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Editors’ Choice: Collaborative Writing to Build Digital Humanities Praxis

[The following is the rough text of my short paper given at the 2017 Digital Humanities conference in Montréal.]

Thanks very much for having me today! I’m Brandon Walsh, Head of Graduate Programs in the Scholars’ Lab at the University of Virginia Library. I’ll be talking a bit today about “Collaborative Writing to Build Digital Humanities Praxis.” Since the subject here is collaboration I wanted to spend a few minutes here on my collaborators.

This work was begun at my previous position at Washington and Lee University’s library. My principal collaborator here is and was Professor Sarah Horowitz, from Washington and Lee University. We conceived the project together, co-taught the associated course, and her writing figures prominently on the project I will describe. The other names here are individuals, institutions, or projects who figure explicitly in the talk, whether they know it or not. You can find a Zotero collection with the resources mentioned during the talk here.

So. To begin. Emergent programs like those associated with the Praxis Network have redefined the possibilities for digital humanities training by offering models for project-based pedagogy. These efforts provide innovative institutional frameworks for building up and sharing digital skills, but they primarily focus on graduate or undergraduate education. They tend to think in terms of students. The long-term commitments that programs like these require can make them difficult to adapt for the professional development of other librarians, staff, and faculty collaborators. While members of these groups might share deep interests in undertaking such programs themselves, their institutional commitments often prevent them from committing the time to such professional development, particularly if the outcomes are not immediately legible for their own structures of reporting. I argue that we can make such praxis programs viable for broader communities by expanding the range of their potential outcomes and forms. In particular, I want to explore the potential for collaborative writing projects to develop individual skillsets and, by extension, the capacity of digital humanities programs.


Read the full post here.