to the practice of the humanities at large.”