Dear Friends of the Brooklyn Institute,
Last year at this time, amid concerns about growing social, economic, and political crises, BISR outlined an ambitious plan to expand our unique model of community-based education. We believe that creating spaces for informed, critical inquiry is essential for a humane and democratic society. Over the last twelve months, we have worked tirelessly to follow through on this pledge. In particular, we have:
- Convened 85 courses in the NYC area alone, many on topics of critical contemporary concern such as: The Origins of Totalitarianism, The Civil War: Past and Present, Market Socialism, Fundamentalism: An Introduction, Emotional Labor: Gender, Care, and Reproduction, Angela Davis and Prison Abolitionism, and American Politics: From the New Deal to Neoliberalism;
- Built Praxis, a unique program that connects activists, organizers, and public interest professionals to the educational resources they need to do more effective work. This year, we’ve held Praxis programs with labor organizers, non-profits, and burgeoning grassroots political groups;
- Launched BISR Network to adapt our model of community-based learning for local scholars and students in communities across the Midwest. Working with local scholars and students, BISR organized nine highly subsidized courses since last June, ranging from Care of the City: Theory and Practice in Detroit to What is the Public Sphere in Newport, KY, and Black Politics in the 20th Century in Cincinnati. More than 120 students have participated in these programs thus far;
- Offered nearly 200 scholarships and free courses to BISR students for both our core programming and through the BISR Community Initiative; and
- Organized more free public events than ever before. From live podcast recordings to author talks and panel discussions, BISR has participated in and supported dozens of free events across the New York City metropolitan area. Simultaneously we’ve increased the output of our podcast series, faculty interview articles, and “faculty chat” videos (all of which are available online), and supported the public writing of our faculty in outlets ranging from leading newspapers like The New York Times to vital venues for public scholarship like the Los Angeles Review of Books.
Looking toward 2018, we are more committed than ever to making the public sphere a place for critical education and civic engagement. We plan to hold more Network courses in more locations, conduct more free and online programming, build more and better Praxis projects, and maintain and expand our course offerings here in New York— but we need your help. If you haven’t already, please consider:
- Becoming a BISR member: BISR is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization with a range of membership opportunities. Your contributions support our efforts to maintain and expand our programming;
- Suggesting partnership opportunities: From cafes to galleries toand community spaces, BISR relies on a robust network of partners to offer learning opportunities. Have an idea for a potential partner? Let us know by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Taking a class and spreading the word: BISR served more than 1,500 students last year! Help keep the critical conversations going by taking a course in 2018 and/or inviting new faces into our learning community.
Your support means Brooklyn Institute faculty from the East River to the Mississippi can continue to offer high-quality, accessible learning opportunities to working adults as well as strengthen and expand critical education in the public sphere at a time when such efforts are needed more than ever before. Thank you for being a part of our work.