Finding Our Common Purpose

Conversations that ground us in our interdependence

Finding Our Common Purpose provides opportunities to begin to form deep connections with one another and realize the extent of our collective interdependence. This can include building trust between communities; such as with Community | Media | Possibilities. 


Taylor Strelevitz

Conversation Programs Director
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Here are the current programs that fit into Finding Our Common Purpose programming: 

Past programs: 

    Culture Shift Logo


    We are so excited to present Culture Shift back for fall season at Williwaw Social.

    At each Culture Shift event, two guests take turns each speaking on a topic that they are passionate about - an idea that challenges cultural norms or assumptions. Then, the audience takes part in a fun, interactive, and thought-provoking Q&A to find connections between the two.

    Tickets are "pay-what-you-can tickets" from $5-$30, with a suggested ticket price of $20. If you have the resources to pay at this price or above, it will help to make sure that we can continue offering prices that are accessible to all.


    Relevant Kindling Conversation toolkits

    Host your own conversation!

    The Forum’s Kindling Conversation Program was built to help you do just that. It provides themed toolkits, host support, and $250 of funding to Alaskans interested in hosting short, thoughtful community conversations tailored to connect people across difference and foster inclusive conversational spaces throughout the state.

    Each toolkit has a focused conversation guide, a springboard to launch discussion, community agreements for the shared space, and participant surveys so that you’ll have everything you need to host.

    Here are the toolkits that relate specifically to Finding Our Common Purpose:

    Forging Our Family

    Guiding question: How do we make our family and who belongs in it?

    Journalism and Community

    Guiding Question: What's possible when community and media connect?


    Magnetic North conversation guides also fall under the Finding Our Common Purpose program area; each conversation guide accompanies a Magnetic North documentary film and explores themes of leadership. 

    Magnetic North is a documentary film project produced by Alaska Humanities Forum in partnership with Rasmuson Foundation. The series explores the personality and character of Alaskans whose actions and ideas have shaped the history, spirit, and values of our state. Collectively, they challenge preconceived notions of the Last Frontier, promote a richer understanding of its unique identity, and speak to our shared experience of life in contemporary Alaska. Find out out more here:



    Community Media Possibilitywide

    Since 2019, Alaska Humanities Forum has been hosting programming designed to build trust between journalists and the community through the national Democracy and the Informed Citizen Initiative. Administered by the Federation of State Humanities Councils and funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, this nationwide effort was to examine the connections between democracy, the humanities, journalism, and an informed citizenry. Between fall 2020 and spring 2021, the Forum organized a variety of programming focused on the question:

    What’s possible when community and media connect?
    Whats Possible


    Recommendations for Reimagining Community and Media in Alaska, 2021 to see what our participants have to say.

    Network Map


    Take a look at the network map that was developed to keep interested community members and media professionals connected. Scroll to the bottom and add yourself.

    Spark Conversation

    Spark Conversation.

    Keep the conversation going. Gather five or more friends and have a conversation for at least an hour using our Kindling Conversation toolkit. Learn more and apply here.

    Community Journovation Fellowship

    The Community Journovation Fellowship was a competitive eight-week experience that explored the intersection of community and media through a series of virtual conversations. The group of 19 community members, media professionals, and students were broken into smaller regional groups and met independently to explore the local relationship between community and media. The fellowship culminated in publications that reflected on their experience or were examples of community engaged media.



    Invigorating civic engagement through
    community conversation and storytelling

    As a part of the national "Why It Matters: Civic and Electoral Participation" initiative, administered by the Federation of State Humanities Councils and funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Forum supported a series of events and activities around voting, engagement, and democracy to strengthen civic connection and participation throughout Alaska.

    Across the country, this initiative included exhibitions, explorations of history, public panels, and radio talk shows oriented around civic engagement in our democracy.

    The Forum invited Alaskans to join in on the conversation. Below are some of the initiative's results.

    Alaska Voting Stories

    Check Out.

    Alaskans from across the state submitted voting stories to our multimedia collection. These stories will be transferred to the University of Alaska's Archives and Special Collections after a year to preserve and honor the voices that contributed.


    The Forum hosted several events throughout the winter and spring of 2021 to bring people together to talk, think, and listen. These tough conversations that are core to our democracy were graphically documented and resulted in this gallery.


    To deepen the discussion on civic engagement, we partnered with the Alaska Center to produce three episodes of The Togetherings around the theme of representation. The Togetherings are recorded conversations with Alaskans from all walks of life sharing their perspectives on big questions and diving into what matters from their point of view.

    A Special Thanks.

    Anyone who submitted a story or hosted a Voting Story Circle received our Why It Matters thank you package with original stickers designed by Alaska artists Ted Kim and Alyssa Quintyne, a conversation card deck, and an AKHF notebook.

    > Learn more about the artists and Why It Matters to them on our blog!

    Why It Matters Gifts
    Alaska Humanities Forum

    The Alaska Humanities Forum is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that designs and facilitates experiences to bridge distance and difference – programming that shares and preserves the stories of people and places across our vast state, and explores what it means to be Alaskan.

    Alaska Humanities Forum
    Stories Blog
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