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Human Powered

Human Powered

Author: Wisconsin Humanities and Love Wisconsin

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Human Powered is a show about how people make places better. In our first season, we explore Wisconsin together to meet real people and hear in-depth stories that we hope leave you feeling closer to your neighbors—and inspired by where you live. Brought t
9 Episodes
Season 2 Trailer

Season 2 Trailer


Human Powered—the podcast from Wisconsin Humanities—is back for season 2. In these six episodes, we are talking with people who have been impacted by the justice system. With our hosts, Dasha Kelly Hamilton and Adam Carr, we are digging into the importance of the humanities as tools for searching for meaning and understanding. Dasha is 2021-22 Wisconsin Poet Laureate and a creative change agent who has led poetry workshops in and out of prisons for years. Adam Carr is a public historian and journalist. Together, they reflect and question, make connections to the larger social and cultural issues around imprisonment, and introduce us to people who encourage us all to think differently about incarceration.The show is brought to you by Wisconsin Humanities and Love Wisconsin, and produced by Field Noise Soundworks.To learn more, visit
This episode spotlights Tracey Robertson, a nonprofit leader and community organizer who was tired of hearing her neighbors repeat stereotypes she knew were not true. She figured that to change the narrative, people needed to be able to see each other more clearly, as complex individuals each with a story to share. In this episode, we learn about a project called Color-Brave that evolved from conversations in a coffee shop to a traveling exhibit and book. You'll meet Mushe and Shawn, featured in Color-Brave, and the photographer and museum curator who made it possible.Voices in this episode:Tracey Robertson co-founded and directed Fit Oshkosh, Inc from 2014-2020. Fit Oshkosh, Inc. was a non-profit social justice organization with the mission to promote social transformation, race equity, and justice through Color-Brave conversations, education, advocacy, and research. Tracey specializes in anti-racist curriculum development and has delivered workshops to clients across the United States and Canada. Her 2017 TedX Oshkosh Talk, “Black Girls Aren’t Magic,” received a standing ovation and has been viewed worldwide. She is currently a trainer with Quad Consulting DEI Consultants.Colleen Bies was born and raised in Wisconsin. Prior to her role as Regional Project Director for Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC), Colleen served in the Army National Guard, worked in finance, and created 2 businesses as an entrepreneur. Married for 14 years and a big believer in community, her work is dedicated to servicing her community and supporting her family. You can find Colleen's 2019 TEDxOshkosh talk on Why Children of Immigrants Work so Hard here and her photography here.Mushe Subulwa is the Director of SEPO Zambia, a non-profit dedicated to sustainability, education, and progress in western Zambia. Subulwa received the Daisy Frazier Social Justice Award in 2019 for his work with SEPO Zambia.Shawn Anthony Robinson, Ph.D. is a leading scholar on African American boys with dyslexia. Dr. Robinson has over 40 publications and is a public speaker, consultant, and educator. He is affiliated with Wisconsin’s Equity & Inclusion Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin Madison, Madison Area Technical College, American University, and an active Board member with the International Dyslexia Association. His goal is to change the narrative around dyslexia. His website can be found here.Aaron Sherer has served as the Executive Director of the Paine Art Center and Gardens since 2002. Sherer leads a varied exhibitions program, including shows by artists such as Dale Chihuly, Normal Rockwell, and Ansel Adams, as well as lamps by Louis Comfort Tiffany and costumes from the television show Downton Abbey. Sherer also initiated the annual Nutcracker in the Castle holiday presentation, now preparing for its 15th year, and he has overseen more than $10 million of historic preservation and capital improvements to the historic estate. Sherer lives in Oshkosh with his husband and four sons.
This episode starts with a meal around a fire, in a place where people have been cooking and eating for more than 5,000 years. Our hosts are Marvin Defoe and Edwina Buffalo-Reyes, members of the Red Cliff band of Lake Superior Ojibwe in Bayfield County. For the last three years, the Red Cliff Tribal Historic Preservation Office has been collaborating with two archaeologists helping excavate sites on tribal lands. Listen to hear what they are doing to reclaim and revitalize the deep history and culture of their people—and to help train a new generation of scholars committed to centering indigenous knowledge.Voices in this episode:Marvin Defoe is an educator, teacher, birch bark canoe builder, and Red Cliff elder. He grew up in the Red Cliff community and is part of the sturgeon clan. Named Shingway Banase in Anishinaabe, he is passionate about maintenance and revitalization of the Ojibwe language. Marvin is past Vice Chair on the tribal council and has been the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for four years. Learn more about the Red Cliff Ojibwe from Marvin in this video from PBS and Wisconsin First Nations educational resources.Edwina Buffalo-Reyes is from Red Cliff and of the eagle clan. In her words, "Ziigwaanikwe nindizhinikaaz. Miskwaabekaang nindoonjibaa. Migizi nindoodem. I am a mother first and always. I have three children - one adult and two still living at home. My passion is serving my community in all aspects and spectrums of need. I am currently the Assistant Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for my community. My life path has come full circle and has returned me to my community to raise my children and learn as much as I can about the history and ways of life of my people, the Anishinaabe - past and present."Heather Walder is a lecturer in the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, and a research associate at the Field Museum in Chicago, Illinois. Since 2018, she has co-directed Gete Anishinaabeg Izhichigewin Community Archaeology Project, a collaborative endeavor of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and academic archaeologists. Her research interests include copper metallurgy and glass bead studies to better understand Indigenous trade networks of eastern North America.John Creese is an anthropological archaeologist in the department of Sociology and Anthropology at North Dakota State University with research interests in archaeological theory, landscape and settlement archaeology, GIS, personhood and the body, and community and Indigenous archaeologies. His current fieldwork focusses on collaborative Indigenous archaeology in the Western Great Lakes region of North America. He has published on topics such as rock art and relational ontologies, emotion-work and material culture, and Iroquoian architecture and settlement organization. Dr. Creese is also currently serving as the Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Journal of Archaeology.
We all eat. But the foods we eat, and have access to, varies widely. In this episode, we meet some people who have been gardening in Green Bay's vibrant community garden program for years. They tell us why these gardens matter, what they grow, and how planting seeds impacts their lives in real ways. We also talk with some of the women who got the garden program started, figured out what makes a garden thrive, and are keeping it going despite ongoing challenges."We learned that 41% of the people who were food insecure said, 'Oh yeah, having a garden would really help me.'” - Karen Early. In 1994 Karen went to the city of Green Bay with the results of surveys done at area food pantries. They gave her a vacant lot and said she could start a community garden. That first year, they had six families. Three years later, there were 176 families working across four gardens. In the 2021 summer season, there will be 250 families working on 12 different garden plots! This is most people in the program’s history.In 2019, Wisconsin Humanities awarded Brown County Extension's Community Garden Program a Mini Grant for a project called "Exploring Cultural Roots."  A public event gave community members the opportunity to interact and learn from the gardening traditions and foods of Brown County’s non-European cultures.The Community Gardens were developed in 1996 as part of an initiative to increase food security in Brown County. Learn more about Brown County Extension Community Gardens program and the Friends group, the fundraising arm that helps to support the garden program.Voices in this episode:Margaret Franchino was the Community Garden Coordinator for the Brown County Community Gardens Program from 2014 until June of 2021. During her time with the program, Margaret worked with hundreds of families to empower them to grow affordable, nutritious, and culturally appropriate food. Margaret's interest in gardening and food security stemmed from volunteering with the Madison Area Food Pantry Gardens while growing up. Karen Early is the FoodWIse Coordinator at UW-Madison Division of Extension Brown County. As a registered nutritionist and food advocate throughout her career, Karen has been passionate about sustainable eating, local food systems, and their benefits to the health of all individuals and the environment. Her work with U-W Madison Extension FoodWIse addresses food security, local food systems, food access equity, and nutrition education.Cheryl Williams helped stabilize the gardens as an important food source for local immigrant and low income families in 2013. She worked with the Hmong community and the greater Green Bay Community Foundation in 2019 to establish the Friends of the Community Gardens 501c3 & endowment fund to improve the sustainability, growth, and future opportunities of the Brown County Community Gardens.Nhoua Duffek loves to share her passion for Hmong food and cooking. She teaches cooking classes and was part of a program called 'Exploring Cultural Roots' organized by Extension Brown County’s Community Garden and funded in part with a grant from Wisconsin Humanities. The garden open house gave community members the opportunity to interact and learn from the gardening traditions and foods of Brown County’s non-European cultures. Nhoua served as an interpreter for this episode.
*A head’s up that this episode contains discussion of sexual assault and human trafficking. If this doesn't feel like the right time to listen, we invite you to check out the resources below and hope you'll tune in next month for the next episode of Human Powered.*Maya Angelou once said, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” Rachel Monaco-Wilcox understands this. She founded LOTUS, a free victim rights legal clinic, and Untold Stories, a writing and art-making workshop for survivors of human trafficking. In this episode, we talk with Rachel about her work, as well as participants of the workshop who carry the torch and share their stories so that others may find their own way. Rachel is one of those people who blazes new trails, but she does not walk alone. She brings others along to find beauty, courage, and strength within themselves.The Untold Stories writers workshop and survivor empowerment program is nationally recognized for its innovative approach that combines art therapy, creative writing, and law to help survivors process their trauma, reclaim their autonomy, and emerge with a sense of purpose and strength. To learn more about Lotus Legal Clinic and its Survivor Empowerment programming, please visit year, pre-COVID, they host a spring showcase with workshop participants. Wisconsin Humanities is proud to have supported this project for many years through our grant program.Check out this short video from the 2018 event.Some of the artwork and writing from the program is published in magazines, available from the website here.Additionally, the Untold Stories 2020 Interactive Gallery and a series of videos bring these works to life.It's important to know your rights. This document from LOTUS Legal Clinic provides Victim & Witness Rights in Wisconsin.The voices in this episode:Rachel Monaco-Wilcox is an artist, lawyer, mentor, teacher, and consultant. Her work has served marginalized and exploited people (elders, those with special needs, and victims of human trafficking, sexual exploitation or assault).  Merging the power of the humanities with legal and social justice has been her unique professional niche. Rachel is the founder of LOTUS Legal Clinic, teaches Art Therapy doctoral students, and has a private practice in Trusts and Estates. In 2021 she founded a small publishing company called Minerva Press, LLC. She is also an accomplished ultramarathoner and raises Vizslas. Read Rachel's Love Wisconsin story here.Traci Powell lives in Orlando where she is a writer and psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner offering counseling to other survivors. She is working to start an Untold Stories program in Orlando.Lisa McCormick is a mother and parent advocate. She served on a task force with former Governor Scott Walker to help end trafficking in Wisconsin.Austin M. Reece is Director of Survivor Empowerment at LOTUS Legal Clinic, Lecturer in Philosophy at Mount Mary University, and a poet. At LOTUS Legal he develops and implements trauma-informed, humanities-based educational programming for survivors of sexual violence and human trafficking, and edits Untold Stories, a literary magazine that publishes survivor writings alongside visual art responses. His poems and essays have recently appeared in Crannóg, Rise & Thrive, The Milwaukee Independent, Bramble, and Coffin Bell, among others.
The Driftless region of Wisconsin is no stranger to flooding. Its spectacular valleys and ridges were formed by the flow of rushing water over millions of years. But in recent memory, the floods are getting more intense, and happening more often—a combination that is having a profound impact on local people and communities. In this episode, we’ll hear stories from people who experienced the flooding firsthand, from farmers to firefighters. And we’ll hear from people who think that these stories might just hold the key for creating a sustainable future in the Driftless—and beyond.In 2019, The Driftless Writing Center based in Viroqua submitted a grant application to Wisconsin Humanities describing "Stories from the Flood." The project was to record interviews with residents about their experiences of the catastrophic flood of 2018. "Stories from the Flood" was awarded a Major Grant and the seed of that idea has grown and continues to expand. The project published a book that can be read online here.In this episode:Caroline Gottschalk Druschke is an associate professor in the Department of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she incorporates her research interests in watershed-based conservation into her teaching. She is also earning a master's degree in environmental resources with a focus on stream ecology.Tim Hundt has worked as a journalist in the Driftless Region for the last 20 years: as a reporter for the Vernon County Broadcaster, News Director for three radio stations in Viroqua (WVRQ-Q102-WKPO), and as a freelancer livestreaming under the VernonReporter name. He has covered the flooding that has impacted the region as well as environmental issues, local government, and politics. Born and raised in La Crosse County on a dairy farm at the top of the Coon Creek watershed, Tim now lives in Viroqua where he works as a district representative for Congressman Ron Kind. He has written about the watersheds including the Lessons of Coon Creek and worked with the Driftless Writing Center on the “Stories From Flood” project that included a video he produced about the watersheds.Curt Meine is a conservation biologist, historian, and writer who serves as a senior fellow with both the Aldo Leopold Foundation and the Center for Humans and Nature, and as associate adjunct professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has written several books, including Aldo Leopold: His Life and Work (University of Wisconsin Press, 1988).  You can read his reflections on The Driftless Area, where he lives, in "The Edge of Anamoly" and hear him interviewed on Backcountry Hunters & Anglers.  He also edited The Driftless Reader, which includes writings by Native people, explorers, scientists, historians, farmers, songwriters, journalists, and poets.Ellen and Nick Voss live with their coonhound Loki on a small farm near Soldiers Grove in Wisconsin’s Driftless Area. They spend their free time fly fishing for trout and muskies, finding new rivers to paddle, and road biking. Ellen is the Aquatic Invasive Species Program Director with River Alliance of Wisconsin, and Nick is the head fly fishing guide at the Driftless Angler fly shop in Viroqua.
Who are the experts in a city? In a neighborhood? In this episode, we meet a professor of architecture who has designed a ‘field school’ that encourages students to dig into these questions. We sit on front porches in some of Milwaukee’s most economically challenged neighborhoods to learn from residents that building community, and caring for a place, takes more than a hammer and nails.In this episode:Dr. Arijit Sen is a professor at UW-Milwaukee, where he teaches courses in architectural design and urban cultural landscapes. He cofounded Buildings-Landscapes-Cultures, a program for students in the Architecture and Art History doctoral programs at UW-Milwaukee and UW-Madison. The BLC Field School mentioned in this episode has ongoing projects that are documented on this website. Arijit has worked on post disaster reconstruction and community-based design in the Lower Ninth Ward, New Orleans and written extensively about South Asian immigrant cultural landscapes. He served on the board of the Vernacular Architecture Forum, a national organization dedicated to the study, preservation and analysis of the everyday world.Camille Mays is the founder of Peace Gardens MKE. She explains that with the blessing of families who have lost people due to gun violence, she plants perennial flowers as a way to care for her neighbors while improving the neighborhood. She speaks as part of local and national forums about her work and serves on city and local committees. Camille has been featured in many articles, including:- Picturing Milwaukee- My Block: The Peace Gardens of Sherman Park- Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service: How Camille Mays finds peace after gun violence took her sonCheri Fuqua is the founder of The Middle Ground, a community organization that provides employment opportunities, along with resources and life skills, to help Black youth in Milwaukee. She is an AmeriCorps Alumni and a graduate of the Neighborhood Leadership Institute. In 2016 Ms. Cheri was honored with a Resident Leader Award from Mayor Tom Barrett. For over twenty years, she has maintained a strong presence in her community by connecting residents, leaders, and stakeholders at monthly meetings.Chelsea Alison Wait is a PhD candidate in Architecture at the School of Architecture and Urban Planning (SARUP) at UWM. Chelsea focuses on community collaboration, storytelling, public history, local architecture history, and finding ways to integrates her public art practice. Chelsea’s research looks at how people practice care as it relates to the built environment and urban landscape. She is an adjunct faculty at SARUP, teaching introduction to design and local architecture histories, and an associate lecturer in the Peck School of the Arts, where she teaches teaches multicultural history of America and artwork.
Season 1 Preview

Season 1 Preview


Human Powered is a new podcast about people making places better. In our first season, we are traveling around the state of Wisconsin to see how big ideas and everyday people are coming together for extraordinary change. In this preview, you'll hear from some of those people: Arijit Sen, Caroline Gottschalk Druschke, Rachel Monaco-Wilcox, and Tracey Robertson.The first episode drops on March 10th. The show is hosted by Jimmy Gutierrez and brought to you by Wisconsin Humanities and Love Wisconsin, and produced by Field Noise Soundworks.To learn more, visit
This is a preview of the first episode of Human Powered, a new podcast from Wisconsin Humanities about how people make places better. The episode spotlights Tracey Robertson, a nonprofit leader and community organizer who wanted the town of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, to see people of color differently. So she created a photo exhibit.Take a listen to this snippet of her story and hear from of the people it touched, and subscribe now wherever you get your podcasts so you can be sure to get the full first episode when it comes out later this summer.
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