Joni Doherty is senior program officer for democracy and the arts. Doherty develops, manages, and evaluates programs involving the intersection of democracy and the arts with the aim of supporting the mission, vision, and values of the foundation. Because human experiences involve all the senses, the arts engage with aspects of being human overlooked by analytically based methodologies. This multisensory approach to research can offer fresh insights into democracy’s challenges and the struggle to realize its ideals.
Doherty’s past experiences as a studio artist, teaching in the American studies program at Franklin Pierce University, and conducting research at the intersections of aesthetics and ethics have offered her opportunities to work collaboratively with artists, curators, communities, organizations, and institutions. Since coming to the Kettering Foundation in 2015, she has led research projects that explored the ways in which higher education institutions, humanities councils, libraries, and museums have contributed to strengthening democracy. For example, the multi-year Historic Decisions project involved writing and editing guides for deliberation about historical issues, working with museums across the country as they developed their own historic decisions issue guides and associated programs, leading workshops, and organizing conference presentations.
Doherty’s reviews and essays have been published in Art New England, Deliberative Pedagogy, Deliberation and the Work of Higher Education, First-Year Civic Engagement, Connections, and the Higher Education Exchange.
Doherty earned a BFA in painting at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, an MA in cultural studies at Simmons College, Boston, and a PhD in philosophy and art theory from the Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts in Portland, Maine.