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Text-Only Version of the Activating Heritage Conference schedule:

Tuesday, March 12th
9:00am – 5:00pm CT

UIC Campus
Student Center West
828 S. Wolcott Ave,
Suite 242 Chicago, IL


9:00 - 9:30am

Doors Open: Check In & Catered Breakfast / Networking

9:30 - 9:45am

Brief introductory remarks by CCA Executive Director Dr. Mónica Félix

John Russick, Board of Directors President

9:45am - 10:45

Featured panel: “Grants for Cultural Heritage Institutions”

In this panel, representatives for various granting organizations will discuss funding opportunities they have available that will be of interest to cultural heritage institutions. 


  • Panelist 1: Ellen Placey Wadey (Program Director)
    • Organization: Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation
    • Focus: The GDDF’s grants available for Broadening Narratives.
  • Panelist 2: Dave Joens (Coordinator of ISHRAB)
    • Organization: Illinois State Historical Records Advisory Board (ISHRAB)
    • Focus: Historical Grants Program
  • Panelist 3: Jackie Banks-Mahlum (Director of Programs)
    • Organization: Illinois Arts Council Agency / IACA)
    • Focus: General operating support
  • Panelist 4: Mark Hallett (Director of Grants Programs)
    • Organization: Illinois Humanities
    • Focus: Various grants – Action, Vision, Multiplier, and Activate History
10:45am - 11:00am

Break (coffee/tea); registrants head to other breakout rooms

11:00am - 12:00pm

Panel: “At Risk Collections – Two Case Studies”

This panel will present the stories of two cultural heritage organizations with collections that were (or currently are) at risk. Panelists will discuss the history behind the collection, what efforts have been made, and plans for the future. The panel is designed to lead to further conversation about efforts that worked, what could have changed, and also connect with area archivists & funders who might have ideas for any other cultural heritage institutions who are in a similar position.

Moderator: Dr. Rebecca Amato (Illinois Humanities / CCA Board of Directors)

  • Panelist 1: Ashley Dequila (FAHSC Board Member)
    • Organization: Filipino American Historical Society of Chicago (FAHSC – CCA Core Member)
      • Context: The FAHSC once had a museum, then were forced to shut down. Ms. Dequilla will talk about the emergency efforts to relocate, store, triage, and catalogue the collection. She will then discuss lessons learned, collaborators, and next steps.


    • Panelist 2: Marite Plume (Executive Director)
      • Organization: Latvian Folk Art Museum
  • This organization also once had a building with exhibits presenting the story of Latvian immigration to Chicago. The museum closed and the collection is now stored in her home. She will discuss the series of events that led to this, efforts to catalog and preserve the collections, and recent developments for storage and new collaborations.
11:00am - 12:00pm

“Leadership Workshop for CCA Members”

This is a roundtable designed for executive staff members of CCA member organizations. The topic will be: succession planning.

Discussion Facilitators:

  • John Russick (CCA President)
  • Mónica Félix (CCA Executive Director)
11:00am - 12:00pm

 “Getting Started with Digitization” 

This panel is designed for centers of cultural heritage that are interested in digitizing photo or document archives. They will see existing models for this, discuss equipment needs, hosting, metadata, volunteer training, and related topics.

Moderator: Dr. Nitha Nagubadi (CCA Board Director)

    • Panelist 1: Jessica BodeFrank
      • Organization: Chicago Collections Consortium
  • Panelist 2: Jennifer Dalzin (Director of Digital Initiatives and Services 
  • Organization: Newberry Library
  • Panelist 3: Melissa Rovner, Chicago History Museum
12:00 - 1:00pm

Lunch break – Catered

1:00 - 2:00pm

 “Low-Cost Solutions for Collections”

This panel is ideal for archives and cultural centers who are looking for ideas of how to preserve their collections on a tight budget. 


  • Panelist 1: Andrew Leith
    • Former CCA Conservation & Collections Program Manager
  • Panelist 2: Jacob Campbell (Lead Environmental Society Scientist / Adjunct Curator of Anthropology)
    • Organization: Field Museum
  • Panelist 3: Kate Swisher, Field Museum (Exhibitions Registrar)
1:00 - 2:00pm

 “Round tables: Nonprofit Jobs for Students”

This event is designed to provide students and early career professionals with the opportunity to meet with nonprofit professionals in a variety of positions in a low-stakes setting. During these conversations, they are welcome to ask about a typical day, what skills are desirable, and what professional networks they should join.

Table 1: Analú María Lopez, Newberry Library,  Ayer Librarian and Assistant Curator of American Indian and Indigenous Studies

Table 2: Jose (Jojo) Galvan Mora, Northwestern PhD/Co-curator, Chicago History Museum (“Aquí Chicago” Exhibit)

Table 3: Karen Christianson, Newberry Library Director of Public Programs and Adult Education

Table 4: Dorian H Nash, Smart Museum

1:00 - 2:00pm

“Marketing and Strategy Tips for Cultural Nonprofits”

How should cultural heritage centers and other institutions look at branding and design as a way to communicate their story, establish a collective identity, and activate its community? This session will explore this question and learn how it’s done from two Chicago designers who have worked with both small community-based groups to global nonprofits and foundations, Mere Montgomery and Demetrio Maguigad. You’ll learn how they’ve worked with their partners including the Center for Humans and Nature, The Chicago Teachers Union, The MacArthur Foundation, and even the Chicago Cultural Alliance in activating experiences through branding and design.

  • Panelist 1: Demetrio Cardona-Maguigad, Founder of LimeRed and current CCA Board Director
  • Panelist 2: Meredith Montgomery, LimeRed
2:00 - 2:10pm

Coffee/tea break & move to main area for keynote

2:10 - 3:00pm


She has served as a nationally acclaimed art strategist, arts manager, a fundraising and earned income advisor to non-profit organizations, museums, corporate and philanthropic sectors throughout the United States for more than 40 years. In 2012 she founded her own company, I Juana Know Inc., which focuses on enhancing revenue and diverse funding strategies for creative markets, organizational capacity-building, and technical assistance advising to nonprofit creative placemaking/ place-keeping art organizations. Prior to starting her own company, Guzmán served as the Vice President of the National Museum of Mexican Arts (NMMA) in Chicago, the Director of Community Cultural Development for the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs, and a team technical advisor, consultant for the Ford Foundation’s Shifting Sands Initiatives in New York City. Currently, she is serving as an Associate Consultant for the DeVos Institute of Arts Management as part of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Arts Innovation in Management (AIM) and consultant for the University of Houston(UH), Center for Mexican American and Latino Studies. She is also the co-founder of the National Association of Latino Arts Culture, an organization dedicated to the advocacy and promotion of the rights of Latino artists on a national level and serves on the Illinois Arts Humanities board of directors. In 2017, Juana Guzmán received the Women’s Caucus for Art Lifetime Achievement Award in Washington, D.C. and in 2019 Juana Guzmán was elected to the Illinois Humanities Board of Directors and in 2022 the Federation of State Humanities Council Board of Directors.

3:00 - 3:10pm

Registrants relocate to breakout rooms

3:10 - 4:10pm

Panel: “Media Relations for Cultural Heritage Institutions”

The panel is designed for small cultural centers to learn more about how to work with media partners to reach a wider audience and share their community’s story. 

Moderator: Paul Durica (Chicago History Museum)

  • Panelist 1: Monica Eng | Reporter
    • Organization: Axios
  • Panelist 2: Gwen Ihnat | Arts & Culture Editor
    • Organization: Block Club Chicago
  • Panelist 3: Diana Palomar | VP Community Engagement
    • WLS-TV / ABC7
  • Panelist 4: Veronica Cassados | Press Relations
    • Organization: Chicago History Museum
3:00 - 4:10pm

“Getting Started with Collecting Oral Histories”

This popular panel serves as an introduction for individuals and organizations to collecting an archive of oral histories from community members. Panels will provide examples, talk about the process, and give solid recommendations for equipment/hosting/questions/misc.

Moderator: Dr. Rebecca Amato (Illinois Humanities / CCA Board Member)

  • Panelist 1: Mary Doi
    • Organization: Chicago Japanese American Historical Society (CJAHS)
  • Panelist 2: Peter Alter
    • Organization: Chicago History Museum | Director of the Studs Terkel Center for Oral History
3:00 - 4:10pm

“Community Resilience: Grassroots Funding and Mutual Aid in Chicago’s Cultural Landscape”

Moderator: Dr. Alyssa Greenberg (Chicago Symphony Orchestra Alliance / CCA Board Member)

Panelists will discuss other ways in which small to medium-size organizations can garner support and raise funds. This is intended to expand the conversation beyond grant writing and conventional fundraising.

Panelist 1: Dana Blanchard
  • Haymarket Books. Program Manager for Haymarket House, a community events space in Uptown. She also coordinates Haymarket’s political education and development teams as well as their Books Not Bars program.
Panelist 2: Mario Smith 
  • Organization: Mutual Aid Report Radio Show at Lumpen Radio. Mario is  a Radio Host and Producer.
  • Focus: The Mutual Aid Report is a radio and live stream series that delves into the concept of mutual aid and unpacks its historical significance and its role in local communities by spotlighting individuals who are making a real difference at the grassroots level in the city of Chicago:
Panelist 3: Tanya Ward
  • Organization: Grow Greater Englewood.
  • Tanya is a creative writer, painter, and marketing professional.
Panelist 4: Janell Nelson
  • Organization: Engelwood Arts Collective
  • Janell is a Creative Strategist, Consultant, and Graphic Designer. She owns the award-winning JNJ Creative – a boutique design firm that cultivates visual solutions for projects that “put a little more good into the world”.
4:10 - 4:20pm

Registrants relocate to main area for final remarks

4:20 - 5:00pm

An Interactive Discussion: Conference Highlights & Closing Remarks

  • Facilitator 1: Dr. Rebecca Amato (Illinois Humanities / CCA Board Director)
  • Facilitator 2: Dr. Alyssa Greenberg (Chicago Symphony Orchestra / CCA Board Director)

Registrants are invited to reconvene in the main room during this final conference activity. We will reconnect, talk through highlights from the conference, and work through ways in which you can begin applying some of the lessons or ideas in your own work.

  •  IDE Interactive – This web developer is providing free 20-minute one-on-one consultations to registrants. They are happy to offer an assessment of your website or answer miscellaneous tech questions. 
  • The Jane Addams Hull-House Museum will be open to registrants for self-guided tours