The Public Square

Democracy Remixed (2/19/2011 - Photo by Dave Marques)Democracy Remixed (2/19/2011 - Photo by Dave Marques)

The Public Square fosters debate, dialogue, and exchange of ideas about cultural, social, and political issues with an emphasis on social justice.

By building bridges between theory and practice, The Public Square encourages the use of ideas as tools to improve people's lives. These programs promote participatory democracy and create space for public conversations. Knowledge is power, yet much crucial knowledge still circulates only in small, isolated communities."Women and War" Cafe Society (1/31/2012 - Photo by Martha Abelson)"Women and War" Cafe Society (1/31/2012 - Photo by Martha Abelson)

Media Remix is a series of public conversations hosted by The Public Square, a program of the Illinois Humanities Council. The conversations will seek to illuminate the power of media today and empower the public towards greater media literacy. Featuring journalists, community leaders, media scholars and activists, the series will explore the role of media in shaping informed communities and civic engagement.

If you would like more information on The Public Square and/or how to get involved, please call 312.422.5580 or email thepublicsquare@prairie.org.

For upcoming events, look under "Next Event" or click on "Events and Activities" on the right.

Ongoing programs:
  • Café Society is a project designed to foster a more robust civil society, more cohesive and interactive communities, greater media literacy, and a more informed and engaged citizenry through weekly coffee shop conversations about contemporary social issues. Current media reports (along with ample doses of caffeine) serve as stimulants for the conversations.
  • Living In Color is our series of storytelling events at some of our favorite spots in Chicago, with special guests sharing funny, poignant, and adventurous tales on food, radical love, identity, and migration.

  • Shop Talk is a monthly discussion series that brings UIC scholars to Ron's Barber Shop on Chicago's west side to grapple with hard issues ranging from gender violence and immigration to criminal justice and access to health care.

  • An exhilarating series of films, forums, and conversations, Civic Cinema uses the most exceptionally creative and engaging documentary films of our times to help communities talk about the most pressing social issues facing us. The documentaries we screen and discuss challenge many of the mainstream representations of critical social issues. Art, in this case, becomes a way of thinking about how history and truth are represented and a way of promoting media literacy.
  • Café Society en Español es un programa único que une en diálogo, reflexión, y expresión artística a los lectores y escritores presentada por contratiempo y The Public Square.
  • AAAH programs are intimate, informal discussions and meals that allow for meaningful exchanges among people who share some connection to the work of a visiting artist. Since coalition building is one of the cornerstones of social change, AAAH programs are structured to give individuals a chance to meet others engaged in similar struggles and projects.
  • Art, issues, and dialogue--these are the key components to The Public Square's programs in the Englewood and Humboldt Park neighborhoods. This series is a way to bridge the gap between the arts and social issues that are of current concerns with the community. Performances and presentations are a prelude to community-based discussions that engage everyone involved. Top artists and activists are part of the overall series.