Brainstorming: The Human Connection

Schedule (Sessions are on Thursdays via Zoom at 10:30 a.m.)


  • Dec. 2 | The Power of Persuasion What does persuasion mean? How are people persuaded to do things?
  • Dec. 9 | Belief Systems Featuring Lawrence Diggs in conversation with Dr. David Nehring, Executive Director of Bethesda Christian Counseling in Sioux Falls. Nehring will explain why beliefs are central to his work; he'll also address the role of beliefs in therapy. Participants will be asked to answer questions such as: Why do you believe what you believe? Where do your beliefs come from? How do you test your beliefs?
  • Dec. 16 | Murder in a Small Town: The Ripple Effect of Homicide Murder leads to trauma, change and transformation — and in the intimate setting of a small town, the impact of such a crime can be especially startling. Lawrence Diggs discusses with Mary Alice Haug her latest book Out of Loneliness: Murder and Memoir — How did the 1962 murder of Myron Menzie affect the small town of Chamberlain? We recommend participants watch Haug's Virtual 2021 South Dakota Festival of Books session for more context prior to the discussion.
  • Dec. 23 | Mental Health and the Holidays The holidays can be a difficult time for some people. Special guest Susan Kroger, Director of Programs for Lost&Found, will discuss how her organization helps people deal with depression during the holidays. Lost&Found offers resource awareness programming and support communities for students at risk for depression and suicide.
  • Dec. 30 | New Year's Resolutions Where did the term "New Year's Resolution" come from? Have you ever made a New Year's Resolution? If so, how did you proceed? What do you think of the concept?


  • Jan. 6 | Medical Humanities Featuring Lawrence Diggs in conversation with Peter Hoesing, a member of the ethics and humanities faculty at the University of South Dakota's Sanford School of Medicine. Hoesing will discuss his new grant project, "Shaping Medical Humanities in South Dakota," which explores the benefits of integrating humanities-related practices — such as music therapy, art therapy, and integrative medicine — with traditional medicine. Participants will be asked to consider the following questions: Have you ever thought about combining the healing power of humanities with traditional medicine? What might the benefits or results be?
  • Jan. 13 | How Are You Doing? SDHC launched Brainstorming in July 2020 to address civic unrest and racial bias in the wake of the George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis — and to create connection for the quarantined, a forum for open conversations with active listeners. Participants will be asked to consider the following questions: How are you doing at this point in the pandemic, as COVID-19 cases are once again on the rise? Have any particular activities been helpful for you? Are there any topics that would be helpful for you to discuss in future Brainstorming sessions? 
  • Jan. 20 | Reinventing Yourself Featuring Sioux Falls business owner Arthur McCray in conversation with host Lawrence Diggs, this discussion will focus on personal change and transformation. After suffering a serious knee injury playing college basketball, McCray decided to transfer his energy from the court to the business world. He reinvented himself in the process to create Advie, a matchmaking service in Sioux Falls that pairs businesses with marketing agencies. After hearing McCray’s story, audience members will be asked to discuss the following questions: Have you ever reinvented yourself? If so, how did you do it? How can a person know when such a life-changing decision should be made?
  • Jan. 27 | Staying Positive Mental health is a constant struggle for many people, and we are often advised to "stay positive" as a coping mechanism. Do you believe in the power of positivity? Do you practice "staying positive?" If so, can you share ideas or techniques?

Brainstorming Video Highlights

Diggs Hosting Weekly Sessions

The South Dakota Humanities Council, in cooperation with longtime SDHC scholar Lawrence Diggs, has developed a program to bring people peace and unity during these trying and divisive times. 

Brainstorming: The Human Connection is a weekly discussion series led by Diggs. When it becomes safe once again to meet in person, sessions will be held in person. Until then, participants will gather via Zoom. Diggs will use his humanities expertise to introduce and connect people with one another to help avoid tragic misunderstandings like the one that occurred in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020, when George Floyd, an African-American man, died after police kneeled on his back and neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Read our official statement on that situation here). 

Since this event, unrest has spread across the US, stemming from deeply rooted racial injustices that plague both America's past and present. As a State Humanities Council, it is our duty to provide humanities solutions to heal communities across their states and facilitate meaningful conversations in light of these circumstances.

NOTE: SDHC expects program participants to behave respectfully. Any questionable conduct may be considered grounds for removal from program participation.

Brainstorming Sessions: Schedule and Signup

About Brainstorming: The Human Connection

Download free Brainstorming Toolkit

About: Diggs is the host of Brainstorming: The Human Connection, a weekly South Dakota Humanities Council discussion series on forging human relationships. Audience participation is encouraged. Please note the meetings will be recorded. If you'd prefer not to be on the recording, you can attend and listen with your video and/or microphone turned off.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 829 9213 2991

Watch Previous Sessions


Brainstorming: The Human Connection Oct. 22 — Life as a Muslim in America

Brainstorming: The Human Connection Sept. 17 — Interview with 2020 Festival Presenter Alphonse Keasley

Brainstorming: The Human Connection Sept. 10 — Interview with Amy Scott-Stoltz, President of the League of Women Voters of South Dakota

Brainstorming: The Human Connection Aug. 20 — Tactics of Negotiation

Brainstorming: The Human Connection Aug. 13 — The Illusion of Race

Brainstorming: The Human Connection Aug. 6 — Interview with One Book SD Author Megan Phelps-Roper

Brainstorming: The Human Connection July 30 — Interview with Aberdeen Police Chief Dave McNeil

Event Calendar

7:00 pm | West River Research and Extension
9:00 am | Lake Area Technical College Student Center
9:00 am | Lake Area Technical College Student Center
2:30 pm | Beresford High School