Programs and Events | Newberry

Programs and Events

The Newberry offers programming in the humanities for lifelong learners, students, teachers, scholars, and genealogy researchers. Please visit the individual program pages below for information about how to register in advance.

Watch or listen to past programs on the Newberry’s YouTube channel.

Sign up for our e-newsletter to receive updates on Newberry programming.

E.g., 03/07/2021
E.g., 03/07/2021
Tuesday, February 9, 2021
Led by Frank Biletz
Full. Email seminars@newberry.org to be added to the wait list.
The unusually tumultuous year of 1968 continues to be remembered for its political revolutions, social upheavals, and artistic innovations. This seminar will take a global approach in exploring that historical year . . .
Tuesday, February 9, 2021
Led by Linda Downing Miller
Full. Email seminars@newberry.org to be added to the wait list.
This six-week workshop is for writers of all levels who are interested in getting started with short fiction. We’ll look at literary short stories to understand how they start, progress, and finish.
Wednesday, February 10, 2021
Led by Douglas Post
What do the playwrights Ben Hecht, Lorraine Hansberry, David Auburn, Bertolt Brecht, Tracy Letts, and August Wilson have in common? They have all written plays set in Chicago, and many of these writers are also native to the Midwest.
Wednesday, February 10, 2021
Led by Rachel Boyle, PhD
Full. Email seminars@newberry.org to be added to the wait list.
This virtual walking tour will explore how history is remembered in the cultural landscape of Chicago. From monuments and murals to historic buildings and the lakefront, the seminar will interrogate how the city remembers certain events and people, and how other histories are actively silenced.
Thursday, February 11, 2021
Led by Margaret Farr
Full. Email seminars@newberry.org to be added to the wait list.
The horrors of World War I prompted some artists in Europe and America to critique prevailing political and cultural values. Formed mid-war, Dada featured irrationality, chance, and unconventional formats. In the 1920s and beyond, the Surrealists also favored subversive subjects and styles.
Thursday, February 11, 2021
Led by Mark Larson
We will explore the history of the Chicago theater scene and how it developed using photographs, artifacts from the Newberry archive, visits from special guests, audio clips, and more from the instructor’s interviews with the theater artists who made it happen
Tuesday, February 16, 2021
Led by Donald G. Evans
When Saul Bellow started with the Writers’ Project, his job was to inventory Illinois periodicals at the Newberry Library. For Bellow and many other Chicago writers, such as Nelson Algren, Arna Bontemps, Jack Conroy, Studs Terkel, Margaret Walker, and Richard Wright, these jobs provided steady income, training, and access to great stories
Tuesday, February 16, 2021
Led by Steven J. Venturino
Full. Email seminars@newberry.org to be added to the wait list.
A novel of childhood development that calls to mind Jane Eyre or David Copperfield, George Eliot’s The Mill on the Floss is an unflinching and emotionally challenging exploration of the author's childhood, intellectual aspirations, and psychological struggles.
Wednesday, February 17, 2021
Led by Megan Tusler
Full. Email seminars@newberry.org to be added to the wait list.
This seminar studies three significant Native American novels in conjunction with secondary works in Native American studies
Wednesday, February 17, 2021
Led by Lin Batsheva Kahn
Take a historical journey through modern dance, beginning with rebel pioneer Isadora Duncan and ending in the year 2020
Thursday, February 18, 2021
Led by Susanne Dumbleton, PhD
The mystery of Joan of Arc has intrigued historians and artists for almost 600 years. How could a seventeen-year-old with no military training convince a jaded army to follow her--and win?
Thursday, February 18, 2021
Led by C. Mitchell
This seminar has been cancelled.
Is writing poetry as a female an inherently political act? Can protest be staged on a page? How are women’s written voices amplified or not, heard or not, validated or not, published or not--and what fresh urgencies might accompany these questions now, after the centennial anniversary of the 19th Amendment?
Saturday, February 20, 2021
Led by Julia Kriventsova Denne
Full. Email seminars@newberry.org to be added to the wait list.
This interdisciplinary seminar will provide an introduction to the Russian avant-garde as a complex mosaic of styles and individuals, focusing on the dialogue between the Russian artists and writers who, at a time of radical change, tried to create new systems of thinking and languages.
Saturday, February 20, 2021
Led by Jeff Nigro
This seminar will explore the superstars of 18th-century opera, the castrati--male singers who were castrated as boys in order to preserve their treble voices
Saturday, February 20, 2021
Led by Frank Biletz
Full. Email seminars@newberry.org to be added to the wait list.
From its Viking foundations to becoming a modern capital city, from the building of Georgian Dublin to destruction suffered during the Easter Rising . . . this seminar will explore the fascinating social and cultural history of Ireland’s capital city.
Wednesday, February 24, 2021
Led by Jill Howe
Full. Email seminars@newberry.org to be added to the wait list.
Beginners to advanced students are welcome in this workshop examining vulnerability in storytelling, performance, and craft.
Saturday, February 27, 2021
Led by Will Hansen
This seminar will explore three American short stories: “The Masque of the Red Death” by Edgar Allan Poe, “Bartleby, the Scrivener” by Herman Melville, and “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Tuesday, March 2, 2021
Led by Jen Farrell
Full. Email seminars@newberry.org to be added to the wait list.
In 1920, Oswald Cooper designed Cooper Black, a typeface sold "for far-sighted printers with near-sighted customers." Its popularity was instantaneous despite detractors and gained an even wider audience in the pop culture of the '60s and '70s.
Saturday, March 6, 2021
Led by Esther Hershenhorn
Full. Email seminars@newberry.org to be added to the wait list.
Hoping to realize your dream of writing a children’s book? Anxious to learn what to do once you write it? This workshop introduces newcomers to today’s children’s book world and offers some “rules of the road” to make navigating easier.
Wednesday, March 10, 2021
Led by Harrison Sherrod
Claude Chabrol, a founding member of the French New Wave, is often compared to Alfred Hitchcock for his interest in the sinister forces and homicidal tendencies lurking beneath the underbelly of bourgeois society.This seminar will analyze four films that encapsulate his quintessentially mordant worldview and trademark filmmaking tendencies.
Thursday, March 11, 2021
Led by Cindy Juyoung Ok
Full. Email semianrs@newberry.org to be added to the wait list.
In this seminar, we consider what can fit on one page, breaking down and opening up our understanding of poems and flash stories. We will first focus on reading and analyzing published work, and then generate our own writing.
Saturday, March 13, 2021
Led by Jenna Blazevich
This beginner calligraphy workshop, led by Jenna Blazevich of Vichcraft, will cover the basics of pointed pen oblique calligraphy.
Thursday, March 18, 2021
Led by Neil Blackadder
The ten-minute play has established itself as an effective, condensed form for telling simple stories on stage. In this workshop, participants will write their own ten-minute plays and explore a variety of examples of the genre.
Saturday, March 20, 2021
Led by Sarah Kernan
Full. Email seminars@newberry.org to be added to the wait list.
In this seminar, conducted as a cooking demonstration and workshop, we will study, prepare, and taste dishes made using early modern English recipes from manuscript and print sources.
Tuesday, April 13, 2021
Led by Joseph Heininger
Full. Email seminars@newberry.org to be added to the wait list.
This seminar will explore the richness, variety, and depth of selected poetry by the Irish Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney (1939-2013). His poetry portrays the rituals of rural life, the human costs of violence, and a mature hopefulness and admirable choice to love others in the face of loss and despair.
Tuesday, April 13, 2021
Led by Steven J. Venturino
Full. Email seminars@newberry.org to be added to the wait list.
Anthony Trollope’s 1855 novel The Warden revolves around an English cleric whose comfortable living is called into question, not only by progressive voices in society but by his own conscience
Wednesday, April 14, 2021
Led by Caron Primas Brennan
Full. Email seminars@newberry.org to be added to the wait list.
Take this whole three-part series and build your genealogy research toolbox.
Wednesday, April 14, 2021
Led by Caron Primas Brennan
Full. Email seminars@newberry.org to be added to the wait list.
Take a tour of the under-utilized FamilySearch.org website to see what it has to offer genealogy researchers.
Wednesday, April 14, 2021
Led by Tricia Scanlan
Full. Email seminars@newberry.org to be added to the wait list.
After the Civil War, hundreds of American artists flocked to Paris to enroll in its prestigious art schools and academies, study the great masterpieces of the Louvre, and encounter avant-garde French art.
Thursday, April 15, 2021
Led by Kathleen Murphy Skolnik
In the days before television and the internet allowed for instantaneous communication, regional, national, and international expositions acquainted the world with new scientific and industrial advances, innovative consumer products, and the latest trends in art and architecture.
Saturday, April 17, 2021
Led by Laurel Harig-Khan
From turning away from the material world (dunya) to embracing solitude in a spiritual retreat (khalwa), Sufi masters in Islam from the 7th century onwards have counseled their students on the virtues of voluntary self-isolation.
Saturday, April 17, 2021
Led by Emilie M. Brinkman
Discover how pimples were treated, how wigs were worn and cared for, and how contemporary notions of beauty shaped ideas regarding race.
Tuesday, April 20, 2021
Led by Lawrence Axelrod
As music-lovers and concert-goers, we rarely have time for detailed listening and study of significant pieces of 20th- and 21st-century classical music. These pieces often present formidable challenges, whether in music language, subject matter, or structure.
Tuesday, April 20, 2021
Led by Harrison Sherrod
Moving from John Cage to Kraftwerk to New Order, this seminar will provide a primer on the history of electronic music, charting how its sound, popularity, and symbolism have metamorphosed over the past eighty years.
Wednesday, April 21, 2021
Led by Jill Howe
Have you taken a storytelling, improv, or writing class and not wanted it to end? This is the class after the class, the one where you keep those creative gears turning
Wednesday, April 21, 2021
Led by Richard Reeder.
Published in 1952, Invisible Man won the National Book Award in 1953 and remains one of the great American classics.
Saturday, April 24, 2021
Led by Teresa S. McMillin, CG
Full. Email seminars@newberry.org to be added to the wait list.
Learn how to research your immigrant ancestor’s German origins. This seminar guides you through the process of using reliable genealogical sources for investigating German immigrant history.
Wednesday, April 28, 2021
Led by Caron Primas Brennan
Full. Email seminars@newberry.org to be added to the wait list.
So, you think you know Ancestry.com? In this seminar, we will take a tour of the Ancestry.com website to see what it has to offer genealogy researchers and discuss tips and tricks for how to get the most out of Ancestry.
Saturday, May 1, 2021
Led by Elzbieta Foeller-Pituch
Jane Austen’s 1815 novel is a satirical proto-mystery novel, though instead of corpses we have couples that need proper matching up. Austen provides us with a clueless heroine, hidden hints, and red herrings, so that reading this novel is an exercise in literary detection.
Saturday, May 1, 2021
Led by Marsha Peterson-Maass
The Newberry has one of the nation’s strongest genealogy collections. This one-session seminar will introduce you to accredited methods for tracing your family’s history in America.
Wednesday, May 12, 2021
Led by Caron Primas Brennan
Have you exhausted your old standby resources? Do you need some new records to review? This genealogy workshop will introduce you to family history databases you may have heard of but never utilized . . .