To develop greater faculty expertise in environmental humanities, particularly in the area of digital humanities methods and tools, the Environmental Humanities Initiative offers summer grants to faculty enabling those interested in the environmental digital humanities to attend conferences and workshops to build their skills. These grants are available by application both to people new to the digital humanities and to those who have some experience, but who wish to expand their capacities or learn new methods in this area. Faculty who receive these grants conduct faculty development workshops on campus to share their new expertise with colleagues at Colby.
Click here for a list of institutions offering eligible conferences and workshops.
Assistant Professor of English
Aaron Hanlon received a grant to attended the 2018 Digital Humanities Summer School in Oxford, England where he received training in DH computational and quantitative methods. He was particularly interested in the summer school’s “Quantitative Humanities” module, which focused on the application of data science methods in humanities research, and the “Introduction to the Text Encoding Initiative” module because he is a scholar of seventeenth and eighteenth century literature, TEI plays a hidden but central role in the forms of quantitative data one can pull from databases like Eighteenth Century Collections Online(ECCO) and Early English Books Online (EEBO).
He is applying what he learned to his second book project, Connecting the Dots: The Rise of the Data Narrative, which will have significant implications for Environmental Humanities. Given the roles of data and data visualization in climate modeling, and of data “literacy” in communicating climate science to the general public, his research provides crucial context for Environmental Humanities discussions of how we make meaning of climate data, and where the humanities fit into quantitative climate science.
Ellerton M. and Edith K. Jette Professor of Art
Ankeney Weitz also received a grant to attended the Digital Humanities Summer School in Oxford, England, where she participated in the five-day workshop “Crowdsourced Research in the Humanities.” The workshop helped her delve more deeply into her research project on the intersections between natural science and visual culture in traditional Chinese culture, looking initially at Song dynasty (960-1276) paintings in the genre referred to as “bird and flower.” The major obstacle for this project is the lack of specific titles for the vast majority of the botanical and avian paintings. Many are simply labeled “bird” and “flower,” and yet the birds, insects, and plants were drawn with such accuracy that they can be identified by family and species. Some of the ornithological specimens even appear with variations in seasonal plumage. Several thousand of these paintings on silk and paper survive—from the Song period and subsequent dynasties. Her project is one that could benefit from crowdsourcing. The Oxford workshop included some training in the crowdsource platform Zooniverse, “a collection of web-based citizen science projects that help researchers deal with the flood of data that confronts them,” which is well-suited to her research.
Assistant Professor of Italian
In June of 2016, Serena attended two courses at the Digital Humanities Summer Institute at the University of Victoria. Following her rewarding experience there, she applied and was admitted to the Graduate Certificate program in Digital Humanities in the Department of English at the University of Victoria.
She was awarded a digital humanities grant from the Environmental Humanities Initiative in 2017 to complete her Graduate Certificate at DHSI June 5-16, 2017. There she took the courses “Fundamentals of Programming/Coding for Human(s/ists)” and “Sound and Digital Humanities,” as well as a directed reading on “minimal computing” with the Institute’s Director, Prof. Jentery Sayers.
With the expertise gained at DHSI, Serena developed the following projects:
- The Navigli Project: A digital exhibit of Milan’s waterways that displays and narrates the visual, thick history of water in the city. An interactive resource for students, researchers, and the general public interested in discovering and learning about Milan’s disappeared canals and current plans to bring them back. It comprises several layers of history, politics, literature, architecture, sound, video, photography, and geography that show the different factors that throughout the centuries have shaped Milan’s cityscape of today. With additional support from the Center for the Arts and Humanities to develop the Humanities Lab IT397 City of Water, Uncovering Milan’s Aquatic Geographies she and her students expanded the project last year. (More info here)
- Noisemakers: An in-progress multimedia project on noise that utilizes 2D and 3D sound mapping to create a multisensory experience of the territory involving hearing and touch in addition to sight. Rooted in advanced music and visual programming software Ableton Live and Max MSP, it allows users to interact with and remix recorded urban noise/sounds on several digital geographical maps. This project is the focus of one of the modules in this spring’s course titled IT298 “Noisemakers! Tracing the Origins of Modern Music in Italy.”
Serena led a faculty workshop in digital humanities on April 10, 2018.