Become a Speaker
*Application is due in one week! View our resources below to learn more.*
Travel Washington sharing ideas and starting conversations in communities big and small. Join Speakers Bureau!
What is Speakers Bureau?
Humanities Washington’s 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.
“Conversations with participants have been fun and informative, and folks tell me they are leaving with more questions than answers. Thank you Humanities Washington for providing me this most beautiful platform to connect and engage with Washingtonians I’d never meet in my regular life!”
-Speakers Bureau Presenter
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
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. Interactive models that include group discussion, workshops, participatory activities, and other forms of collaborative engagement are highly preferred.
Speakers Bureau presenters apply with one specific 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.
- The topic and focus must be based in the humanities. The humanities – including history, literature, philosophy, ethics, law, and other fields of inquiry –are the ideas, questions and disciplines that help us document and interpret the world around us. They provide a framework for examining how we think, what we value, and what it means to be human. Utilizing stories in your presentation is one excellent way to incorporate the humanities into your presentation.
- Presentations can focus on other disciplines, such as the arts or the sciences, are encouraged, but they must involve fundamental questions of the humanities. We do not support “how-to” or professional development workshops through this program.
- The content deepens people’s understanding of topics presented and welcomes diverse perspectives on that topic.
- The topic is relevant and of interest to communities around Washington State.
- The presentation prioritizes audience participation and interaction.
Learn more about the application process at our resources below.
- February 4: Online application opens
- March 16: Webinar for applicants
- April 8: Online application deadline
- May: Applicants notified
- June: Video auditions for selected applicants
Humanities Washington hosted an online webinar for interested applicants on March 16. The webinar includes an overview of our Speakers Bureau program, tips for a great application, and more about how to become a speaker. You can view the recorded webinar or view the presentation slides.
Contact Speakers Bureau program manager, Hannah Schwendeman, with any questions at email@example.com or 206-682-1770 ext. 101.