4Humanities@UCSB Meeting 6

Project Progress Reports
& Planning for Summer and Fall

Monday, June 11, 12-1 pm (South Hall 2607)

(I) 4Humanities Initiative (International Organization): Recent and Upcoming Developments

  • Leadership group recently expanded: Alan Lu (UCSB), Geoffrey Rockwell (U. Alberta), Melissa Terras (U. College London), Stéfan Sinclair (McGill U.)
  • New Funding: new ALLC (Assoc. for Literary & Linguistic Computing) grant of €1500; and research funding from Alan Liu and Geoffrey Rockwell. The funding will provide for:
  • Proposal  to ACH (ADHO) for in-kind support (locating the 4Humanities site on their server)
  • Recent and upcoming conference events:
    • DHSI 2012: 4Humanities session on “DH Humanities Advocacy and Geekery” at DHSI “unconference”; Kristin Cornelius: “Disseminating the Humanities” presentation
    • U. College London 4Humanities conference organized by Melissa Terras on Sept. 18, 2012 (keynoter: Alan Liu); possible start-up of UCL local chapter of 4Humanities
    • DHWI@MITH (January 2013) to include a Public DH events series featuring 4Humanities
    • Possible McGill U. DH Institute in May 2013 to include three-day workshop on humanities advocacy.
    • Possible 4Humanities workshop at DHSI 2013.

(II) 4Humanities@UCSB (UCSB Local Chapter): Recent and Upcoming Developments

  • Leadership group recently expanded: Linda Adler-Kassner (Writing Program), Claudio Fogu (French & Italian Dept.), Alan LIu (English Dept.), with Lindsay Thomas continuing as RA and Graduate-Student Coordinator
  • Proposal for renewal as Research Focus Group (RFG) at UCSB’s Interdisciplinary Humanities Center (IHC)
  • Web service and hardware equipment purchases made by 4Humanities@UCSB on its 2012-13 RFG budget from the IHC:
    • $99 for a one-year subscription to the “Classroom Edition” of PBWorks.  PBworks is the service hosting the RFG’s development site (where it hosts its planning, resource-gathering, and project-staging materials).  The “Classroom Edition” plan allows for increased storage and selective lock-down of pages (so that some materials not ready for public view can be private while the rest of the site is kept open to the public).
    • $99 for a “Silver” plan on Omeka.net, where 4Humanities@UCSB is starting a humanities showcase exhibit site.  Omeka is a platform that adapts the WordPress online content management system for museum-grade multimedia exhibitions.  (The upgrade from the free plan provides more choice of design themes and plug-ins, and allows for multiple exhibition sites.)
    • $60 for an annual subscription to Skype Premium, to allow for group video and group screen sharing, which are critical to support meetings with remote RFG members and remote 4Humanities local-chapter collaborators.
    • $233 for equipment to audio-record advocacy interviews (or add high-audio to future video interviews).  The main equipment is a low-end professional digital audio recorder (TASCAM DR-40 portable digital recorder: $150) with accessories (32 Gb SDHC storage card, microphone windscreen, mini-tripod: $83).

(III) 4Humanities@UCSB Plans for Next Year

[from the 4Humanities@UCSB RFG renewal proposal to IHC for 2012-13]:

“In 2012-13, the RFG plans each quarter for its project teams to meet and work semi-autonomously, and then for all the teams to converge in at least one plenary meeting per quarter to report on progress, discuss strategic directions, and discuss theoretical and methodological issues (in some cases based on readings)…. In addition, the RFG expects that some of its humanities advocacy projects will have matured to the point where it makes sense to mount a charrette- or focus-group event involving either (or both) the “public” and collaborators from other institutions….

Building on these projects, the RFG hopes that with sufficient funding it will be able to mount an event in 2012-13 that complements its project work.  Specifically, the event would break out of the conventional academic conference or symposium format by following one of the following alternative formats:

  • An informal “charrette” of project participants and collaborators from other institutions.  “Charrette” is a term that originated in the field of architecture, where students at the French academy met a deadline by throwing their plans into a literal charrette (cart).  Today, the term refers to a collaborative, real-time exercise in creating project prototypes (sometimes with paid professional facilitators).  A 4Humanities@UCSB charrette would avoid professional facilitation in favor of informal processes for inducing RFG members and collaborators from other institutions to work on projects.  An analogy is the programming “scrum.”  The idea is to spend a day working quickly together in order not only to make progress on individual projects but to tap the forces of serendipitous collaborative discovery and synergy.
  • A public focus-group conference. If the RFG’s projects are far enough along, then it would make sense to organize an event in which invited members of the “public” (local community members, politicians representing Goleta and Santa Barbara, students and their parents, etc.) are invited to meet with the RFG.  The RFG would present its projects and ask for feedback.  Besides gaining feedback for the RFG’s projects, such an event would create a channel for community engagement that might lead to future university/community collaborations on humanities projects.”

(IV) 4Humanities@UCSB  Project Groups: Status Reports & Future Plans

(See 4Humanities@UCSB Wiki for project planning resources)

Humanities, Plain & Simple Project

(Advocacy statements, interviews, etc. that directly address the public and synthesize or draw on other projects developed by 4Humanities)

Humanities Showcase Project

This project gathers descriptions and images of high-impact, publicly-understandable humanities research and teaching (vetted through polling academic and non-academic focus groups) for online exhibitions and social-media campaigns.  The goal is to create both a stand-alone resource for demonstrating the public value of the humanities and a resource whose examples can be embedded in a variety of other advocacy projects.

Outreach 4Humanities Project

This project solicits and produces audio and/or video interviews, plus text statements, from representative or prominent non-humanities or non-academic people willing to speak out for the value of the humanities.  Already started through interviews with prominent artists and others brought to campus by the UCSB Arts & Lectures series, the project will focus on recruiting advocacy testaments from such people as scientists, doctors, politicians, artists, film directors and actors, university presidents, etc.

Humanities Infographics Project

Inspired by the “Quantifying Digital Humanities Infographics” created by the University College of London Centre for Digital Humanities (see http://www.ucl.ac.uk/dh-blog/2012/01/20/infographic-quantifying-digital-humanities/), this project aims to research data about the humanities in order to produce message-oriented infographics about the international, national, and regional health of the humanities and its impact on community life (starting with California).  For example, the project plans to produce a set of graphics (and possibly animations) showing what a richer, denser ecosystem of public humanities and arts in California looked like in an earlier year (in universities, museums, libraries, theaters, youth programs, and other cultural institutions) by contrast with what the same ecosystem looks like after funding cutbacks.

Humanities Undergraduate Outreach Project

This project aims to involve undergraduate students in exemplifying or voluntarily participating in showing the value of the humanities.  Initial subprojects include an “Undergraduate Showcase” for exhibiting undergraduate work in the digital humanities (led by the CSUN local chapter of 4Humanities with thepotential for contributions from 4Humanities@UCSB and UCSB students); and a set of student statements gathered by Christopher Newfield at UCSB.

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