Become a Speaker
Travel Washington sharing ideas and starting conversations in communities big and small. Join Speakers Bureau!
What is Speakers Bureau?
Humanities Washington’s longest-running and most popular program, Speakers Bureau provides communities with experts and scholars who give public humanities presentations across the state. Speakers Bureau presenters discuss topics as diverse as the communities they serve, ranging from history to politics, music, philosophy, and everything in between. Our roster of presenters are chosen not only for their expertise, but for their ability to inspire discussion with people of all ages and backgrounds. Speakers Bureau presenters collectively deliver hundreds of events each year.
To reach as many Washingtonians as possible, we partner with a wide range of organizations, including libraries, schools, museums, historical societies, retirement homes, community centers, and civic organizations. These organizations select which Speakers they are interested in hosting, then apply to Humanities Washington to receive funding for the event. If approved, hosts receive funding, resources, and one-on-one support from staff to hold a successful event. All talks are free and open to the public.
If you are passionate about a subject, sharing your expertise with a wide variety of audiences can be both exciting and meaningful. From urban libraries to rural community centers, Speakers Bureau programs let you speak to and hear from audiences of diverse geographic, cultural, educational, and experiential backgrounds. Speakers Bureau programs, particularly in rural areas, often have the energy of a community event, making them different from a typical lecture at a college or university. Through Speakers Bureau, you can connect with audiences different than a typical university and contribute to the cultural health of small communities.
Speakers receive $300 per presentation, and get to explore our beautiful state on a flexible schedule (Speakers determine their own schedules in coordination with hosts) while getting travel reimbursed and direct support from Humanities Washington.
“I cannot say enough good things about this presentation! This was one of the best programs we’ve offered here; the quality was top notch and the impact was great.”
-Speakers Bureau Host, Battle Ground
Who are the presenters?
Speakers Bureau presenters have the following qualifications:
- Expertise with the subject matter of your proposed presentation. This can include formal academic study, stature as a cultural leader within your community, book writing or journalism, or other significant and varied experience.
- Demonstrated success in working with public audiences
- Ability to work well with culturally, economically, and geographically diverse audiences
- Interest in, ability, and willingness to travel to communities across the state
Speakers Bureau presenters apply with one topic that they are passionate and experienced in discussing with public audiences. Topics should be relevant to Washington State audiences and based in the humanities. For inspiration and ideas, you can view our current Speakers Bureau presenters.
How to Apply
Humanities Washington seeks new speakers every two years in a competitive process overseen by a statewide review committee and Humanities Washington staff. We will open the online application process in Winter 2020 for the next Speakers Bureau roster. Selected applicants will participate in an audition and orientation process in Summer 2020. Selected speakers will join the Speakers Bureau from January 2021 – December 2022. More details will be provided here in early 2020.
We encourage you to brainstorm potential topics that connect to the humanities and are relevant to diverse audiences in Washington State. Interactive models that include group discussion, workshops, participatory activities, and other forms of collaborative engagement are highly preferred.
In the meantime, you can view last cycle’s application materials here (materials are subject to change):
Contact Speakers Bureau program manager, Hannah Schwendeman, with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-682-1770 ext. 101.