Feed the Mind with a Lecture at One of These 10 Pittsburgh Institutions

Attend a lecture at one of these Pittsburgh institutions for a bit of mental nourishment. 

August Wilson African American Cultural Center

This Cultural District institution features a wide variety of programming, but if you’re looking to be both entertained and informed, their Truthsayers Speaker Series is a must. Prominent speakers and artists engage the audience in thought-provoking discussions in hopes of inspiring racial awareness. Recent speakers included beloved poet Nikki Giovanni and Robert Jones, Jr., the creator of the now-defunct social justice social media community Son of Baldwin. 

Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures 

This local nonprofit aims to connect celebrated authors with the community, providing opportunities to engage, educate, and inspire. Ten Evenings, the organization’s mainstage program, has brought well-known authors like Roxane Gay, Joyce Carol Oates, and Viet Thanh Nguyen to the stage. Other notable programming includes Made Local, a showcase of local authors. 

City of Asylum

North Side nonprofit City of Asylum hosts the world’s largest residency program for writers living in exile under threat of persecution. It should be no surprise, then, that their well-curated lectures are largely diverse and educational, featuring a wide variety of national and international guests. It’s worth attending in person for live audience engagement, but their programming is also largely accessible, featuring a rotating list of live-streamed events for those unable to attend in person. 

Heinz History Center

Dive into Pittsburgh’s history with a lecture from this Strip District institution. Programming includes informative collaborations between the Jewish Genealogy Society of Pittsburgh and the History Center’s Rauh Jewish Archives, sessions on historical landmarks like the iconic Kaufmann’s clock, and more. 

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s Speaker Series

The Symphony’s Speaker Series, available by subscription only, brings a truly impressive array of lecturers to Heinz Hall. Their most recent season saw everyone from Loretta Lynch, the first female African American US Attorney General, to famed astronaut Scott Kelly and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Maria Ressa. 

The Center for Loving Kindness and Civic Engagement

The Center for Loving Kindness and Civic Engagement at the Jewish Community Center of Pittsburgh offers a variety of virtual conversations with the intent of creating safe spaces to learn and “love your neighbor as yourself.” 

World Affairs Council

With informative virtual and in-person public programs focused on global issues, this nonprofit educates audiences with equitable and inclusive programming. 

Dean’s Lecture Series at Carnegie Mellon University

This CMU lecture series has featured some of the “most influential thinkers in Qatar,” including recent guest Her Excellency Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani, the vice chairperson and CEO of the Qatar Foundation. 

Latino Community Center

This nonprofit empowers and celebrates Latinos in Pittsburgh, offering virtual and in-person presentations on various topics to provide learning opportunities for community members. 

Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council

This local nonprofit offers a variety of lectures and programming for both independent artists and administrators of arts and culture institutions. Learn how to hang art professionally, create and execute investment plans for your nonprofit, and more. (Full disclosure: I work here full-time for my day job, but I’d sing their praises regardless.) 

Story by Lisa Cunningham

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