About The Democratic Lens
CENTER is pleased to announce that the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded us the necessary funding to implement a new discussion series, The Democratic Lens: Photography and Civic Engagement, in 2022-23. With the generous support of the NEH, CENTER will produce a series of public lectures and discussions exploring the historical relationship between photography and civic engagement. We honor our role among the selected projects across the country, focusing on the history of America’s democracy.
The Democratic Lens series includes six sections, each with a corresponding humanities theme, historical era, and selection of contributing scholars. In alignment with the NEH Special Initiative’s “A More Perfect Union” theme, scholars will present photographs that connect audiences to the diverse cultures, landscapes, histories, and individuals who collectively shaped the nation. The Democratic Lens will prioritize underrepresented histories to emphasize the diversity of the citizenry. With interviews, essays, and lectures featuring scholars representing key voices in the field, we will present accounts that illustrate the challenges our country has endured and the stories of how Americans have worked together to overcome them.
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The Democratic Lens: Photography and Civic Engagement discussion series is made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: democracy demands wisdom. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the interviews, essays, lectures, programs, reports, and website do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
CENTER is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization founded in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 1994 that supports socially and environmentally engaged lens-based projects through education, public platforms, funding, and partnerships. For 30 years, CENTER has helped visual storytellers across the globe reach audiences with their mission-driven projects.
CENTER creates platforms where the creative impulse can be engaged and challenged. By establishing trans-disciplinary partnerships between artists and justice-driven communities, historians, cultural critics, students, and the art world, we honor our unique role in advancing projects that respect all people, open minds, and engage our shared humanity.