Dear MITH Community,
Those of you who have been following MITH’s blog (http://www.mith2.umd.edu) know that this past year has been a busy and exciting time. I’d like to take a moment before the fall semester kicks into gear to review some of the highlights and provide some coming attractions, as it were.
Events and Conferences
Last spring MITH co-hosted “Digital Diasporas,” the first ever conference on the confluence between the Digital Humanities and African American/African Diaspora Studies. This year, in October, we will be co-hosting a two-day international digital tool workshop with George Mason’s Center for History and New Media that is being sponsored by NSF, NEH, and IMLS. In June we will also be hosting “Digital Humanities 2009,” the joint annual conference of the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations, and the most significant one in its field. Our keynote speakers will be Lev Manovich, from the University of California San Diego, and Christine Borgman from UCLA. For more information on DH 2009, you can visit our conference Website: http://www.mith2.umd.edu/dh09/, where you can also sign up for a Twitter feed.
During the coming year, MITH staff will also be busy presenting at conferences. Among other engagements too exhausting to list or contemplate, MITH’s Associate Director Matt Kirschenbaum will participate in the Presidential Forum at the Modern Language Association’s annual convention, MITH’s Assistant Director Doug Reside will be presenting papers at two international conferences in Great Britain, and I will be keynoting “The 1st International Symposium on Digital Humanities for Japanese Arts and Cultures” in Kyoto.
MITH is on a roll! During the past year we’ve won six significant grants, continued work on two others, and are waiting to hear about several others. Among these are projects funded by the Library of Congress, NEH, IMLS, NSF, and Mellon Foundation. Our projects run the gamut from the building of digital tools, to the development of an electronic environment for Shakespeare’s Quartos, to the creation of electronic editions of musical theatre, to the preservation of virtual worlds. And our grant partners include the Folger Shakespeare Library, the British Library, the Bodleian Library, the Huntington Library, the National Library of Scotland, the Harry Ransom Center, Emory University, Stanford University, the University of Illinois, the Rochester Institute of Technology, and Linden Lab, the creators of Second Life. Great company to keep!
We’ve also done consulting for such local institutions as the National Archives, the State Department, the National Building Museum, and the National Gallery’s Center for Advanced Study of the Visual Arts.
I’m happy to say that MITH Fellows Angel David Nieves and Merle Collins made excellent progress on their projects, as did Zita Nunes, who was in her first year of fellowship. Built in partnership with the Hector Pieterson Memorial and Museum in Johannesburg, Angel’s project, “Soweto ’76” uses electronic multimedia to collect, preserve, and present the stories and digital records of those students who took part in the Uprisings of 1976. We have developed a geospatial interface for Soweto ’76 and are in the midst of completing a three-dimensional, historically authentic model of the protest march route. We’re very sorry to see Angel depart Maryland for a new position at Hamilton College in New York, but he will be continuing his work as a Networked Fellow.
Merle Collins’s project, “Saraka and Nation,” will provide a multimedia archive including video and oral histories, in order to trace connections between cultures of Africans in the Americas and sites of memory in Africa. Merle has now completed most of the video work and is working on the design and features of the online Website.
Zita Nunes spent her fellowship year as the primary organizer of the “Digital Diasporas” conference and creating the infrastructure for a digital archive of articles from the Afro-Brazilian Press, 1910-1970, that will be presented both in Portuguese and in her own English translation to foster comparative work on these materials, which have otherwise been available in English.
MITH in the News
The table-read of the interactive fiction game ADVENTURE we hosted last May in conjunction with the Preserving Virtual Worlds project was covered in the Washington Post, as well as on various blogs. Likewise, MITH projects and activities are regularly covered on the various digital humanities blogs in the field, and Matt Kirschenbaum has established a regular publishing presence in the Chronicle of Higher Education. For the campus community, watch for a major story on MITH in the next issue of the Faculty Voice.
I am delighted to announce the recent hiring of eight extremely talented new staff members: Christina Grogan, MITH’s new Business Coordinator, who received her M.B.A. from the University of Tennessee, comes to us from the University of Maryland’s Program in Neuroscience and Cognitive Science, where she was Program Coordinator. Grant Dickie, our new Web Programmer, comes to us from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where he recently completed his M.A. in Information Science. And Emily Adamo, our new Web Designer, is a Web comics artist, whose most recent position was at the National Archives.
Our other new staff members comprise a stellar group of Program Associates, drawn from the graduate student ranks of several programs on campus: Elizabeth Bonsignore (iSchool), Rachel Donahue (iSchool), James Hesla (Theatre), Arik Lubkin (Architecture), Kate Singer (English).
When you’re next at MITH, please stop by and wave hello. They’ll probably be too busy to stop and chat – at least if I have anything to say about it! For more information about MITH’s entire staff, visit http://www.mith2.umd.edu/about/staff/.
There is, as I hope you’ve seen, much to be excited about in the coming year, including another full program of Digital Dialogues every Tuesday from 12:30 – 1:45, beginning on September 9, with a presentation by Doug Reside, on AXE, the multimedia markup tool he and a MITH team have developed. Other speakers will include Stan Katz (Princeton and ACLS), Brent Seales (University of Kentucky), Kathleen Fitzpatrick (Pomona College), and Joyce Ray (IMLS), as well as a number of our local area and campus colleagues. Last year’s Digital Dialogues frequently had standing room only crowds and we believe that this year’s program is every bit as compelling.
We hope to see you all often in the coming year!