The Chicago Humanities Festival connects people to the ideas that shape and define us, and promotes the lifelong exploration of what it means to be human.
We present smart and entertaining programming about ideas that matter. We shape ideas, helping our audiences see the world differently. We help them challenge the boundaries of contemporary knowledge and culture. We help them understand what it means to be human.

Over the past several years, we have grown from a one-day celebration of the humanities into a year-round festival of arts and ideas. We present more than 100 events annually, in venues across the Chicago area (from Evanston to Englewood, the Loop to the South Shore), including two festivals (Fall Festival, Spring Festival), and partnerships with the region’s most prestigious cultural institutions and universities.

Festival programs bring people together to explore ideas that go beyond their personal experiences, enabling them to live more empathetic and connected lives. Our events feature thinkers at the heart of contemporary civic and cultural conversations, including authors, artists, journalists, policy makers, and others shaping our understanding of the moment, the past, and the future. Festival programs leave you with thoughtful insights and compelling questions, and often feature Nobel Laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, MacArthur Fellows, and Oscar, Grammy, and Tony award winners.

Our hope is that audiences leave Festival programs transformed—inspired by a shared experience and with new insights and perspectives.

We are committed to eliminating barriers to participation related to age, income, race, and physical ability. To this end, we carefully and actively consider the programs we present (their topics, presenters, and areas of interest), the partners we engage with (from neighborhood organizations to universities to major cultural institutions), our program prices (the vast majority are under $20), and the accommodations and resources we offer to our audiences.

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