• Learning DH the DIY Way

    This session idea comes out of the experience of working this semester, with Matt Gold, to launch the CUNY Digital Humanities Initiative. It’s a brand new group that aims to build community among CUNY DHers, and raise awareness of DH at CUNY more  generally. We emphasize that all are welcome to join – “faculty, students, and technologists, experienced practitioners and beginning DHers, enthusiasts and skeptics” – and there’s been a great response so far.

    With this though comes some anxiety (especially if you’re a born worrier). We built a Resource Guide to help introduce newcomers to the field, but then there’s the next set of questions: “How do I get started? What do I need to learn? How do I learn it?”

    On the one hand I’m convinced that the DIY model of DH – DHer as self-motivated tinkerer – is the right one, at least for us. And since we’re funding-free we couldn’t support a more passive model anyway. But I feel responsibility too for providing new DHers (I’m one myself) with some help on the way up the learning curve. There’s a lot of work in progress on DH education but, in the meantime, what can we do to make the DIY model more practically accessible for new DHers in our group, and other groups like ours?

    Very excited to see Julie Meloni on the Camper list – it would be great to get her thoughts on the best approaches, given her project to “Develop self-paced open access DH curriculum for mid-career scholars otherwise untrained.”

    I’d also be very keen to pick up from Chris Forster’s post on HASTAC about this issue and its relationship to how, and how quickly, DH might develop as a field (what the Landscape of Digital Humanists might look like, if you will).

    And, in hack mode, would love to hear your ideas on how can we enhance the Guide to provide or point to some better answers here.


  1. mebrett says:

    I think this would be a great session. DH can be really overwhelming, and it’s good to have resources/tricks for people to help them feel more confident moving forward.

  2. Jordan says:

    I’m glad you proposed this session! I’ve been wondering whether it would be useful to discuss (or debate) what the “essential skills” for DHers are, and I think that fits into this notion of how best to prepare people to do work in the field, regardless of their educational background.

  3. Eric Johnson says:

    By inclination and by training, I have a soft spot for those who are new to DH (or heck, to technology in general) and I would love to help lower the barriers–and the levels of anxiety–wherever possible. This sounds like a great session!

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