From the CFParticipation:
Together Umbra Search African American History and the African American History, Culture, and Digital Humanities (AADHum) initiative at the University of Maryland are working on a research agenda related to vital issues of collaboration and sustainability for digital collections and platforms focused on African American history and culture.
We are planning two upcoming engagements around this research agenda. The first is a working meeting for invited participants, which will take place on Thursday, October 18, 2018, on the University of Maryland campus in College Park, MD, as a pre-conference event for AADHum’s Intentionally Digital, Intentionally Black conference. The second, the idea for which we have gratefully borrowed from the Collections as Data team, is open to all.
We invite the broader community to engage with us online. Please consider sharing a brief statement to help us shape our face-to-face meeting. This is a great way to get your concerns, questions, and provocations on the table as well as to share your background. Please add your thoughts here: https://go.umd.edu/umbra-preconf-statements
Read more here.
I want to frame my talk around a quote from Community Futures Lab co-director Rasheedah Phillips from her workshop “Time, Memory, and Justice in Marginalized Communities.” She states “Oral Futures is about speaking into existence what you want to have happen.”
I want to think with you today about how such future-making materials are collected, preserved, and made accessible in a moment of extreme climate change and the attending displacements of people and animals due to environmental and political-economic erosion of homelands and sites of cultural heritage.
We cannot save everything, nor would we want to. Decisions have to be made about what to keep and what to discard; these decisions encode and reflect particular values, privilege and power structures—some decisions about what to be kept go against the community’s desire for privacy or restricted access to materials; this is a tension between surveillance and privacy, between visibility and erasure. Yvonne Perkins writes, “In the past people such as women, non-Europeans, Aborigines, the poor etc were not considered important contributors to our history so their stories are often not portrayed in archival records, or they were obscured in the archives by the social conventions of the time.”
Archives—in this usage I mean institutional, community, as well as digital collections curated by scholars—do not only exist to explain or contextualize the past, but also signal towards and shape futures. Archives call to the fore the processes of preservation, memory, and access. As Brit Stolli notes, attending to these processes raises uncomfortable questions of who decides what is significant to carry forward, in whose memory is the past best preserved, how do we (and who exactly counts as ‘we’) determine the ethical framework through which to focus our efforts of preservation and future-shaping? Absences and obfuscations are referred to as archival silences. Michel-Rolph Trouillot outlines the ways voices from the past are silenced:
- there is a silencing in the making of sources. Which events even get described or remembered in a manner which allows them to transcend the present in which they occurred? Not everything gets remembered or recorded. Some parts of reality get silenced.
- there is a silencing in the creation of archives—in this usage, Trouillot means repositories of historical records. At times this archival silencing is permanent since the records do not get preserved; other times the silencing is in the process of competition for the attention of the narrators, the later tellers of the historical tales.
- And thirdly, the narrators themselves necessarily silence much. In most of history the archives are massive. Choices, selections, valuing must be done. In this process, huge areas of archival remains are silenced.
Read the full post here.
From the announcement:
The workshop will focus on ways that Pleiades and its partner resources can be used to involve undergraduates in scholarly research; to prepare maps for teaching, presentation, and publication; and to connect one’s own digital projects to the scholarly graph of Linked Open Data for ancient studies. In particular, we aim to teach participants — through hands-on instruction — to create dynamic digital maps that can be printed or placed in presentations for class use and to construct research plans and student projects that rely on “the Pleiades ecosystem” for source data and tooling.
Read the full announcement here.
While storytelling can take on many forms and span several disciplines, the techniques and methods we use to tell good stories are fairly similar. Understanding those similarities and what makes a particular story effective on a particular medium can help us become better storytellers. There are certain tricks to improv comedy, for example, that can help us better visualize data.
For both data visualization and improv, the storyteller is inviting an audience into an artificial world. This is a big ask. We’re asking our audience to suspend their understanding of reality for a moment and accept new rules and conditions. For example, when an actor walks on stage, arms outstretched, complaining about the imaginary fishbowl she’s carrying that’s brimming with water, the actor is asking the audience to picture a fishbowl in her hands. What’s more, she has to account for the fishbowl for the entire scene — is she holding it the whole time, is water spilling out of it at all, does she ever put the bowl down, or if it breaks, what happens to the fish?
When we visualize data, we are doing the same thing. We are asking our audience to understand shapes and forms on a digital screen to be something other than what they are. We do this by constructing the world within which these shapes exist — as well as the rules that govern them. We create space with coordinates and maybe gravity — a bar chart, for example, establishes a “ground” and the bars themselves are stacked piles or filled cylinders. This gives the height of the bars meaning.
An important thing we can learn from improv comedy is that we must maintain the logic of the environment we’ve established. If the actor on stage forgets she’s holding a fishbowl and slowly drops her arms as the scene progresses, the scene is ruined. The audience’s trust is lost. The world the actors have asked the audience to imagine has been broken.
Read the full post here.