Working definition of the humanities and the arts: The arts and humanities are about creation, connection, reflection, and curiosity. While the specific disciplines of the humanities and the arts include visual art, film and media art, music, theater, dance, creative writing, the study of language, culture, race and gender, classics, history, philosophy, religion, literature, and linguistics, there is a great deal of crossover between areas of study and connection with related fields. Skills learned in the humanities and the arts such as communication, collaboration, creative problem solving, critical thinking and writing, are valuable in a wide range of jobs especially in this century characterized by rapid change.

From Harvard’s “Mapping the Future” report: “The Arts and Humanities teach us how to describe experience, how to evaluate it, and how to imagine its liberating transformation…Practicing art is basic training for what is variously understood as the experience, attention, or innovation economy. As practice in problem solving, sensorial engagement, creative thinking or collaborative effort, art education has utility for contemporary professional and economic life; in fact, many have commented on the degree to which the freelance, flexible style of modern white-collar work itself takes the artist’s practice as a model.”

From the Stanford Humanities Center: “The humanities can be described as the study of how people process and document the human experience. Since humans have been able, we have used philosophy, literature, religion, art, music, history and language to understand and record our world. These modes of expression have become some of the subjects that traditionally fall under the humanities umbrella. Knowledge of these records of human experience gives us the opportunity to feel a sense of connection to those who have come before us, as well as to our contemporaries.”

From The American Academy of Arts and Sciences The Heart of the Matter: “The humanities remind us where we have been and help us envision where we are going. Emphasizing critical perspective and imaginative response, the humanities – including the study of languages, literature, history, film, civics, philosophy, religion, and the arts - foster creativity, appreciation of our commonalities and our differences, and knowledge of all kinds.”