Engaging Arizonans with FRANK Talks

By Marilyn Murphy

“Civility means a great deal more than just being nice to one another. It is complex and encompasses learning how to connect successfully and live well with others, developing thoughtfulness, and fostering effective self-expression and communication. Civility includes courtesy, politeness, mutual respect, fairness, good manners, as well as a matter of good health.”– Pier Massimo Forni

When you turn on the news each day, it’s not always easy to find moments of people talking, listening, and reflecting civilly with one another. Arizona Humanities and the Arizona State Library are proud to support the opportunity to bring facilitated discussion topics into libraries that allow Arizonans to foster the skills of citizenship and civil discourse.

Launched in the summer of 2016, FRANK Talks are face-to-face conversations on ideas that matter. Attendees discuss issues of local and national importance in local libraries at a single-session 75-minute program, led by a humanities scholar/expert on the topic. FRANK Talks engage participants with important issues and provide the opportunity to put them in context, weigh facts, and consider different points of view.

The goal of FRANK Talks is to inspire people to practice the skills of citizenship – to listen respectfully and engage thoughtfully with one another on important issues that affect our communities. Topics can include: education, immigration, religion, civil rights, and more. A few titles from the current selection include: “Educational equity in Arizona,” with Dr. Angelina Castagno from Northern Arizona University; “Racial Literacy and Social Media,” with Dr. Kathy Nakagawa from Arizona State University; and “Modern Policing or a Police State,” with Michael Scott from Arizona State University.

Unlike the Arizona Humanities AZ Speaks program’s lecture-style format, FRANK Talks are interactive, participatory, and designed to engage people in conversation about important issues.

When asked what did you like most about the program, attendees responded, “The diversity of participants,” “The openness of the conversation and the many points of views expressed,” and “Everyone was engaged and although there were differences, it was respectful.”

When prompted what you might do with the knowledge gained during the program, attendees shared, “Have a conversation with family and friends about race and movies,” and “Try to be more active to facilitate change.”

FRANK Talks programs are free exclusively for Arizona libraries and are made possible by a partnership between Arizona Humanities and the Arizona State Library, Archives & Public Records.

FRANK Talks is named in part to honor Lorraine W. Frank, the founding Executive Director of Arizona Humanities. During her tenure from 1973 to 1989, she elevated public discourse and understood that engaging communities in dialogue was critical to the life of our state. Lorraine W. Frank passed away in 2005, and in 2015 she was inducted into the Arizona Women’s Hall of Fame.

For more information about FRANK Talks and to book a program, visit http://www.azhumanities.org/programs/frank-talks/

Or contact Ellie Hutchison, Programs Manager at [email protected] 602-257-0335 x26.

Marilyn Murphy is Senior Marketing & Communications Coordinator, Arizona Humanities.

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