Jan 22-Mar 8, 2019
Click on a state on the map to the right to visit the institute's individual pages.
Below, you can read more about each of the individual Digital Humanities Research Institutes that have taken place already. For some of them, you can see interviews with the current Community Leaders.
Jan 22-Mar 8, 2019
My Institute was called the Maine Digital Humanities Institute which I offered as an online institute over seven weeks using the platform Slack. I did this because I'm basically a one-woman show. I work in a community college that is very thinly staffed—lots of part-time faculty, people wearing many, many hats. And it's a very energetic place where people like to take on initiatives but because everybody's taking on all these initiatives, they have to pick and choose and so I was kind of on my own.
I knew that I could do the online piece on my own because I have 20 years experience teaching online and I had become familiar with Slack through a couple of graduate courses I'd taken. I also knew that the time when I was offering my Institute—January to March—I had a pretty good chance of getting participation and interest because, let's face it: that's a really good time to sit on a couch in Maine! I recruited participants for my Institute through a variety of means at my own institution and also using a listserv and building upon connections that I'd made through a previous NEH grant I had had to help develop the local capacity for public history in my area: York County Maine. I also presented cards for the Institute at a presentation I gave at a local state-wide conference of museums and I was able to get eleven participants from a variety of backgrounds including some faculty and staff at my institution, a lot of people from the museum community and what I think is somewhat unique to folks who were living and working on offshore islands in Maine.
So we started out with some general exchange of information about what we were doing and projects that we were interested in and also kind of looking at some of the easy-to-use, out-of-the-box tools, some of which might be proprietary, and then we moved into some of the CUNY lessons, starting with the command line. I knew that, from my experience in teaching online, I knew that it would, to sustain the engagement in the course, it would be really important to stay connected with people and to have people develop a sense of connection with each other.
In Maine—it's a very large state geographically but it's a small state professionally and people like to forge connections and so there was a very collegial air from from the beginning. One thing I like about Slack is that it has an alert mechanism that quickly, on my phone, I could tell if somebody had a question so I could get back to them right away.
Since I was kind of a neophyte leading even people who were ultra-neophytes I didn't always have the answer to their question but I knew that if I just get back to them, like: "I'm going to answer your question, we're going to find the answer," that was going to kind of keep them engaged.
It was very intensive seven weeks with that everyday, a few times a day there'd be that alert on the phone and there's a lot of back and forth with the CUNY message board to try to solve some little technical glitches or little places in the curriculum where it might not be quite clear if you were only relying on the written word to complete the tutorial as opposed to a classroom environment where an instructor can fill in some of the gaps.
But by the end of the seven weeks, five people completed the Institute, which is about what I expected. I went in hoping that half of the folks would complete. And even for those who didn't complete, for example, there was someone who's a key person at the Maine State Library in some of their digital initiatives, she wasn't able to complete the course but she knew kind of what it was about, it's kind of "tucked in her backpocket," you know, as Maine moves forward. The completers is not a statistically significant sample. But they were a mix of what I would call the "youngins" and the baby-boomers. I will say the youngins took more readily to the tutorials but everyone... You know, the baby boomers stuck with it and it was kind of interesting because I think the older folks, we had come of age with DOS and the the precursor to Windows so we knew that there was something behind the screen. We just didn't want to go there because it looked really complicated, whereas some of the younger participants, they were "the native GUI people" and so they didn't even know that there was something behind the screen in some cases. So, you know, it was fun for them to sort of dig in and see, you know... use the command line, work a little bit with the QGIS and the HTML, the CSS and that sort of thing.
The general outcome I think was similar to the way I felt at the end of the CUNY Institute which was: "Well, this is interesting; this is cool. What am I gonna do with this now? Will I use this?" And I think that after about a year plus of working with these tools, and still not using them on a regular basis, I now have a better sense of how I would use them and why. For example, I'm working on a project where I'm collecting data on immigrants that were required to register with the state of Maine on the eve of World War II, and I know that I can use certain tools in the command line to clear up that data, to manipulate it, and so forth... My participants in my Institute may not be at that place yet but I think that one thing they learned is that this is not rocket science. The process demystified some of the technical challenges, and that the command line isn't some foreign language that they can't possibly understand. And I think just getting that understanding is valuable and helps to carry people forward in their work in digital humanities.
May 28-31, 2019
Center for Learning and Teaching, Binghamton University
Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, Binghamton University
The Graduate School, Binghamton University
Harpur College of Art & Sciences, Binghamton University
Office of Undergraduate Education, Binghamton University
Introduction to DH Metadata for the Humanist Command Line Perspectives on Digital Scholarship Data and the Humanities Data Structuring Tableau Metadata Schema ArcGIS Online Consult with GIS Facility Georectification ArcGIS Online Advanced Intro to Python Pandas Data Cleaning: OpenRefine VR Experience Text Analysis Visualizing Text Analysis with Tableau Advanced Python and NLTK DH at Binghamton Platforms for Digital Scholarship Scalar Funding Trends Moving Forward with DS and DH Openness, Ethics, and Evaluation Advanced Scalar ESRI Story Maps HTML and CSS
In May 2019, we led the Binghamton DHRI which included 17 participants: faculty members and advanced graduate students. We spent four days studying data visualization, mapping, Python, platforms for digital publishing, and engaging in lots of independent work as well. One piece of feedback that we received from our participants was that we didn't give them enough time to play with the new tools and skills that they had learned and we had put together a schedule that was very robust and very demanding. I would say everyone was exhausted by the end of the day but we wanted to really pack things in. We really had an agenda we wanted them to learn and walk away with. But then the kind of negative side of that was that they didn't have enough time to explore on their own. So if we were to do this again, we would definitely give them the opportunity to take maybe an hour a day maybe at the end of each day, maybe a little bit more, to work with the tools that they had gained exposure to, with the collaboration of their peers as well as the mentors in the room.
We were really fortunate to be able to bring in outside speakers and instructors. When we first started thinking about how this line-up was going to go, it was about bringing in expertise that we didn't feel was represented among our group. We had two co-organizers, each of us taught, and two graduate assistants who also taught. But we wanted to bring in for instance someone to teach text analysis, who came from Cornell, and we had someone come in to teach the command line, also from Cornell. So that was our idea first: it was about expertise. But then we realized that having these diverse voices was amazingly helpful for our participants. There were things that I think I said on the first day and maybe the second day, but when they heard it on the third day or in the afternoon of the second day from someone else, it could have been said in a different way or put differently, it really got through to them. So having this range of voices was really, really importan. So those were two of our instructors. We were also very fortunate to have two outside lectures and one of them was Lisa Rhody from CUNY and the other was Nicky Agate from Columbia. And they were really, really amazing in bringing into perspective what we were doing and why we were doing it. For instance, Lisa brought forward a whole range of digital projects that our participants had never seen—they didn't know about. They were gained exposure to them and were able to put them into context of what they were learning. And Nicky Agate came and she talked about the values of open scholarship and thinking about taking control of one's scholarly identity. Those were really really powerful ideas that I would say had never been introduced to our campus before. That was the first time I heard a talk like that on our campus. I feel like we accomplished a lot; even beyond the agenda that we had set forward for the Institute, with the help of these colleagues from other institutions.
We went knocking on doors. We made sure to go to visit the stakeholders on campus in their offices and we had really interesting conversations with each of them. Just to give you a few examples, the Dean of Harpur College was one of our co-sponsors, the Dean of the Graduate School was another co-sponsor. The office of undergraduate education was also another sponsor, and the Center for learning and teaching as well as the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities. All of these different groups were interested in Digital Humanities. They knew that there were great possibilities and opportunities in the Digital Humanities. We were really able to communicate to them why one needed to bring the experience of DH to Binghamton rather than say sending our colleagues to another institution, which of course, is another possibility but why we needed to bring this experience onto our own campus and what all of us could gain from it. So we were very fortunate to have five generous co-sponsors who were also engaged and present with us. This is something that was really important: many of these co-sponsors sent representatives from their units to join us in our sessions, to sit down and learn Python with us. I think that they were able to really understand what it means to learn and teach these approaches, these tools, these issues. It turned out to be an amazingly collaborative event.
I will say, for us at Binghamton, the graduate students I think are key in any humanities initiative. And one thing that I've observed in DH in general is that the kinds of lines of mentorship don't always move in the way that we expect them to, where knowledge starts here and it goes down to students; that's just simply not the way it works. And I know that it's been very powerful on our campus, for graduate students, to begin doing computational work and then sometimes they show their advisors what they've done, and the advisor goes: "How did you do that? What is this? I've never seen this before!" And that is how then we get the faculty engaged in the digital humanities, or that's one way, and I've seen that to be a very effective way. So from the beginning, Amy and I as collaborators knew that the graduate students needed to play a really important role in this process. So one thing that we did is we were very fortunate, again, with sponsorship to hire two graduate assistants who were with us the entire four days, but also taught their own units. We also knew that we wanted to have graduate students as part of our cohort among the participants. This is interesting because some of our co-sponsors said: "Well, you know, classroom students are going to leave the institution and then then is it worth it to train them in this way? Because are they going to be able to cultivate our community?" And our answer was without question: Yes, we need to have graduate students in the room. And they were just an amazing presence in the room and I will say that I think many of my colleagues among the faculty, I don't think that they had necessarily had the experience of learning next to graduate students and also learning from graduate students. And so they got to do both during that week. And you know we started characteristically with our icebreaker, and I would say these icebreakers—some people think they're very corny. I told our participants one of the reasons we do the icebreaker is so that we can understand that these hierarchies that we often observe; that they have to be reset. And we do it through something like an icebreaker that doesn't start out, "I'm a professor" or "I'm a graduate student." We did a very silly icebreaker actually which was what really set us all on the same footing. And I thought that was really important and a great way to begin our experience.
The question of pedagogical approach was one that we went back and forth on and we talked a lot with Lisa and Kalle about. And the foundational approach that we undertook at CUNY last summer was, for me, just pivotal. As someone who had been involved in DH and had done lots of workshops, lots of trainings, had had lots of exposure to different methods, I didn't know that what was stopping me was the fact that I did not have those foundations. I kept hitting these walls in terms of my research and so that, for me, was just so important and so with that knowledge we moved forward to plan our DHRI. But I will tell you we did not go entirely with the foundational approach that CUNY offered us, and we had reasons for doing so. We felt as if we wanted to combine that with what we call "out-of-the-box approach" of much more kind of tool-focus very specific outcome approach. We did both, and the reasoning behind that was that we knew that our colleagues needed to have something that was very concrete kind of tangible takeaways from that four days. By kind of toggling back-and-forth between some of these foundations, which were more abstract, and then these very tangible tools, we were able to show them that there were lots of ways to do any one thing. There was not just one single right way to engage in any task and we really emphasized versatility, but also making choices. And making choices not just because you click on this icon and your computer defaults to opening it in this program but because you understand what the possibilities are. And you're making a meaningful and substantive choice. So that turned out to be kind of the goal, the pedagogical approach that we came to, maybe accidentally, but that was something that came from that moving back and forth between these foundational concepts and then these very kind of specific tool-oriented tasks, really.
I would just like to say that the experience of being part of the CUNY DHRI has just been unbelievable. When I saw the DHRI advertised—that was now over a year and a half ago— I had been thinking, "This is exactly what I wanted to do on my campus!" I knew that there was something that needed to happen at Binghamton. We had been offering a workshop here, a workshop there but we never got any traction. At the same time, I would hear people, they would come to me and say, "Well, we're kind of interested in this Digital Humanities thing," and, you know, there would be all these kind of all these little kind of flickers of interest that we couldn't move forward on. And so when I saw the opportunity to do this, I just knew it was something I had to go for. And it has been amazing. It has been really amazing. It has been amazing because I had exposure to just the fantastic community here. I got to work with an amazing collaborator, Amy Gay, who is the digital scholarship librarian. I feel like our collaboration was one between a faculty member and a librarian that was really successful if I can say that at this stage—we are still kind of gauging the level of success but just working together was so fulfilling. And the kinds of exposure I had to my colleagues, in a different way. They were terrific. And they surprised me, as well, in their openness, their interest, their excitement. I would say, as well, that I've been teaching at Binghamton now for eighteen years, so a long time, the ability to bring people into a room and to realize that this group of people have never been brought into a room together for any particular reason—that's exciting, right? Because we're often looking at the same faces across the table and so we built a new community and I think that that's pretty exciting.
May 14-17, 2019
University of Notre Dame
Saint Mary’s College
Amy Cavender Saint Mary's College
Ericka Christie Loyola University Chicago
Alexis Grant University of Illinois Chicago
Caroline McCraw Loyola University Chicago
Rebecca Parker Loyola University Chicago
Together with my collaborator Sarah Noonan, we put together what we're calling DHRI South Bend because it's a collaboration with two universities right across the street from one another, it takes place four days at least in our initial incarnation in which we fairly closely match what the original CUNY syllabus was which is sort of a stepladder approach to the core technologies in digital humanities.
I find first of all simply taking a course of instruction—even if it's something you've haven't experience in—always illuminates new areas of inquiry and then sort of thinking as you're learning relearning the technology on the meta level about how you teach the technology I think that helped us get deeper into some of the questions because we knew we're gonna have to turn around and think strategically: Why was it successful at CUNY; how is it going to be successful locally? And that sort of leads to the other aspect of the sort of personal development professional development is so helpful about CUNY model which was the networked approach to bringing people together. Instead of just simply giving you all the answers of how to learn these technologies, you learn them together with other professionals, sort of in this nebulous field of digital humanities, but that might be coming at it from different professional backgrounds: Librarians, scholars, scholars in different disciplines. So as much as it was about learning technology, I think learning how to work together in ways that are not always intuitive or always trained for humanities people was very helpful.
I think if you receive sometimes somewhat contradictory feedback that that's going to be a sign that you may be doing the right thing. One of one of the threads that we heard was: "this is going a little bit fast," and on the other side we heard "could we have a little bit more of this, I have some of these foundations, can we have more challenges?" I think one of the big challenges that we faced was pairing people, not only with the different disciplinary backgrounds that we've talked about but different experience levels. But I think that's also a sign of success because as you looked around at the tables, you saw people helping out one another, learning together, trying to figure out things as they went. So even though some people might have had the foundations, and knew already what they were doing a little bit, they were able to help those who otherwise might have started to get a little bit behind because you can't stop an entire class, the forward momentum necessarily because one or two people are having trouble, but if you're able to work together in community at your tables, you can keep going, catch back up, and leverage the strength of the community. I think those pacing questions were also matched up with responses that reseed, which said: Yes, I am certainly feeling supported and getting the help I need. The results on that were very clear and high. So if you get some of that contradictory result but also sort of that positive reaction to how things are going, how the help is going, I think that's a sign you're doing the right thing. That's sort of what we strove for.
My collaborator Sarah Noonan and I come from different-sized institutions. Her's is St. Mary's, it's a liberal arts college. Notre Dame is an R1, research-heavy sort of college but both are looking to emphasize interdisciplinary study—if I understand correctly—and DH is a great place for this kind of engagement and so we wanted to expose our participants to that diversity of participants, and where they're at whether they're students—we did have one undergraduate student—graduate students who are looking to start research projects but faculty members who might be looking to integrate DH more into teaching and pedagogy, which again, in turn, if your graduate student you might end up in a more teaching heavy-type of institution. So I think that that sort of diversity of background in multiple aspects was something that we wanted to expose people to, that's very compatible with DH. And then we started to think beyond the local to the regional context as we actually applied for grants. We received very generous funding from Indiana Humanities to support what we were doing. That got us thinking: there are a lot of places that could benefit from this type of program that don't have people dedicated to digital humanities, for example. Got us thinking a little more strategically about using the DHRI as a way to build up partnerships for these institutions, which again included everything from R1 down to liberal arts institutions. One common thread that we saw moving through there was: we want to start a digital humanities program of some kind or expand it. We don't really have much support for it locally. So we saw this as another opportunity to keep expanding networks beyond just the two campuses but to campuses throughout the region of varying sizes and emphases.
We've really tried not to reinvent the wheel on this in that we wanted to put into practice the things that we learned at the DHRI which built on one another. Here's command line, here's git and GitHub. Now you're gonna use that the next day to start building out the advanced sessions. So we took that ethos and said: OK, let's fork the curriculum, see what that looks like. Let's start to make edits. That actually got us thinking about what is a relationship of our forked curriculums to the original, which I don't think we've actually sorted out yet. But but we did want to use that forked curriculum as a basis for what we're doing because there's been a lot of work and a lot of experience that has gone into that. So we took that and turned the keys over to our graduate student teachers. We did have, I should say, one faculty teacher from St. Mary's, which was great. And let them put their own spin on the curriculum and we're gonna rethink a few things. This did expose interesting questions of: Oh, there's a personal story and an "I" voice in this particular module. What is my relationship to that? Do I need to change and adjust this? Or is this intrinsic to the curriculum? So we really did take what we think was a successful training program. As I hinted, it does sort of scaffold on itself and we wanted to preserve that scaffolding as much as possible. So we adhered pretty closely to the CUNY syllabus and we hope to develop some new modules based on that same ethos next year.
Aug 6-7, 2019
What is a Digital Humanist? An Afro-futurist Viewpoint of Digital Humanities Preparing to Launch Your Digitization Project Technology for Community Impact The Revolution Will Be Digitized Funding Futurism Project Advisement Sessions
Our Institute was held at the 41st Annual Association of African American Museums Conference which was held in Jackson Mississippi and we did it as a pre-conference workshop over a two-day period. Those two days were to allow conference attendees to come in early to receive this intensive training in Digital Humanities with an afrofuturism feel. So we infuse the workshop in the training with afrofuturism, with scholars, people who are leading practitioners in afrofuturism and whose projects are informed by their afrofuturist viewpoint. What that essentially means is that we have a participant base that is made up of African American museums, libraries, cultural institutions, archives, a number of historically black colleges and universities, and professionals who are working to preserve histories within their communities. But they're also looking for ways to connect those histories to present and future generations. And so afrofuturism gives them the opportunity to infuse like a cool factor and to make it much more dynamic and informed by the the facts of the past but also how those facts help us to shape or even reshape or reimagine the future that we'd like to see. That gave it an increased interest and that has made for a really growing engagement of professionals or practitioners across disciplines who otherwise I don't think ever would have connected or be collaborators within this network once they have seen how much their shared interest and their passions actually do align.
I reached out first to colleagues within my institution. Within the museum, I knew of two people in particular that would be receptive to this discussion. One was Dr. Doretha Williams and she leads our Robert Frederick Smith African American Digitization Initiative. That's an initiative where they go out and lead community-curation projects. They take this huge bus and go around the country, basically digitizing people's family collections; family photos, memorabilia, anything that would allow people to preserve their own family histories. I met with her and Laura Coyle. Dr. Laura Coyle is the Director of our Digitization and Collections department and she and Doretha just opened up generously with any number of people that they thought would be interested in this. We put our heads together and started thinking through how these two days could be shaped. I shared with them my DHRI curriculum from last summer and they really, really understood what we were trying to achieve. Literally, for every week that passed, they were doing email introductions of colleagues around the country. For every person I talked with that they referred me to, that person referred me to several others. So we ended up with people from all over, everywhere from University of Central Florida to Michigan State to University of California Riverside. I mean, we have scholars coming from Canada, scholars coming from Senegal, West Africa. It's really, really just fascinating how collaborating really just took the form of asking—asking for help. As soon as we asked, people were more than generous to say: "I'm doing this, but you should also talk to this person," and people that they were genuinely interested in their work.
Oh wow, major challenges throughout the process. The main challenge was time, the time constraint and knowing that you only have a certain amount of time both to plan the institute but also the offering of it. I ideally wanted to replicate the experience I had and it became clear with me connecting it to a larger annual conference there was no way I could have even three full days. So I ended up trimming my my three-day plan down to two full days which then became one and a half day and really trying to be mindful that we wanted this to be the start of a larger conversation, the start of an opportunity to grow this community of learners so it didn't all have to be covered this first year. Once I started to understand that we don't have to do everything the first go-around, that this truly is a pilot where we will see how many people attend, we would see how they respond and that would give us I think the information that would that would be useful in planning the next one. So it really has been just learning how to to maximize the time that we have together and not really focus so much on the constraints of the time. That was my major challenge. The other part of it was communicating when I felt overwhelmed. The same collaborators that I had gone to initially, to say: "What do you think? How should we approach this? Who do you know in this field?" They were the same people that I could go back and say: "Oh my gosh, it was a month ago that we talked and I meant to email you a month ago. Can we can we just talk?" And having that ability to say "I'm sorry, things are moving so fast. If you'll give me another week or so," and they would say "Don't worry about it. What can I do to help? How can I reach out for you? Can I take something off your list?" That has been a tremendous learning experience for me but also a tremendous help in overcoming the challenge of feeling the pressure of trying to make it all come together and realizing that none of us do this by ourselves. It may be my responsibility to make sure it gets accomplished but I don't get there alone. There's a whole group of us working on this.
I think my larger take-away both last year and through this process of planning my own Institute is: the truth is you do not have to be an expert. You really have enough help and enough support and the collaboration and the ability to partner, the ability to share and spread the love and the load around, building a team not just for the planning and coordination but just having people you can bounce ideas off of. You don't have to know it all and that was the biggest reassurance I had leaving here last year was after the training feeling like, "Oh, I didn't realize that I do know some things," or "I can do this," and that I can learn as I go and then coming into the space of needing to then coordinate a similar experience for another group of people that I don't have to be the expert. I don't have to even facilitate the entire thing. I can utilize and lean on those who have expertise in certain areas and really lean into my own strengths, and that being connecting dots and making sure people have an experience that's unforgettable. That was really the biggest takeaway: whatever you have, you can contribute. Whatever you have will add value and you don't need to know it all in order to to accomplish what you want to accomplish.
May 28-Jun 11, 2019
The Center for Digital Humanities at the University of Arizona
Africana Studies at the University of Arizona
Africana DHi, Africana Digital Humanities Institute ran from May 28th to June 11th. It was all online, we had 15 participants from four countries, four continents, a diverse offering of digital humanities tools. As well, we talked about bibliographic information that consists of new Africana works as well as foundational what works for thinking about digital humanities from an Africana perspective.
So one of the things that I think is unique to our institution is its focus on digital humanities. So we have a few scholars who have been doing this work for a number of years, like a lot of institutions, Africana-centered approaches to digital humanities is sometimes work that's being done in isolation. We have the benefit that folks have been thinking about this for a little while at our institution so we have the Center for Digital Humanities. Putting on an institute like this one really fit into the goals and missions of both the center as well as the Africana Studies program as we begin to think about expanding to an MA or even a master certificate program in Digital Humanities work that has an Africana Center.
Specifically for those that are participating that are either people of color and so their experiences are very much informed by their history in the U.S. or globally, or for people who are doing this work on folks of African descent—with that work comes a certain passion for the voices of people on the margins being heard. So, this institute was not only about learning new tools but also finding out how you can connect with those communities, maintain the kind of passion that you have and bring that to the academic work that you do. Reaching those audiences in order to do that, it will be very important to speak to those kinds of concerns that communities of colors have.
The whole wide internet was really helpful in a couple of ways. For our Institute I reached out to a number of colleagues who I knew were doing similar projects or they maybe had not talked about using digital tools but I thought it could help some of the work that they were doing. And then I just talked with a lot of friends and colleagues who were in Africana Studies or doing Africana-centered work and asked them to talk to their networks or to consider being a part of the Institute as well The Association of Internet Researchers was actually very helpful and I think that's really what gave us a boost in attracting international participants.
I guess I had two major challenges: one going in and one that presented itself once we began. Going in, my biggest challenge was: Am I qualified to do this kind of work? When I looked at the applicants, they had a diverse set of skills and some of them could be counted as experts in their field. But I was able to, in some way, quiet my fears by keeping in mind that they assigned on to this Institute for particular reasons— some of them because they wanted to start an Institute similar to it, because there are very few resources even if you are an expert in a certain area, it's very important to reach out. And also thinking about this as a collaborative project, I was not there to know everything or to have all of the answers. But it really forced me to think collaboratively about how we build out the Institute. And then the other challenge: I hadn't anticipated it being such an international audience. And we wanted to make sure the Institute was accessible to everyone, so we definitely didn't want to turn anyone away because they were outside of the of the U.S. especially given the kind of goals that we have for the Institute overall. So we accepted international as well as U.S. participants. That became a challenge in terms of balancing time zones, figuring out which apps or platforms to use in order to make sure we were using the right GMT. We were all over the place in terms of timezone so navigating that became a challenge but it also became a teachable moment.
People have to know that DHRI is a wonderful institution in terms of the support that they offer for scholars beyond their own institution to continue to build collaborations that go far beyond your own time within their Institute.
May 8-9, 2019
Our DHRI took place over two days in May. We had 15 participants from four institutions that were all local. Part of the project of the DHRI was to do that kind of bridging work. We had a structured morning with workshops and an unstructured, roundtable discussion-based afternoon.
Also, it was important in building the DHRI of my institution to balance out a more structured workshop environment with a playful, experimental, inventive space where participants could engage in lively, speculative conversations about how a tool might be used in their own field. It was based in the fact that for me personally at the DHR I here in New York last year some of the best and most generative moments for me were in those moments at dinners or in breaks. I wanted to create a space for that at my Institute and in the feedback that I received from participants, it was in those in those spaces that some of the most productive work was done as is so often the case in academia more generally.
I think a major challenge that we faced at our institution was trying to legitimize the work that we were doing there as digital humanities work. Particularly those unstructured conversations, people weren't necessarily sure going in what they were getting out of the Institute. There was an assumption I think that they would—despite my emails—that they would gain some kind of mastery of a tool, which of course isn't possible in a short workshop in one day. So a challenge for me was finding a way to frame what we were doing as productive work. I think that we achieved that through those unstructured discussions, actually. Because it was there that people were doing collaborative, cross-disciplinary work. Which are sort of buzzwords in the digital humanities—collaboration and interdisciplinary—but so much of that happens through conversation and dialogue. I think never underestimate the power of putting people in the same room physically. And also the old adage: if you build it they will come. We have had this dedicated DH space for a while and not much has happened in it, so it was a very important thing for us to hold an event there, to have it be well attended, and to have it as something that we can repeat as a model.
May 28, 2019
Clemens and Alcuin Libraries, College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University
Instructional Technology, Clemens and Alcuin Libraries, College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University
Academic Affairs, Clemens and Alcuin Libraries, College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University
Python Open Education Resources Digital Publishing HMML Bright Global Futures Podcasts Digital Artifacts/Museums Advanced Canvas Finding, Using, and Citing Images Analyzing US Trade Patterns
Our Institute happened May 29th. It was a one day Institute, but there was a lot of content. We decided that it had to be one day because we have a four full-day workshop right before it. So this is really the fifth day. In the future when we do this again, there's the possibility to make it map multiple days.
We had a takeaway session at the end of the day and the feedback, it's just overwhelmingly positive: We had 55 participants, that's pretty amazing, and then it was a very good mixture of faculty members, staff, students, and some community members. So we opened the call of participation to really everybody. We tried to make it inclusive and then the people, they are so positive. They think they learned a lot. This is really useful for their personal professional development, for teaching excellence, and they saw the examples of what they could do with this in terms of their own research. We invited people both in the humanities and social sciences and natural senses to say what they have done. Even at a liberal arts college, the product that you could produce is really top-notch, so this is very encouraging. I think that suggests the interest: they want this to be continued, you know: What will be the second one? When would that happen? And then we have to think about the sustainability of this and we then have to think about the the structure. How to make this really part of the of the agenda as we move forward to prepare for the next stage of humanities studies?
I think the major challenges are: you had to find the people that you can work with: your peers, your supporters, your collaborators. And sometimes that takes time, sometimes, if there are twists on the way— but you want to make sure you have a core group of people that are with you on this. I have been lucky because from very early on the director of the libraries at my institution is a very devoted supporter for this. She thinks there's a real need in the community because a previous survey, especially in terms of pedagogy. So she wrote a letter for me to apply for the Research Institute back in 2017. And then when I told her I want to bring this back to our campus, she was very supportive. I also have another director, the director in charge of the instructional technology, she has been with me since the planning stage. Miranda—that's her name—I think we two are really kind of the driving force and people who really completed all the logistics of the conference.
We have a Mellon grant at CSB/SJU that really focus on how to make the community more inclusive for all the members. When we were trying to plan this first ever digital technologies conference at CSB/SJU we really wanted to be inclusive and welcome to all the community members. We send out multiple, multiple emails to everybody that we could think of. And when we sent the tentative schedule with all the topics, we were very open for suggestions. We sent out a survey for people to be able to add and give people space for them to make choices, such as a popular one: What's the incentive gift that you want to get when you come to this technology conference? We decided on a flash drive. So I think this really helped. And also we understand, it's kind of a demanding schedule that we designed, because there are so many people who want to really contribute to the conference. We had basically more presenters than we could handle. Then what we decided to do is group the presenters and themes. We have the digital possibilities for people to tell us what they're already doing in their classrooms and in their research field. And then we have the digital pedagogy panel that almost everybody can benefit from. And we have four undergraduate students who decided to join. And we shared a lot about why this is fascinating for them: Why they want digital technologies in general in the classrooms. So that's just beautiful.
I think we wanted it to be really conversational so there's a lot of space and a place that we left in the agenda for people to feel free to ask questions and we have break sessions where people can talk with the neighbors in small groups, we have interactive sessions where people can really have dialogues to talk about where they want to go from here. So it is built in through the day.
I think this is something that faculty members can really do. We think of how busy our schedules are: Do we need another thing? Do we need to learn all these digital tools? What's the benefits for us? I'm really in the middle of everything: the middle of my life, mid-career, and I'm a mother. I have to be responsible for many, many things. I have administrative duties as well. But this is also a time for me to think what the world of humanities studies will be 20-30 years from now and how I, as a faculty member, can remain relevant and really a value-contributing member for the community. I think this is really the route to go. And this is doable, with help from our young and fresh and so knowledgeable Digital Fellows, and very kind support from peers, we can really do this. I picked up digital skills that I thought was impossible. When people showed me the great work they do, I think: How could I do that? Then when I really do it and put it up I think, "Oh, that's pretty amazing as well." So, you know, give it a try!
May 6-7, 2019
Bryn Mawr College’s LITS
Haverford College Libraries
8, from disciplines:
May 22-24, 2019
Twitter Analytics in the Humanities Classroom Historical Maps in GIS Beginner Python Leaflet Maps Tropy for Archival Research AR and VR Advanced Beginner Python Developing websites with VR for use in the classroom Teaching with Scalar Mobile Storytelling Tenable Media Projects Free Tools to Introduce Undergraduates to DH
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Sep 15-Dec 15, 2018
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Aug 19-22, 2019
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Mar 29-31, 2019
Jul 16-19, 2019
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