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'Virtual Campfire' Campaign Aims To Increase Connection, Humanities Conversations

While social distancing and event cancellations make it harder for organizations to connect the public to humanities projects, Deena Pyle at Utah Humanities created a Virtual Campfire campaign to increase public involvement, connection and conversations.
“I think one thing that we can all take away from this is that the human spirit is very adaptable, and creative and even ingenious in challenging times,” said Deena Pyle with Utah Humanities. Her solution? Go digital.";s:

Deena Pyle, the communication director for the non-profit Utah Humanities, said she’s impressed and inspired by the ways people are fighting to stay connected despite all of the social distancing initiatives enacted in the state to slow the spread of the coronavirus. So inspired, she created the organization’s Virtual Campfire social media and email campaign to encourage conversations about the impact of the humanities in our lives.

“It was just an initial idea that revolved around just the ancient ritual of tribes and people gathering in the evenings around a campfire, to support each other, to tell stories, to look at fears and address them head on and to come together as a group to assist, support each other and create a culture that was meaningful," Pyle said. "So, in that way, I think we are not only preserving kind of the culture and the actual experience in real time that we are all going through together, but, you know, we will be able to preserve those experiences digitally, as well.”

So with all the things people have to stress about now, like distance learning, unemployment or possible infection, why is this important?

“One thing that maybe we don't realize is that we're all doing the humanities, every day. Every time you have a conversation or write something or read a book or consider a philosophical point of view you we are all doing the humanities every day. It's like the air we breathe," she said. "The humanities are really just the observation and documentation of what it means to be human everything we're doing. So the humanities give us an opportunity to reflect on ourselves. It gives us an opportunity to reflect on what it means to be human to be an American or part of a global community and kind of evaluate where we've been, where we can go from here and how to do it in the best way possible.”

On top of the social media and email campaign, Pyle has been recording conversations examining this topic and hopes they’ll be uploaded and available for the public to hear in early May.