We at the Maine Humanities Council are looking for exceptional people to facilitate our multi-session reading and discussion programs – our book groups – in all corners of Maine, with all sorts of people.
Our facilitators value, enjoy, and are really really good at reading and exploring poems, stories, and ideas in conversation with other curious, interested people.
They attend closely to what is happening in a book group discussion as it happens, listening closely to what people say and also for what they don’t say, observing reactions and interactions, noticing the space and the way people hold themselves in that space, taking note too of their own experience of this same moment.
And they do their utmost to help the conversation to unfold well – setting a welcoming, respectful tone; asking, from time to time, open-ended and thought-provoking questions; helping participants navigate differences of opinion; gracefully keeping conversation grounded in the text but still organic, lively but with room for thoughtful silence; and gently, deliberately making room for all participants to try their hand at saying what they mean to say.
Facilitation as we understand it is not simply a skill that one acquires, but a practice in the richest possible sense. It requires full presence, full attention, and a selfless commitment to the group’s joint experience. Each session is an opportunity to practice attending, fostering conversation, supporting exploration of poems and stories and ideas. So some of our facilitators work with words professionally, as writers, teachers, professors – but many don’t. Some have formal training in facilitation – but many don’t.
We encourage applications from candidates with diverse backgrounds, particularly those from historically underrepresented groups, whose professional and personal experiences can help us work toward realizing our vision of the communities of Maine transformed by the power and pleasure of ideas.
MHC contracts and pays all facilitators, and reimburses mileage.