Brainstorming: The Human Connection

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


  • April 1 | Fiction and Lying Lawrence Diggs interviews Dr. Patrick Hicks, author and Writer-in-Residence at Augustana University in Sioux Falls, about the subject of lying and how it relates to writing fiction.
  • April 8 | Identifying How Hate Is Spread throughout South Dakota Lawrence Diggs interviews attorney Taneeza Islam, Executive Director of South Dakota Voices for Peace and South Dakota Voices for Justice, about hatred in South Dakota. 
  • April 15 | Reading Retention: Lawrence Diggs interviews Shelly Bayer, Assistant Director of the Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning at South Dakota State University, about how to get the most out of what you read.
  • April 22 | Understanding Poetry Must poetry be understood to be enjoyed? Does it matter if the reader interprets the poem differently than the poet?
  • April 29 | Productive Conversations How do you have a productive conversation with a person who does not engage in critical thinking, supported by mutually verifiable data? How do you have a productive conversation with a person who does not recognize or understand the concept of logical fallacies? How do you have a productive conversation with a person who has an emotional need to believe a certain thing, regardless of evidence contrary to that belief?

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.

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

Past Sessions

  • Sept. 3 | Topic: The Complications of Doing Objective Reporting Lawrence Diggs interviews 2020 Festival presenter Nick Martin, a staff writer at The New Republic. Martin covers Indian Country, with a focus on tribal sovereignty. 
  • Sept. 10 | Topic: Maximizing Voter Participation Lawrence Diggs interviews Amy Scott-Stoltz, President of the League of Women Voters of South Dakota.
  • Sept. 17 | Topic: Peace Education Lawrence Diggs interviews 2020 Festival Presenter Alphonse Keasley, author and academic trailblazer, about his work in peace education.
  • Sept. 24 | Topic: John Lewis and Civil Rights in America Lawrence Diggs interviews 2020 Festival presenter Ann Bausum about her friendship with John Lewis and writing about the Civil Rights Movement.
  • Oct. 1 | Topic: The Actual and Potential Impact of Books During Festival of Books week, Lawrence Diggs moderates a discussion about reading - are we reading enough? How can well read citizens improve society? Bring your ideas.
  • Oct. 8 | Topic: Economic Development Lawrence Diggs hosts a discussion with economic developers including Mike Knutson, Lindsey Kimber, Casey Burrus, Paula Jensen, Andrew Van Kuren, Kristi Wagner, Laura Wright, Rita Anderson. Participants will explore the interaction of economic development and human connections; how economic development affects human connections and how human connections affect economic development.
  • Oct. 15 | Topic: “The lives of Muslim Women in the United States” Lawrence Diggs facilitates a conversation with Muslim women about how they experience life in the United States.
  • Oct. 22 | Topic: Personal Relationships and Politics. In this divisive era, how can you stay friends with your friends who have different viewpoints? Lawrence Diggs offers advice and facilitates an open conversation. 
  • Oct. 29 | Topic: Intimacy Danae Verba, REACH Coordinator for Lutheran Social Services, Independent Living Services, joins Lawrence Diggs for a conversation about handling this delicate subject matter within the family dynamic. Conversation points include how to make it easier for children to discuss this topic with parents and how to navigate cultural barriers regarding the topic. 
  • Nov. 5 | Topic: Freedom What is the definition of freedom? Must one person’s freedom come at the expense of others' freedom? How can freedom be negotiated?
  • Nov. 12 | Topic: The Place of Poetry in Changing Society What effect can poetry have - what is its role in creating community? Featuring South Dakota Poet Laureate Christine Stewart-Nunez.
  • Nov. 19 | Topic: Courage What is it? What is it useful for? How do we get and keep it?
  • Nov. 26 Thanksgiving Day Special Event | Topic: Native American Beliefs on the Environment What is the Native philosophy on the Earth, and how could it help us with current environmental issues? Featuring Lakota tribal member Jace DeCory, an SDHC scholar.
  • Jan. 7 | Music in Other Cultures How is music celebrated in other cultures, and what role does it play? Featuring special guest Peter J. Hoesing, Ph.D., Director of Sponsored Programs at Dakota State University and member of the SDHC Speakers Bureau
  • Jan. 14 | Unity What is unity, and how can we achieve it?
  • Jan. 21 | Precision in Language What is precise language, and can practicing it help people achieve greater understanding of one another? Featuring special guest Charles Woodard, Distinguished Professor Emeritus in English at South Dakota State University and Pulitzer Prize-nominated author.
  • Jan. 28 | The MAKERSPACE Jennifer Quail of the Brookings Economic Development Corporation discusses how people are uniting in creativity at The MAKERSPACE, a shared workshop and creative space designed to support a community of innovators, designers, engineers, entrepreneurs and creators in the Brookings region.
  • Feb. 4 | Emotional vs Logical Processing (NOTE: This weeks session is at 7 p.m., not 10:30. Regular schedule will resume Feb. 11). What are their values cost/benefit? How do you process/balance them?
  • Feb. 11 | Dunbar's Number What is it? What implications does it have for human communications? What implications does it have for your life?
  • Feb. 18 | Technology in 2021 How has the definition changed during the last 20 years? What is the value. i.e. cost/benefit? Does it disrupt?

Event Calendar

2:00 pm | Grand Living at Lake Lorraine
5:30 pm | Hand County Library