12 MARCH 2020 / Folk Song and Weaving, Hip Hop and Oral History Combine in New Public Humanities Projects

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Public Humanities Initiative (SNFPHI) has announced its first cohort of projects.

The imaginative projects will offer new ways of thinking about the past while inviting the public into the processes of writing the historical narrative. Involving young people is a focus for most of the projects, which are based around Greece.

The seven projects selected will receive support over 14 months. They’ll have access to Columbia University thinkers and expertise in areas like digital humanities and community-based programming, while bringing to the table innovative ideas and a grassroots sense of Greek cultural life.

One project on the Aegean island of Tinos will preserve folk song and weaving traditions through the creation of an online audio library and a wall tapestry. Across Greece on the Ionian island of Lefkada, high school students will learn to conduct anthropological and historical research as part of the creation of an outdoor museum.

In the Athens neighborhood of Victoria Square, home to a number of immigrant communities, young people will turn oral histories into a hip-hop album. Just outside the Greek capital in Keratsini, high school students will learn about legacies of the Greek-Turkish war a century ago, examining objects that refugees carried with them.

The goal of the Initiative is to activate and amplify extraordinary ideas already at work in Greece. “The Initiative supports the extraordinary work of a new generation of arts professionals and educators, and aims to maximize their social impact throughout Greece and beyond,” reads the release announcing the projects.


Established in 2019, SNFPHI is exclusively supported by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF). It is a project of Columbia University’s Institute for Ideas and Imagination, which was inaugurated in fall 2018 with lead support from SNF.