Well, it’s been four months, and my first semester as a Digital Humanities student is (for all intents and purposes) finished. From my perspective, the last sixteen weeks have been incredibly productive, informative and thought-provoking. I’ve not only learned a great deal, but I’ve also had the opportunity to think critically about what I’ve learned, and how I believe those lessons fit within the overall Digital Humanities field. Below are some of my reflections and thoughts about this past term, and some ideas for the future.
Though my technical and coding skills have vastly improved (especially when compared to the days and months when I was teaching myself), I still believe this is one area where I can do better. I’ve grappled with data modeling, encoding, and metadata schemas, but practice makes perfect, and there is always more to learn. I do wish there had been some follow up to the intensive, pre-term Java course we took; I did well with the module at the time, but feel I’ve lost some of the knowledge since due to non-use.
The intersections between Digital Humanities, media and digital (electronic) literature remains a strong area of interest for me, as one might have guessed based on some of my previous posts. I’ve been attempting to expand my knowledge of this area by reading on my own, and I’m fascinated by the creativity and ingenuity found in some of these new digital literature projects. In looking forward to the future, I’ve started working on a PhD proposal for doctoral-level research specifically addressing digital (electronic) literature. It’s still very much a work in progress, but I’m passionate about this particular area of study and look forward to what comes next.
My MA program is, as the name implies, Digital Humanities, so many of the readings and lectures have had a literature and/or history focus to them. As a result, I am very curious about what doesn’t come up as often, namely the state of the digital arts, and how that intersects with Digital Humanities. Some colleagues and lecturers are working in the art history and cultural heritage sectors, but I still sense that there is still a huge gap in awareness between Digital Humanities and digital arts (or music or performance). There could be many reasons for this (I have a few theories of my own), but I also believe there’s a world of untapped potential with the digital arts (the What’s the Score? project at the Bodelian Library is one project that immediately comes to mind) and I’d love to know more. I’m very interested in learning more about applying digital ideas and techniques to the art world, which is why I’m especially excited for my upcoming practicum next semester with the Irish Museum of Modern Art. More on that next term!
Similarly, I’m also curious about issues of diversity, race, gender and sex in the Digital Humanities. From my (admittedly somewhat limited) perspective, I see the field as one in which the majority of thought leaders and researchers are still male and overwhelmingly white. I’m interested about that dynamic and what it means both for the DH field and for DH projects and research. To my mind, there is a clear and identifiable need for more diversity within the field. I don’t know that I’m the best person to propose any solutions, but I would love to see a more concerted effort to think critically about expanding DH to include those voices that aren’t necessarily being heard. (Of course, if anyone has suggestions for readings that address this very topic and would like to point me in the right direction, I’d be most appreciative.)
These are just a few thoughts; like so many things in life, learning about Digital Humanities is an ongoing process (especially since it is an evolving field itself) and I know I’ll have much more to stay in 2015.
Until then, Happy Holidays, and a Happy New Year!