Press Release

Illinois Humanities Speakers Bureau to Bring Humanities Programs to Communities Across Illinois

Presentations on topics ranging from the histories of antislavery and universal suffrage to the music of the civil rights movement and Latinx hip hop among programs offered

CONTACT: Ned Schaub, / 312-533-1514

CHICAGO, January, 11, 2021 – Illinois Humanities announced today the 2021-2022 Road Scholars Speakers Bureau Roster of 28 presenters from across the state with expertise in history, storytelling, music, performance, philosophy, and other areas. Presenters were selected through a competitive process and will bring dynamic public programs to communities throughout Illinois.

Road Scholars hail from across the state and offer presentations on history, philosophy, literature, theater, film, music, politics, and other subjects designed to foster curiosity and civic engagement. Nine presentations are being offered in Spanish and two in Mandarin. “Our Scholars are extremely committed to making the humanities accessible,” said executive director Gabrielle Lyon. “These free-spirited performances, inspiring lectures, and thoughtful discussions give people a chance to come together locally to explore ideas about our state’s people and our shared world.”

Since 1997, the Illinois Humanities Road Scholars Speakers Bureau has provided a platform for Illinois writers, storytellers, historians, folklorists, musicians, and living history actors, among others, to share their expertise and enthusiasm with people throughout Illinois. The program enables local nonprofit organizations – including libraries, museums, arts groups, historical societies, civic groups, and many others – to host free, high quality, humanities-based programs in their communities for a modest application fee, which Illinois Humanities will waive for organizations who are unable to pay.

“The Road Scholar program is important as a method for reaching people throughout the state, many in underserved areas. Bringing these programs to communities helps people learn and also to think about new subjects and ideas,” says founding Road Scholar Bucky Halker, “I believe such programs are vital to making people better citizens, more informed citizens who can deal with the complicated issues of our contemporary world and the decisions that need to be made to create an inclusive democracy.”


About Illinois Humanities

Illinois Humanities, the Illinois affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, is a statewide nonprofit organization that activates the humanities through free public programs, grants, and educational opportunities that foster reflection, spark conversation, build community and strengthen civic engagement. We provide free, high-quality humanities experiences throughout Illinois, particularly communities of color, individuals living on low incomes, counties and towns in rural areas, small arts and cultural organizations, and communities highly impacted by mass incarceration. Learn more at and on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn @ILHumanities.