Hawaiʻi Council for the Humanities is proud of its rich history in humanities public programming in the islands of Hawaiʻi for nearly fifty years, which has been guided by our mission of enriching lives by connecting people through broadening perspectives and strengthening communities. We invite you to explore some of our past, present, and future public programming here and we hope to see you at our next public event.


Film for Thought

In November 2019, we sponsored a Film for Thought series at the Hawaiʻi International Film Festival with the theme of CHANGE MAKERS. Six rich, provocative documentaries were featured, and each film was paired with a thought piece written by local scholars and community leaders. Film for Thought essay publications were distributed free to moviegoers, and special community discussion events were held. Films featured: FOR SAMA (discussion with Nicole Sunday Grove), WE ARE THE RADICAL MONARCHS (discussion with Vera Zambonelli), CHANGING THE GAME (discussion with Adhann Iwashita), GEOGRAPHIES OF KINSHIP (discussion with CJ Kee), and a series of shorts titled MAUNA KEA: THROUGH THE KIAʻI LENS (discussion with ʻIlima Long). AKICITA: BATTLE FOR STANDING ROCK was unfortunately not finished in time for viewing, but a beautiful thought piece by Loke Aloua was written and shared. Special screenings were held for high school and intermediate students on Oʻahu and Hawaiʻi Island, and all films were free to students during the festival.

You can find our CHANGE MAKERS booklet here.

Please check our our Library and Archives page for previous years. 


Out of State - Discussion Series

On February 26, 2020, Try Think partnered with Wai‘anae Public Library to do a community screening of the award-winning documentary OUT OF STATE, followed by an open and honest discussion about how transitioning out of incarceration affects individuals, families, and communities. We were honored to be with about 75 people that night, of all ages and walks of life, and felt moved by the stories shared and the compassionate listening.

What an amazing community!

This event is part of a series with Waiʻanae Public Library on the theme of Transitions.


State of Aloha

From the overthrow of Queen Liliʻuokalani and the annexation of Hawaiʻi to Statehood in 1959, the documentary, State of Aloha, highlights topics of the research that include a range of issues and historical events. Areas explored include immigration, the Massie case, WWII, the 442, and Japanese Internment, ILWU and the “threat” of Communist takeover, pursuit of parity, and the democratic revolution, in which a group at the bottom of the social/political/economic hierarchy rose to a prominent political/economic position through the electoral process, a rare step in international history.

The current dialogue and controversy about the legitimacy and future of Hawaiʻi’s state status are addressed, culminating to the Question—What is the next step for Hawaiʻi?


Breaking News: Telling Our Stories

In May 2019, we partnered with the Hawaiʻi Book and Music Festival at Honolulu Hale civic grounds to run a discussion and activity tent titled BREAKING NEWS: TELLING OUR OWN STORIES (click the link to read a print copy of articles written for Telling Our Stories). Sessions explored questions about news media’s digital transformation, community tensions in Hawaiʻi, and how to become more critical media consumers and media makers. Speakers included experts from the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Hawaiʻi News Now, Civil Beat, Honolulu Magazine, HIKI NŌ, Hawaiʻi Public Radio, Hawaiʻi Women in Filmmaking, the UH Mānoa Center for Oral History, and others. Pulitzer Prize winners William Finnegan and Gilbert King gave presentations on “getting the big story” within highly contested political issues, as well as the characterization of journalists as “enemies of the people” when dealing with tough racially charged topics; and gave free writing workshops following each lecture.

This program was part of “Democracy and the Informed Citizen,” a national initiative examining the critical role of journalism and the power of the humanities to enrich understanding of local and national issues and to inspire an engaged citizenry. We thank the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for their generous support of this initiative and the Pulitzer Prizes for their partnership.