4Humanities.org’s WhatEvery1Says (WE1S) project is racing this summer to conclude its three-year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. During an intensive July summer research camp, 38 project participants across the project’s three campuses—UC Santa Barbara; California State U., Northridge; and U. Miami—are doing sprint work to finish research on WE1S’s massive collections of journalistic media on the humanities with the aid of topic models and other “distant reading” methods. They are also wrapping up analysis of smaller-scale surveys of students and others (conducted according to approved “human subjects” protocols) to complement the big-data picture with the on-the-ground perspective of people engaging with the humanities.
Following a “cards” reporting system inspired by best practices in such fields as medical, nutrition, and data science research, WE1S is producing one-page cards for “key findings,” “calls-to-action” and other recommendations that will become parts of “research-to-action toolkits” for re-engaging the humanities with society. The underlying datasets , methods, software and tools, reports, and other research behind the cards are being prepared for open access.
Participants in this year’s final WE1S summer research camp report a surprising degree of productivity combined with camaraderie during proceedings, despite an all-virtual Zoom environment this time around. WE1S Principal Investigator Alan Liu (also a founder of 4Humanities.org) reports:
It took some experimentation to create interlocking environments of “all-hands” and team Zoom meeting spaces, a shared Google team drive, and our Ryver team collaboration and taskboard platform — plus the social practices glueing it all together — to make it happen. But it’s been amazingly successful. I know because I can’t keep up with editing and doing final review of the outputs from all the teams!