Project Management 101 for the Arts and Humanities: A Workshop

Monday, May 15, 2017 (All day) to Tuesday, May 16, 2017 (All day)
Event Location: 
Obermann Center for Advanced Studies
111 Church St.
Iowa City, IA 52245
Headshot of Leah Nahmias

Workshop Leader

Leah Nahmias, Director of Programming and Community Engagement, Indiana Humanities (Indianapolis, IN)

Co-sponsored by the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies & Andrew W. Mellon-funded Digital Bridges for Humanistic Inquiry: A Grinnell College/University of Iowa Partnership

Special Opportunity for Graduate Students

All teaching faculty and staff members of cultural organizations in the arts and humanities and related disciplines are also welcome on a space available basis.

Registration Closed. The workshop is oversubscribed, but we hope to offer it again in Summer 2017.

Academic artists and humanists often work solo. But as the digital arts and humanities and publicly engaged scholarship gain ground, artists and humanities scholars find themselves in collaborations where success depends on knowing how to plan, organize, coordinate, budget, and communicate with varied colleagues and audiences. Those skills can serve you well in the process of writing dissertations or grants. However, they’re critical for collaborative work—whether you’re partnering with campus or public partners, designing group assignments for students, or pursuing a non-academic career.

Successful public humanities organizations rely on common project management strategies that they deftly adapt to cultural contexts. The Obermann Center for Advanced Studies and the Andrew W. Mellon-funded Digital Bridges for Humanistic Inquiry team have invited Leah Nahmias, Director of Programs and Community Engagement at Indiana Humanities, to lead a workshop on May 15–16 in which she will share expertise in project management she developed through her many years with state humanities councils.

Participants will learn specific strategies for planning and conducting ambitious arts and humanities collaborative projects, including effective ways to

  • establish and maintain partnerships and course-correct when things get off track,
  • use checklists, timelines, and other tools that set collaborators up for success,
  • secure stakeholder investment,
  • design effective communications plans,
  • create and oversee a budget, and
  • create feedback loops to evaluate and adjust throughout a project.

Participants will also have the opportunity to consider how project management concepts can be adapted to their own projects. Our goal is for each participant to leave the workshop with concrete plans to meet future goals and with skills that will be immensely valuable whether s/he decides to work in an academic setting, a cultural organization, or the business sector.

At Indiana Humanities, Leah Nahmias plans a broad array of public programs that encourage citizens in Indiana to think, read, and talk. Recent examples include an arts and humanities pitch competition, community reading groups, a statewide series of literary hikes, and bike rides and canoe trips co-led by humanities scholars and naturalists. As part of IH’s new thematic initiative Quantum Leap, Nahmias is currently coordinating an ambitious statewide read of Frankenstein timed to the book’s 200th anniversary in 2018. Previously, with the New York Council for the Humanities, Nahmias launched the Humanities Center Initiative, an innovative partnership among New York State’s seven university-based humanities centers, and directed the New York Council’s Public Humanities Fellowship program for advanced graduate students.

While the workshop is designed to prepare graduate students for collaborative work, we welcome all teaching faculty and staff members of cultural organizations to participate if space is available.

The workshop is oversubscribed, but we hope to offer it again in Summer 2017.

If you have questions, contact Erin Hackathorn at or (319) 335-4034.