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K-State Today

Division of Communications and Marketing
Kansas State University
128 Dole Hall
1525 Mid-Campus Drive North
Manhattan, KS 66506

August 24, 2020

Bolton, Ireton and Procter lead discussions for Humanities Kansas 'Crossroads' initiative

Submitted by Mirta Chavez

Three Kansas State University faculty members — Debra Bolton, Daniel Ireton and David Procter — have topics featured in Humanities Kansas' "Crossroads Conversations" speakers catalog. The catalog is a curated collection of presentations by local experts, historians, journalists, artists, and other facilitators and community members who focus on 21st century Kansas. The "Crossroads Conversations" catalog is part of the "Crossroads: Change in Rural America" initiative anchored by the Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition of the same name.

Humanities Kansas sponsors the "Crossroads: Change in Rural America" initiative in partnership with Smithsonian Institution's Museum on Main Street, a one-of-a-kind cultural project that serves small towns and residents of rural communities. "Crossroads" promotes fresh thinking about the history, culture and future of Kansas. For more information visit humanitieskansas.org.

Bolton, director of intercultural learning and academic success in Diversity and Multicultural Student Affairs and faculty member in the geography and geospatial sciences department, will lead a discussion on the short documentary film "Strangers in Town." The film tells the story of how global migration transformed and enriched Garden City, Kansas. Amidst the increased demands for housing, social services, education and infrastructure, current students at Garden City High School are flourishing. The film explores their stories, gives meaning to the city's motto "The World Grows Here," and provides an inspiring view of human possibility in the face of change that resonates in all communities. Bolton's extensive social research in the Southwest region instigated a collaboration with the filmmakers through connections with some of her research subjects. The film also features Bertha Mendoza, a nutrition specialist with K-State Research and Extension.

Ireton, associate professor and academic services librarian, will deliver a presentation that focuses on building connections through board games. His presentation "Games I Play with My Father: Building Connections Through Board Games" looks at how designer board games can connect players to history and how play brings communities together across varying backgrounds and generations. "I played games for years before I realized how much they taught me. Not just how to play, but things about the world — places and times I would never be able to visit," shares Ireton. "Then, when I thought I had it figured out, I found games that reflected my background and upbringing, and they surprised me again by teaching me about myself."

Procter, professor of communication studies and one of the founders of the Rural Grocery Store Initiative, will give a presentation on "The Rural Grocery Store: Innovative Community Builder." The presentation will discuss the challenges of the grocery store business, explore success stories, and consider how rural grocery stores build and strengthen community. "Independently owned grocery stores are the heartbeat of rural Kansas communities. But these small businesses are symbolic of the crossroads of which rural Kansas finds itself," Procter said. "Just as rural Kansas is facing challenges to its very existence, so are rural Kansas grocery stores. I'm excited to share some of the innovative ways Kansans are using local history and culture to keep these critical businesses alive and thriving."

"Crossroads Conversations" presentations are available to Kansas nonprofits through August 2021. For more information about the "Crossroads Conversations" catalog, visit humanitieskansas.org or humanitieskansas.org/doccenter/dce868703a414c4fae421055886b0554.

About Humanities Kansas
Humanities Kansas is an independent nonprofit spearheading a movement of ideas to empower the people of Kansas to strengthen their communities and our democracy. Since 1972, HK pioneers programming, grants, and partnerships to document shared stories to spark conversations and generate insights. For more information, make contact with Abigail Kaup, 785-357-0359, or visit humanitieskansas.org.