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AZ Speaks – New Speaker Guidelines

Online Application Deadline – Friday, March 31, 2017 5:00 PM
AZ Speaks Application Guidelines for November 2017-2019 Catalog

Click here for a PDF download of the AZ Speaks Application Guidelines

*New Changes for November 2017 – October 2019 Catalog*

In an effort to keep the presentation catalog relevant and impactful, we require that presentations be rotated per cycle (every two years). Speakers will have a maximum of two presentations and will have the opportunity to refresh the presentation topic or content. Rotated presentations will be able to return to the presentation catalog following a one cycle period. History Alive has been combined into the Road Scholars presentation category as it follows the same Q & A format. Speakers are still able to present as a historical figure as it fits their presentation.

Arizona Humanities (AH) supports public programming in the humanities that promotes the understanding of human thoughts, actions, creations, and values. AH works with cultural and educational organizations to bring humanities programs to residents throughout Arizona. AZ Speaks members earn an honorarium to travel statewide to deliver presentations to public audiences at non-profit organizations. These include public libraries, museums, historical sites, historical and archaeological societies, parks, tribal entities, K-12 schools (Speakers in the Schools only), community colleges, community centers, and other organizations at AH’s discretion.

AZ Speaks is comprised of two different presentation types:

Road Scholars

The Road Scholars program brings the best in humanities scholarship to virtually every corner of Arizona. Presentations are designed to connect local experts to an inquiring public, and foster lively discussions on cultural and historical topics. Speakers may choose to present as a particular historical figure as it fits their presentation.

Speakers in the Schools

The Speakers in the Schools program offers top-quality lectures on a wide variety of humanities subjects relevant to Arizona K-12 curricula. Speakers will work directly with teachers prior to the program in order to tailor the presentation to a specific grade level, meeting Arizona educational standards.

AH Responsibilities

All AZ Speaks presentations are published in a catalog on AH’s website.  Catalogs consist of brief biographical data on each speaker, as well as a synopsis of each speaker’s presentations. AH distributes information on AZ Speaks to hundreds of libraries, museums, schools and other educational, community, and cultural groups in the state. AH covers the costs of a $200 speaker honorarium, travel, lodging (if applicable), and meals. For more information on reimbursement details, please contact Programs Manager Ellie Hutchison ehutchison@azhumanities.org or Programs & Grants Coordinator Yadi Fajardo dfajardo@azhumanities.org.

Speaker Responsibilities

Speakers are not required to meet all requests for their presentations. Organizations requesting presentations are informed that scheduling is determined by the speaker. Speakers should make themselves as available as possible, not only in terms of presentation dates and times, but also in terms of location. AH serves communities throughout Arizona and therefore speakers must be willing and able to present statewide. Please do not apply if you will be unavailable for bookings for a large stretch of time in 2017-2019.

Application Instructions


Eligible speakers are those individuals considered to be humanities scholars. A humanities scholar must have expertise in the field(s) related to the humanities content of his/her presentations. A humanities scholar, as defined by AH, is an individual who

  1. a) has at least a master’s degree in a humanities discipline,
  2. b) is a Native American elder or traditional teacher, or
  3. c) is a recognized expert who has a verifiable record of teaching, research, or publications on a particular topic.

Eligible speakers must live or work in Arizona. Eligible speakers must be genuinely interested in addressing public audiences and be available November 1, 2017 through October 31, 2019.

Presentation Proposals

Among other materials (listed below), applicants are required to submit presentation descriptions. 

Presentations must be designed to last about an hour, with roughly 40 minutes allotted for presentation, and 20 minutes allotted for a question-answer dialogue with the audience (Speakers in the Schools presentations may differ). Strong proposals will describe presentations that create a relevant, compelling, and interactive experience for audiences across Arizona.

Although AH considers all presentations based on humanities disciplines, presentations focusing on themes and topics from the following fields of study are highly encouraged:

  • Archaeology and anthropology
  • Arizona and Arizona history
  • Art, architecture, dance and music history
  • Storytelling and folklore traditions
  • Film and media
  • Environmental sustainability (as it relates to the humanities)
  • Globalism (including but not limited to economics, war, migration and immigration, technology, and ethics)
  • Justice studies/jurisprudence
  • Native American studies (including but not limited to contemporary Native literature and literary criticism, art and culture)
  • Race, gender, and ethnicity
  • Science, technology, and culture (as it relates to the humanities)
  • Women’s studies

Speakers should assume little, if any, prior knowledge of the subject on the part of the audience. AH encourages speakers to select topics that are specific rather than general. Creative presentations involving Arizona’s cultural diversity, community and culture, women’s issues, and art and literature produced in the southwest are highly encouraged. In addition, presentations that include material artifacts, visual aids, demonstrations, and/or participatory activities (aside from the question-answer dialogue) are also strongly encouraged, as are presentations that use the humanities to provide context for contemporary issues.

AH cannot support presentations that advocate specific political, social, or public policy positions. Speakers are advised to examine different political, historical, or philosophical perspectives on an issue, but speakers must be unbiased in their presentation of the various perspectives.

AH also cannot support presentations for which the speaker uses the presentation as a means for fund-raising. Speakers may not promote their own business interests during their presentations. Presentations may not be used in promotion of or serve as discussions of those books. If speakers have authored books related to their presentation topic, they may mention publications at the end of the presentation but are not permitted to sell books. However, speakers may ask the host site to facilitate the transactions of speaker publications through the host site’s gift shop or store.

Required Application Materials

The following materials are required for the online application. Paper applications will not be accepted.  

  • Contact Information, including short biography and headshot
  • A current résumé or curriculum vitae that speaks to applicant competency as a humanities scholar: Relevant volunteer and community experience that illustrates the applicant’s ability to work with diverse public audiences and/or facilitate community conversations should be included. Speakers in the Schools applicants must list experience that illustrates their ability to present to a K-12 classroom audience.
  • Current Employer Information if applicable
  • Presentation titles and descriptions
    • At least one but no more than two proposals per applicant
    • Up to two presentations will be selected for the new AZ Speaks Catalog
    • Applicants that are current or returning speakers must consider updating their presentations and/or addressing the highly-encouraged themes and topics mentioned above, especially if their current presentations are not requested or well-received.
    • Presentations must be rotated per catalog cycle
  • Presentation Types
    • Road Scholars – Presentations must be designed to last about an hour, with roughly 40 minutes allotted for presentation, and 20 minutes allotted for a question-answer dialogue with the audience.
    • Speakers in the Schools – Included must be the Arizona education standards that will be met by the presentation. The Arizona education standards can be found here: http://www.azed.gov/standards-practices/ Most presentation topics will fall under the social studies category. The Category, the Strand number and the Concept number (i.e. Social Studies, Strand 1, Concept 5) must be identified. Such identification will keep the standards broad so as to meet all grade levels. Presentations must last 30-40 minutes (classes typically last 50 minutes). Discussions will be determined in collaboration with the host teachers.
  • Supporting materials: These include video clips, digital images, and/or media clippings that relate to the applicant’s experience as a public scholar.
  • Two (1-page) Letters of Reference are required
    • Please include only peer references that can appropriately share their history and experiences of your work as a scholar/expert/tribal elder
Application Submission

Submit applications via the online application.


Paper application materials will not be accepted.

Questions should be directed to Yadi Fajardo, Programs and Grants Coordinator, at 602-257-0335 x23 or dfajardo@azhumanities.org.

Application Process Timeline

  • AZ Speaks Application Informational Webinar – March 2, 2017 (10:00 – 11:00 a.m.)
  • Application materials must be submitted to AH by March 31, 2017 ( 5:00 p.m.)
  • New first-time applicants may be contacted for an interview
  • All applicants will be notified of AH’s decision to offer or decline a place on the roster by May 8, 2017
  • New speaker orientation webinar will be held on May 15, 2017
  • In-person orientation will be held on August, 2017 – TBD
  • 2017-2019 AZ Speaks catalog roster will be released on June 1, 2017 for presentations scheduled between November 1, 2017 to October 31, 2019

AH receives many more proposals than can be accommodated – the application process is competitive. A review committee comprised of AH staff, AH board members, and the public will review applications and conduct interviews.

In reviewing applications, the committee considers not only an applicant’s background and expertise, but will also take into account variety in geography, discipline, topic, gender, and ethnicity. 

The review committee will be looking for speakers/presentations that best adhere to criteria below:

  • Humanities Content – presentations that align with the Arizona Humanities mission
  • Speaker Experience – speaker expertise and ability to speak knowledgeably about their topic
  • Presentation Impact – overall impact and originality of presentation topic
  • Speaker’s Presentation Skills and Delivery – history of public speaking record and presentation style

Please have all materials ready at the time of application, as the application form cannot be saved or updated at a later time. Thank you. For more information on applying for the AZ Speaks program, please contact Yadi Fajardo, Programs and Grants Coordinator, at 602-257-0335 x23 or dfajardo@azhumanities.org.



Yadi Fajardo, Programs and Grants Coordinator

dfajardo@azhumanities.org / 602-257-0335 x23