Nancy Hemsath • August 9, 2021
New Conversation Programs Coordinator, Oliviah Franke, came to the Forum at the end of July from the U.S. Forest Service, where she had supported conservation education efforts. She helped us craft her Forum Profile by answering a few questions.
How are you connected to the Forum?
I have just started as the Conversation Programs Coordinator! I am excited to be able to work on facilitating and supporting conversations that are important to Alaskans and lead to further understanding and appreciation in our communities.
What’s one Alaska story that you have heard or read that you would recommend to others?
I have been attending Arctic Entries events in Anchorage and have heard some very powerful stories from folks from across Alaska. One that sits with me still was one about a backpacking trip and the lesson learned being that of implementing humility into outdoor adventuring in Alaska. It hit home to think about carrying humility with me wherever I go.
What’s one thing you have been curious about lately?
I have been really curious about how others’ many identities shape who they are as a person; how various identities either inform each other or need to be reconciled within ourselves.
What question do you wish more people asked you? And you them?
I wish more people asked me about what brings me joy or peace. I find that even taking a moment to reflect on these emotions can bring a sense of them into my day or moment. Admittedly, I also wish I asked more people these types of questions! I have been working on getting away from “small talk”, and engage more in questions that allow us to take pause and appreciate things we may often take for granted.
I have loved using Big Talk as an inspiration to asking questions that inspire deeper conversation. My other favorite question to ask lately is: what identities do you hold within yourself that are important to you that others recognize and help you celebrate?
What conversations do we need to be having (or having more of) in Alaska?
I think we can be talking about a lot of things; one that I am particularly passionate about is climate change in Alaska and how to address climate and environmental racism in Alaska, specifically. It is also something that I don’t know a lot about, so am hoping to be an active part of those conversations to learn more.
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.
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