Become a Speaker

It is time for us to begin accepting online applications for the Kentucky Humanities Speakers Bureau for the next program year beginning August 1, 2021 and running through July 31, 2022. Deadline for applications is April 16, 2021.

KH speakers are scholars with either a master's or Ph.D. in the humanities or published authors in a humanities discipline. Published authors may speak on their book or the theme of their book.

Groups using the Speakers Bureau include historical societies, libraries, K-12 teachers, civic clubs, art and literary clubs, trade associations and professional societies, museums, leadership organizations, churches, and other community groups across the state. They usually provide excellent and interested audiences ranging in size from 25 to 50, but occasionally more than 100 people attend.

Our speakers offer two talks. A typical talk is approximately 30-45 minutes, followed by time for audience questions and answers. We survey community organizations to determine topics of special interest to them; then we try to match their interests with the speakers we offer. Kentuckians are always interested in Kentucky history and culture and the people who have had an impact on shaping the social, cultural, and political life of the Commonwealth. Kentucky Humanities also offers a selection of subjects to encourage audiences to explore a wider range of local, regional, national, or international issues through topics ranging from music to medicine to environment and sports history.

Kentucky Humanities generally avoids "how to" talks and programs that are limited to (rather than including) artistic performances, such as concerts or storytelling. We do, however, include published authors who give readings from their works and answer audience questions.

If you are selected as a speaker for 2021-22, the booking process will work as follows: A representative of the sponsoring group will first call/write you - not Kentucky Humanities - to determine if you are available for a particular date, time, and place. You are under no obligation to accept every request. You also decide how far you are willing to travel. Kentucky Humanities will handle the paperwork for all speaking engagements you accept and will pay you an honorarium of $175 plus travel at $.40 per mile and meals. If you accept an engagement that requires an overnight stay, the host group is obligated to provide lodging. At the time you accept a booking, you advise the sponsor if you will require lodging. In some small towns with no motels, you may be offered lodging in a private home along with a great home-cooked meal and a lot of hospitality.

We can't guarantee bookings. Kentucky Humanities does our best to select topics and speakers that match the interests of Kentuckians, but we never know how many calls you will receive. Typically, featured statewide speakers may give two to five talks during the year. However, speakers with very popular topics may be asked for more than 10. Sometimes, in spite of feedback from hosting organizations to the contrary, a speaker may receive no requests. This is one of those years that you should not be concerned if you did not get asked to give any talks. A pandemic will cause speaking requests to decrease!

We still do not have a good sense of weather groups will return to in-person programs. Some will and some will not. Please know that you are in complete control of your speaking engagements. If you are still uncomfortable in doing in-person talks, you may offer to do a virtual program with the group. Or you can turn down the request until you are comfortable with in-person programming. Please indicate on your application if you are willing to do virtual programs or in-person programs or both.

 If you are a first-time applicant, please go to the link above and complete the form as listed online by Friday, April 16, 2021. To renew your contract, please go to the link and complete the basic information. You do not have to enter talk descriptions if there are no changes. If you want to offer a new talk please enter the title and description of the new talk(s) (strongly advised). Please indicate how widely you are willing to travel on the travel question.

You must send your vita to be considered. So we ask that you send a copy of your vita in one of the following ways: upload with your application, email to, fax to 859/257-5933, or send by mail to Kentucky Humanities Speakers Bureau, 206 E. Maxwell St., Lexington, KY 40508.

We will contact you by June 3 if we can include your talks in our 2021-2022 Speakers Bureau.

Please check all that apply. See map above for counties in each region.
If you have previously been in the Speaker's Bureau, we only need the description of new talks or changes to "old" talks. 
Please list any special equipment needed for your talk that the community group will need to provide (i.e., piano, projector) 


Please list the last group who heard you talk and provide the project coordinator's name and email address.