The Digital Humanities Incubator is intended to help introduce University of Maryland faculty, staff, and graduate assistants to digital humanities methods and tools through a series of workshops, tutorials, and project consultations. The first phase of the Incubator concentrated on working with UMD Libraries faculty and staff exclusively. This second phase, entitled “Researching Ferguson,” is a broader campus-wide initiative which aims to provide leadership and training on event-based social media data and network analysis.
In October 2014, MITH began spearheading a series of meetings to develop research and teaching opportunities for the use of the Ferguson Twitter archive, which is a collection of tweets harvested by MITH’s Ed Summers using a command line program named twarc in August 2014 in the wake of the events in Ferguson, MO. MITH’s early work with this collection was conducted in collaboration with the ARHU Center for Synergy, and in October and December 2014 MITH hosted two brainstorming sessions with various UMD faculty and students. MITH introduced the collection and solicited feedback regarding its possible value and use to the scholarly community.
The discussions that took place at both prior events allowed MITH to synthesize the input that was received, which was used to begin planning for several ongoing MITH Digital Humanities Incubator sessions ran throughout February 2015 as part of Black History Month, and continued throughout Spring 2015. These workshops were part of the broader, university-wide effort to engage the #BlackLivesMatter movement at the University of Maryland.