My entry into the Fellows program comes after several years of teaching digital media design, working in the area of academic technology, and exploring as an artist the multitude of ways media expresses forms of localized knowledge. While teaching in the Communication Arts Department at Marymount Manhattan College, my work centered on web design, digital media, and location based mobile media. At Vassar College, I was situated in connection to the Visual Resources Center were I worked with faculty to develop interactive visual media for teaching. There I was also managed the creation and installation of a campus wide blogging platform for faculty and students. My artistic career has included projects such as the Hyde Park Visual History Project, Walking History, and Freespace. Each of these provides ways of situating or collecting media that points at how we understand and experience the spaces around us. This I am developing further as a PhD candidate in the Environmental Psychology Department at the Graduate Center, researching modes of ownership, identity, memory and collaboration in community settings.
Thus far my work as a Digital Fellow has centered on two specific projects that build and extend my past experiences. In my work with the Advanced Research Collaborative, I have been tasked with helping to construct an online presence that builds a community around the various research projects taking place at the Graduate Center. I have also been working with the Digital Initiatives, focusing on the development of an open access publishing platform for the Debates in the Digital Humanities book edited by Matthew Gold. In each opportunity, I see a strong desire to create modes of community interaction that enhances and expands traditional academic processes. Each will provide a platform by which others, both academic and public, can participate in the creation of knowledge.
At the core of the Digital Fellows program is an exploration into the ways that digital media and technology are providing access to new modes of collaboration and sharing. Not only are we developing new ways of presenting information, but we are finding ways in which others can participate in enriching that knowledge. It is my belief that this sense of give and take is what is so crucial about the Digital Humanities. The focus is less about authorship and more about interaction, which emerges from an open access paradigm. I see this way of engaging as primary to my post-Ph.D. career and supporting the work that I am doing presently, establishing a mode or process through which I develop my own work and networks of information.
In terms of technical skill, the fellowship has exposing me to a much broader set of tools and how those might be implemented. Having previously worked with a variety of technology, I am gaining experience thinking about how website sites can integrate functionality in an effort to open new opportunities for analyzing and comparing information within communities. I see this as vital to my future teaching career as I hope to replicate these vibrant spaces for my students.
When considering the objectives of this program, I see an opportunity to define how the Digital Humanities is considered and embraced on campus. Each of the fellows brings a vast amount of experience and can play a unique role in seeing that knowledge implemented across campus. As a whole, I would like to see the Fellows program not only support transitional efforts that shift analog projects to digital or establish new spaces for collaboration, but design innovative tools that enhance ways of creating or experience information. We should be a starting point for raising questions and addressing concepts that allow us to pursue new projects. At the same time, I think we can be a nexus for Digital Humanities efforts taking place throughout New York and elsewhere. We should excel in considering the impact of these changes in the academy and bringing together audiences that can discuss them further. I see these as both personal and program wide objectives, which I hope to realize.
Image © Paul Butler, Visualizing Friendships.