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Full-time ,
submitted by
Saloni Dar

Senior Programmer


Title: Senior Programmer

Classification: Full-time, exempt

Reports to: Marilynn Thoma Artistic Director


The Chicago Humanities Festival (CHF) presents the most compelling authors, artists, thought leaders and thinkers of our time, connecting people to the ideas that shape and define us. Since our first festival 30 years ago, CHF has produced over 3,000 programs, including conversations, lectures, panels, performances, exhibitions and interactive participatory experiences. Our programs provoke conversations, celebrate creativity, build community and explore the boundaries of contemporary knowledge and culture. CHF values programming that reflects multiple viewpoints and lived experiences, is accessible and inclusive, and speaks to diverse audiences, including youth and audiences of color. We program across the Chicago area—in neighborhoods from South Shore to Evanston, Hyde Park to Bronzeville—bringing people and ideas together, inviting participation and dialogue amongst our audiences. CHF seeks to facilitate an engagement with ideas that transcends individual concerns, to enable empathy and connection through shared conversations and experiences.


The Chicago Humanities Festival seeks a creative, conscientious, and energetic individual to serve as Senior Programmer. The position’s primary responsibility is to serve as the lead programmer on CHF’s programming team, helping to develop and execute programs for our year-round schedule, including our signature Spring and Fall festivals. The Senior Programmer advances CHF’s artistic mission and institutional goals, working collaboratively with the Artistic Director and programming team, in consultation with senior management. The Senior Programmer identifies and manages programs with major figures (such as authors, artists, journalists, public intellectuals and politicians) to deepen the Festival’s relationships with our dedicated audience and member base and to introduce new audiences to our programming.


  • Serve as the Festival’s lead program developer, helping to conceptualize CHF’s annual theme and programming strategies to support the overall artistic vision and institutional mission at CHF.
  • Pitch, book and manage a portfolio of programs, including high profile speakers, for CHF’s year-round programming, including Spring and Fall Festivals and CHF Presents series as follows:
    • researching and pitching programming ideas;
  • identifying and booking qualified presenters, moderators, and other program participants;
  • negotiating terms and contracts with presenters and partners;
  • serving as primary Festival point of contact for presenter’s and partner’s.
  • Develop and maintain strong professional relationships with local and national media outlets, speaking agents, book publishers, and cultural institutions; work with key partners in Chicago’s cultural and civic communities.
  • Support CHF's diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility initiatives by seeking presenters, partnerships and venues that reflect a range of communities and civic issues in Chicago and beyond; support CHF’s digital programming initiatives with ideas that extend the reach of Festival programming.
  • Support CHF’s thematically-driven special series or multi-year initiatives, working to conceptualize, program and manage partnerships as appropriate.


  • A minimum of five years of programming experience and a proven track record of successfully developing cultural programming that appeals to broad audiences.
  • Experience working with speaker’s bureaus, literary agents and publicists, with the ability to negotiate contracts and institutional partnerships.
  • A commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility in CHF programming and workplace culture.
  • Experience or familiarity with digital programming and social media strategies.
  • Highly organized, flexible and resourceful team player, who is proactive in identifying and solving problems.
  • Professional demeanor, excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Ease in public speaking and leading group conversations.
  • Solid computer and database management experience.
  • Bachelor’s, Master’s degree or relevant experience.


Interested candidates should submit a cover letter, resume, and three references by August 1, 2019.

Please send your resume and cover letter to:

Saloni Dar

Director, Human Resources and Administration

No phone calls please.

The Chicago Humanities Festival is an Equal Opportunity Employer

Contact Info:
Saloni Dar
Job Type: Permanent
Location: Chicago