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Arts, Sports & Culture

Pittsburgh Humanities Festival Announces Lineup Including NPR's Guy Raz

Kathleen J. Davis
90.5 WESA
WQED's Rick Sebak, Braddock Mayor John Fetterman and activist Giselle Fetterman in conversation with Pittsburgh Corporation for Public Broadcasting CEO Terry O'Reilly on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018.

A mix of journalists, artists and academics will take part in this year's Pittsburgh Humanities Festival. The 3rd annual event will take place Feb. 24 through March 4 in the Cultural District. 

Speakers include NPR's Guy Raz, paleontologist Nizar Ibrahim and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Susan Faludi. A full schedule is available here.

Randal Miller, Cultural Trust director of dance programming and special projects, said organizers wanted this year's festival to include a range of topics, from artificial intelligence to the impact of musical icon Lou Reed.

"Not all things that are interesting and valuable to learn are boring," Miller said.

Tagged "smart talk about stuff that matters," this year's festival will also explore heavier topics like forced labor on lowcountry rice plantations and sexual harassment on college campuses, plus activities for children, including a shadow puppet show that incorporates digital animation. 

"Having this in the entertainment district as opposed to a college campus gives it that air of entertainment, and that is very much what we're trying to do here," he said.

The festival was born out of a collaboration with the trust and Carnegie Mellon University in 2015. Miller said about 600 people attended that inaugural event, and last year's drew about 2,000.

Previous headliners included exiled Egyptian comedian Bassem Youssef, law professor and former Black Panther Kathleen Cleaver and actor and activist George Takei.

90.5 WESA is a media sponsor of the Pittsburgh Humanities Festival.

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