Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Digital Bridges for Humanistic Inquiry: A Grinnell College/University of Iowa Partnership is at a midway point. Generously funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the grant offers faculty members, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students at Grinnell College and The University of Iowa opportunities to experiment with collaborative practices in the humanities from 2015 through 2018.

Virtual Health Clinic Among Faculty Projects

The initiative supports a summer institute, workshops, guest speakers, grants, and undergraduate research—all with the goal of enriching teaching and learning through creative, collaborative uses of digital technologies. Last June’s institute, “Making Meaning with Data in the Humanities and the Social Sciences,” launched a variety of projects, including a GIS map of Christian and Jewish communities in medieval England, a digital archive of primary sources about sexuality, a virtual walk-through gallery of a groundbreaking 1931 Berlin exhibit, a virtual health clinic, and interactive maps that surface connections among hip-hop musicians.

In September, former UI English professor Gina Bloom, now Associate Professor of English at University of California–Davis, shared her pop-up Shakespeare video game, Play the Knave, drawing students and faculty “on stage” at the UI Main Library, as documented in this short video. Kim Knight, Assistant Professor of Emerging Media and Communication at the University of Texas at Dallas, led a hands-on workshop last spring, sharing the ways she is teaching teenagers to code through LED fashion design workshops.  

"Playful Data" Lecture and Workshop by MIT-Affiliated D'Ignazio 

This spring and early summer, Digital Bridges will host several lectures and workshops. Catherine D’Ignazio, Assistant Professor of Journalism, Civic Media, and Data Visualization at Emerson College, champions low-tech visualization. She is part of a digital research team at MIT and is co-developer of DataBasic.io, a suite of visualization tools that make data and data-driven storytelling more accessible, inclusive, and empowering. D’Ignazio will lecture on “Playful Data, Empowered Publics” on February 16, from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. in the Minnesota Room of the Iowa Memorial Union. The next morning, February 17, she will lead a workshop, “Creative Data Storytelling 101,” from 9:00 to 1:00 in the TILE classroom in Van Allen Hall (#474). All are welcome to attend the talk; registration will open soon for the workshop.   

On April 20 at 4:00 p.m., Moya Bailey will give a lecture at Grinnell College. Bailey, an assistant professor in the Department of Cultures, Societies, and Global Studies and the program in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Northeastern University, focuses on Black women’s use of digital media to promote social justice as acts of self-affirmation and health promotion. The Tinkering Humanist series continues this spring, offering short, hands-on workshops led by Matthew Hannah. Times will be listed on the Digital Bridges website as they are confirmed. 

StoryCenter Leads Summer Institute with Digital Storytelling Production Workshop

The year culminates with the 2017 Summer Institute, May 30 to June 3. This year’s institute will be led by the staff of StoryCenter, an organization dedicated to teaching digital storytelling and media production. The weeklong event on the University of Iowa campus will include a Snapshot Workshop designed for digital storytelling in higher education and public-facing humanities scholarship and teaching. Participants will learn how to transform their scholarship into stories, develop scripts, incorporate images, record voiceovers, and edit video. The goal is for everyone to leave with a digital story developed from beginning through online publication. Participants, who must attend the full week, receive a stipend. 

Digital Bridges for Humanistic Inquiry is led by principal investigators Erik Simpson, Professor of English at Grinnell College; Teresa Mangum, Professor and Director of the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies at the University of Iowa; and Jim Elmborg, Professor of the School of Library and Information Science at the University of Iowa. They are assisted by Mellon Postdoctoral Fellows Christina Boyles and Matthew Hannah, located at the University of Iowa, and Jennifer Shook, located at Grinnell College. Further assistance comes from Student Instructional Teaching Assistants (SITAs) Trevor Templeman and Michael Goldberg.