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Editors’ Choice: RMMLA Panel on Digital Humanities Microclimates: Demystifying Digital Humanities

I teach the Demystifying Digital Humanities (DMDH) workshop series at the University of Washington. This series includes six 3-hour workshops over the course of the school year, providing an introduction to digital humanities and multimodal scholarship, and some of the activities associated with digital humanities (DH) — professionalisation through social media, working with code, and project development. They take place on Saturday mornings, over breakfast. This is important, for reasons that I think will become clearer as I continue.

Our target audience is humanities graduate students, but we’ve also had attendees who are faculty and staff, and our participants are from at least 14 different programs at UW. We’re in our second year, and things are going great.

However, this program isn’t accredited, because I founded it with my colleague, Sarah Kremen-Hicks, and we’re PhD students. This year, we’ve added another PhD student, Brian Gutierrez, so we’re a team of three. We started the program with funding from the UW Simpson Center for the Humanities, and the Textual Studies program, because the UW doesn’t yet have an official course, certificate, or program in digital humanities. And 1), we wanted to do digital humanities, and make it a significant part of our careers; and 2), from our perspective, what it would take to get a digital humanities program started would be for more people at UW to do DH, and demonstrate that it was a real and tangible thing, and not just a bunch of headlines in the Chronicle.

So, we had a tiny little microclimate, in the form of the Simpson Center’s interest in DH, and some encouraging faculty sponsors from several different departments. That was enough to get us started, and we’re currently still working on cultivating the landscape to support DH growth.  That has several implications, which I’ll explain.

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This content was selected for Digital Humanities Now by Editor-in-Chief based on nominations by Editors-at-Large: