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.

1. Alaska Voting Stories: What's Your Voting Story?
We gathered submissions of Alaskans' voting stories and reflections to document, highlight, and spark conversation around the diversity of experiences with voting in our state. You can explore the multimedia collection within our virtual gallery to view shared perspectives. 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.

2. Voting Story Circles
We funded individuals who wanted to host their own story circles with friends, coworkers, or fellow community members to encourage sincere conversations and reflections on voting experiences. Each host received a $250 stipend and a facilitation guide to host a story-based conversation.
> Learn more about other funded community conversation opportunities.

3. Community Conversations to Spark Civic Engagement
The Forum hosted several events throughout the winter and spring to bring people together to talk, think, and listen. This series of online events was hosted in collaboration with community partners and designed around a variety of civically engaging topics, providing opportunities to practice the tough conversations core to our democracy. 
> Take a peek at the materials these conversations generated.

4. The Togetherings: On Representation
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.
> Listen to our new episodes on representation. 

Please reach out to Lev Greenstein at [email protected] for more information!

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.