Week Three Reflective Essay

As someone who is much more familiar with the Humanities side of Digital Humanities, I knew that the collaborative nature of this fellowship would be unfamiliar. Luckily, the fellowship is set up to both model and facilitate good practice for working together with peers and mentors alike. Watching the DSSF committee work together throughout the process has set a good example for the way scholarly discussion can flourish in a community. The committee has not only demonstrated how to collaborate, but it has also allowed me (and the other members of the student cohort) to join in discussions about what DH means and what it can do. Our Wednesday discussions about DH as a discipline as well as our planning sessions on Mondays and Fridays provide a unique space where, regardless of experience in the field of DH, all members of the DSSF community can share their ideas. These sessions are particularly important in a college setting where the professor-student relationship is often slanted such that knowledge moves in only one direction – professor to student. It is really refreshing to have a more open discussion where I feel my knowledge is valued and I can also gain from others’ knowledge.

I have also seen collaboration in the public sessions of the DSSF workshops. I have thoroughly enjoyed talking to professors (shout out to Dr. Robertson) about their research plans and feel that, despite the fact that our projects did not overlap, I was part of a collaborative effort of discovering the possibilities of DH. The public sessions have also been available to Kolbe Fellows and DTSFs, so I can see how DH extends beyond those explicitly involved it in—that is, sometimes people who are using DH methods and principles to guide their work would not necessarily describe it as DH.

Our trip to Bucknell this past week allowed me to collaborate with members far from home, while continuing to talk to those closest to my DSSF experience – namely the student cohort. While most of our time was spent learning a new tool, I most enjoyed the time we had to discuss our projects. I was inspired by the big dreams the other students had for their projects and by their model I started thinking about my project in terms of possibility rather than limitation. I was also able to hear their perspective of ways to improve my project with all the possibilities of DH. On the ride back from Bucknell I was able to see how my experience was similar to and different from that of one of the other members of my cohort, thus tying together my discussions with the Bucknell DSSRF cohort and the Gettysburg DSSF.

My cohort has been invaluable to my experience in the DSSF program because hearing about their projects continues to give me new perspectives on my own work. Moreover, I really enjoy learning about the other directions DH can take a project; my work in DH will not conclude with this project, so even things that will not directly benefit this project will be of use to me in the future. I think DH collaboration is at its best when all members come with both insight and willingness to learn (the former being much easier to come confidently with). I am grateful to the members of my cohort, the DSSF committee, and everyone else with whom I have engaged with DH who have exemplified this balance.

2 Replies to “Week Three Reflective Essay”

  1. Sometimes the best conversations come during long car rides! I’m happy that we’re able to help develop relationships that are less one-sided. I like your phrasing as discussing your project not as limitation but as possibility. That’s one of the great things about DH, that every project is full of possibilities (so much we ground you in project management. etc. at the start to help you keep those possibilities in perspective). By thinking in possibilities we also can focus on the process of getting there, and worry less about a “finished” product (although we want you to be successful in that as well).

  2. I can’t wait to hear if you try to some DH activities with your students next semester.

    I have had some of my best reflections with colleagues in vehicles riding to/from library things. Welcome to the carpool. At least we didn’t sing this year. 🙂

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