Hyecho’s Journey featured at the Freer|Sackler Galleries of the Smithsonian! 

This Fall saw the first project of the Humanities Collaboratory bear a range of remarkable fruit. On December 9, the entire team of Hyecho’s Journey made a trip to Washington, where the eighth-century Korean Buddhist monk Hyecho and his extraordinary journey is a focal point of a major exhibition of Buddhist art, entitled “Encountering the Buddha: Art and Practice across Asia,” at the Freer|Sackler Galleries of the Smithsonian. The exhibition, which opened on October 13, will run for three years.

During last week’s event in the Meyer Auditorium at the Freer|Sackler, Professor Donald Lopez (PI) and the rest of Team Hyecho (Kevin Carr, Carla Sinopoli, Chun Wa Chan, Ha Nul Jun, and Rebecca Bloom) spoke the lines from the graphic novel(ette) about the project in this Fall’s LSA Magazine, leading into a wide-ranging discussion with the audience, who had braved an inch of snow to attend.

The event coincided with the publication of their book “Hyecho’s Journey: The World of Buddhism.” The book describes twelve places that Hyecho stopped along his three-year journey—from Korea, to China, India, Arabia, and back to China—telling stories that Hyecho would have known about the sacred Buddhist sites that he visited and what those stories tell us about the Buddhist world. The book contains color plates of twenty-four works from the Freer|Sackler Galleries.

Also unveiled this Fall were two apps created by a group of UM students from UM’s Multidisciplinary Design Program. Under the guidance of Professor Sugih Jamin of EECS, the student team worked with experts at the Freer|Sackler over the past calendar year to create an interactive map for the iPad as well as a guide through the exhibition, complete with audio commentary and games, for the iPhone, allowing visitors to the exhibition to learn more about the Buddhist world Hyecho encountered on his pilgrimage. The apps are free and available for download from the Apple Store. The team included undergraduate Computer Science students Anders Boberg, Bailey Case, Elijah Sattler, and Eric Yeh, as well as School of Information graduate student Wei Cai, School of Information undergraduate Rebecca Henry, and SI/Art & Design dual major Sindhu Giri.

Finally, over the Thanksgiving break, five members of Team Hyecho traveled to Korea and Japan, visiting sites associated with Hyecho in Korea as well as museums in both countries that hold important collections from the period of his travels.

Congratulations to the entire team of Hyecho’s Journey!

Collaboratory in U-M Leadership Breakfast Remarks

During his 2017 Leadership Breakfast, President Schlissel made note of the Humanities Collaboratory among a set of new campus-wide initiatives that are “helping to unleash faculty creativity in innovative ways.” Schlissel acknowledged the role and importance of project-based, faculty-led collaboration in positioning U-M as a leading site of new knowledge production.

2017 Leadership Breakfast (Remarks)

Congratulations to our 2017 Proposal Development Grant Recipients! 

We are extremely pleased to announce the following recipients of our proposal development grants. These grants will support the planning and development of projects in May and June 2017.

Argentine Afrikaners: Interrogating Hybridity in a Unique Diasporic Community
This project will examine the practices of a unique settlement in Patagonia, Argentina, which presents an exceptional situation of cultural and linguistic contact between Afrikaans and Argentine-Spanish communities. By studying the archive of oral narratives both for their linguistic structures and in terms of their ideological content, the team will determine the nature and extent of linguistic hybridity between Afrikaans and Spanish in individual speakers. To preserve cultural history and language, the team will also create a multilingual archive and website (in English, Spanish, and Afrikaans) that would provide access to open-source applications containing video and sound clips, transcripts, and the history of the community.

PI: Nicholas Henriksen, Assistant Professor, Romance Languages & Literatures
Team Members: Andries Coetzee, Associate Professor, Linguistics, Lorenzo Garcia-Amaya, Assistant Professor, Romance Languages & Literatures, Ryan Szpiech, Associate Professor, Romance Languages & Literatures, Paulina Alberto, Associate Professor, History, & Romance Languages & Literatures, Katharine Jenckes, Associate Professor, Romance Languages & Literatures; Graduate students, including two close collaborators and one IT assistant (TBD); Undergraduate students: Mallory Fuller, Ella Deaton, Meghan Samyn

The Gabii Digital Publication Collaboratory
This project is grounded in the publication of a series of “next generation monographs” reporting the results of excavations in the ancient Latin city of Gabii led by Dr. Nicola Terrenato and sponsored by the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology since 2007. Using these monographs as examples, the project will pair disciplinary experts with information scientists, scholars of rhetoric and composition, technologists, librarians and publishers from Michigan Publishing (including University of Michigan Press) to investigate the ways in which users engage with digital publications and improve the practice of digital publication in the humanities.

PI: Nicola Terrenato, Esther B. Van Deman Professor of Classical Studies
Team Members: Naomi Silver, Associate Director, Sweetland Center for Writing, David Stone, Associate Research Scientist, Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, Kentaro Toyama, W. K. Kellogg Professor of Community Information, School of Information, Charles Watkinson, Associate University Librarian (Publishing), University Library; Graduate students: Zoe Jenkins, Classical Studies, Matthew Naglak, Classical Studies, Tyler Johnson, Classical Studies, Adrienne Raw, English Language and Literature, and one member from the School of Information TBD)

On the Emergence and Development of Three Atlantic Creoles: A Linguistic and Historical Perspective on Haitian, Sranan and Cape Verdean
This project will examine a set of early creole texts written in the 16th and 18th centuries and the historical context in which they were written. Specifically, the team will bring together historians and linguists to study the earliest written records of Haitian Creole, (a French-based creole), Sranan Creole (an English-based creole) and Cape Verdean Creole (a Portuguese-based creole), and draw a fuller picture of the linguistic and historical insights that these texts have to offer in addressing the following questions: What did a given creole look like in the early stages of development? Who were the original founding populations and what were the languages in contact? Who were the early agents of creolization: adults and/or children? What was the socio-historical context in which the creole developed?

PI: Marlyse Baptista, Professor, Linguistics and DAAS
Team Members: Sarah Thomason, Professor, Linguistics, Jean Hébrard, Professor, History/Humanities Institute, Graduate Students: Ariana Bancu, Linguistics, Yourdanis Sedarous, Linguistics, Andrew Walker, History; Undergraduate Students: Naomi Gottschalk, Linguistics

FAST Lecture: A Karanis Collaboratory

The Karanis Project, funded by the Collaboratory, will summarize their study of the ancient village of Karanis in Egypt from multidisciplinary perspectives on Thursday, February 16, 2017 from 4:00-5:00 pm in Auditorium C, Angell Hall. For more information about this research project, please visit their website. FAST lectures are free and open to the public, and sponsored by the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology.




Making Projects Accessible

By Stephanie Rosen, Ph.D.

Early in the process of seeking support for a collaborative project in the humanities — or any field — researchers must demonstrate the expected impact of that project’s deliverables. This early stage is also the right time to start thinking about accessibility, one important facet of impact. Here, accessibility refers to legal and technical definitions of “readily accessible to people with disabilities” — elaborated in the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines — as well as a more general sense of equitable access. As such, accessibility aligns with our commitments as a public research institution and with the individual researcher’s goal to maximize the reach of their work. The University offers resources to support accessible scholarship, and we encourage researchers to seek it out early and often.  

Humanities Collaboratory scholars may already be aware of accessibility by way of federal funding requirements, the open access movement, or philosophies of universal design. In 2013, the Obama White House Office of Science and Technology Policy issued a memorandum on “Increasing Public Access,” requiring that articles and data resulting from federally funded research be made freely available to the public and hosted on accessible platforms. This is an explicit attempt to ensure that publicly funded scholarship benefits the public. A similar rationale drives the open access movement, which argues that research underwritten by colleges and universities should not be published under a profit model that prevents some colleges and universities from accessing the same research. Both movements, open access and accessibility, are related to universal design, a design philosophy the centers the needs of users with disabilities to the benefit of all users (see George Williams’ 2012 article, Disability, Universal Design, and the Digital Humanities). Fundamental to all these discourses is the idea that public research ought to be equitably accessible to all members of the public.

When it comes to collaborative research projects in the humanities, accessibility expertise can help teams design digital deliverables that will be usable for a broad range of audiences using a range of technologies, including assistive technologies. This is best achieved by consulting accessibility resources at every stage of the project: issues are difficult to address at the end, but fairly easy to incorporate into the process. Beyond the digital, accessibility expertise may help teams incorporate best practices into event planning and public presentations. As Library Accessibility Specialist, I am available to consult on any of these concerns, and direct researchers to further resources, such as Ten Tips for Inclusive Meetings, recently created by a U-M team, and accessibility guidelines for public presentations, now offered by many scholarly societies.

I look forward to learning more about collaborative projects in the humanities and working together to increase their impact by making deliverables accessible. Please contact me at ssrosen@umich.edu.

Winter 2017 Digital Scholarship Workshop Series

The University Library is offering three workshops this semester where participants may learn about different aspects of project-based digital scholarship. Please click on the title of each workshop to read their description and register for the session.

Digital Scholarship 101: An Overview of Digital Scholarship Tools and Methodology
Thursday, 2/9, 1:00 pm-2:30 pm
Gallery Lab, 100 Hatcher Graduate Library

Clarity and Control: Project Management For Digital Scholarship
Thursday, 2/16, 1:00 pm-2:30 pm
Gallery Lab, 100 Hatcher Graduate Library

Copyright and Digital Scholarship
Wednesday, 4/19, 2:00 pm-3:30 pm
Gallery Lab, 100 Hatcher Graduate Library

For more information about these workshops, please contact Alix Keener, Digital Scholarship Librarian at U-M Library.