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Background Image Men loading hay bales on a trailer as the sun sets.

Ad Astra: Working Hard in the Heartland

Ad Astra: Working Hard in the Heartland was a collaboration among Humanities Kansas and partners across the state in an effort to elevate the stories of working Kansans. Through a range of projects and events focusing on Kansans and how they make ends meet, the initiative sparked conversations about what it means to be working class in 21st Century Kansas and highlighted the resilience of the often overlooked and overworked members of our communities. Below, explore essays and resources that continue these conversations today.

Humanities Kansas and partners hosted several events across the state focusing on Kansans and how they make ends meet.

Related Events & Activities

Kinsley
Ad Astra: Working Hard in Edwards County
November 16, 2019 1:00pm

The Kinsley Public Library presented stories of working Kansans in Edwards Country, featured through conversation and an exhibit of workplace photos highlighting the resilience of the often overlooked and overworked members of the community. An exhibit opening and half-day forum was held on November 16, 2019, exploring the topics of health, housing, farm-related suicide, and migrant workers. 

Emporia
Spring 2020

Residents in Lyon County shared their stories at an open mic event and a storytelling event organized by the Emporia Public Library. The Emporia Arts Council hosted an exhibit featuring workers from Emporia and the surrounding community. 

"Heartland" Comes to TALK

HK has added 40 copies of "Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth" by Sarah Smarsh to Talk About Literature in Kansas

Family History Writing Workshop

Bring Kim Stanley's "Moment by Moment: Family History Writing Workshop" to your community. The workshop encourages participants to follow Sarah Smarsh's lead and take their family research and lore and turn it into stories. The workshop is available to all Kansas nonprofits through HK's Speakers Bureau.  

The Big Idea

Read Jason Wesco's Big Idea essay "It's Time to Change the Way We Talk About Poverty" and find his recommendations for films, books, and articles to spark a conversation. 

Student Essays

Read essays by students at Emporia State University exploring the topic of working hard in the heartland.

Think and Drink with Sarah Smarsh

The initiative kicked off on October 23, 2019, with "Think and Drink" event featuring Sarah Smarsh, bestselling author of "Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth" in Overland Park. Thank you to the 500 Kansans who attended in an evening of fast-paced conversation about class and rural America. Think and Drink was presented in partnership with the Kansas Library Association. 

The Instagram Book Club 

HK's annual Instagram book club featured Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth, by Sarah Smarsh. Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library Readers Librarian and TALK discussion leader, Miranda Ericsson, led a series of discussions about "Heartland" on HK's Instagram account throughout the month of September and October.

 

Kansans Have
Joined the Movement