Bethany  Nowviskie

  • Title / Position: Director of Digital Research & Scholarship
  • Organization: University of Virginia Library
  • Website:
  • Twitter: nowviskie

Director of Digital Research & Scholarship at the UVa Library (my department includes the super-fantastic Scholars' Lab), and Special Advisor to the Provost for digital humanities at UVa. President of the Association for Computers and the Humanities (ACH) and CLIR Distinguished Presidential Fellow, too.

The Chronicle of Higher Ed says, "Bethany Nowviskie likes to build things." True! And herd cats.

  • an R&D agenda for embodied interaction in DH?


    I suppose I’m a tactile tinkerer. When I have time for it, I tinker a bit with wearable computing — also called “soft circuits,” “embodied interaction,” or — arguably — augmented reality. This is the (often gendered) art or craft of sewing electronic circuitry, sensors, and microprocessors like the Lilypad Arduino into clothing, jewelry, toys, and other household goods so that they become (or make you become) aware of their/your environment in new ways.

    Bill Turkel and I taught a workshop on hacking wearables and e-textiles at THATCamp Great Lakes, we had fun with this stuff at the #pastplay symposium, and I gave away freebies at the last THATCamp Prime.

    But here’s my question for THATCampVA — which I’ve also posted to @DHanswers:

    Conceptually, I can’t get past toys and art pieces — like blinky, light-up merit badges, ambient orbs that respond to the state of my inbox, a tipsyflower brooch made of shape-memory wire & breathalyzer parts, jewelry that whines when you walk north…

    I’d like to design a project that I felt was meaningful in terms of digital humanities theory or research — something useful within, or reflective about, the field. And I’m just stuck. Any ideas?

    One thing I love about the LilyPad Arduino community is Leah Buechley’s emphasis on soft circuits as a path to teaching young girls to hack things and code. I guess what I’m looking for (and maybe will have to write) is a similar approach to wearable computing and embodied interaction for serious (eh, semi-serious) DH.

    I’ll bring my bag of silvery, conductive thread and blinky self-meriting merit badges (a fun first project) to THATCampVA for anybody who’s interested — but what I’m really bringing is this question:

    Can we collectively imagine and engineer a meaningful set of projects, or an R&D agenda, for embodied interaction in the digital humanities?

  • Go!


    Applications are now open for approximately 60 slots at THATCampVA!

    DUE DATE: October 25th

    Selected attendees will be notified by early November.

    A limited number of fellowships, meant to defray costs of travel and lodging, are available for qualified THATCampers who plan to attend our BootCamp sessions. Determine your eligibility for a BootCamp fellowship at the link above, and apply separately.

  • Getting set…


    Just a quick update to say: look at our lovely new site! Many thanks to Regional THATCamp coordinator Amanda French and CHNM‘s Creative Lead, Jeremy Boggs, for the work they are doing on a “THATCamp-in-a-box” infrastructure to support events like ours — and to Joe Gilbert of the Scholars’ Lab for his efforts, too. Finally, thanks to Eric Johnson of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, for our periwigged, puffed-up, dare-I-say prestigiously presidential logo. If a cardinal in a peruke doesn’t scream “Central Virginia” we don’t know what does.

    Local organizers are hard at work on the arrangements for December — including our planned BootCamp sessions the day before THATCamp begins. We hope to be opening this site up to applicants by October 8th, so stay tuned!

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