Grant to support training for high-impact public digital humanities collaborations

LAWRENCE — The Institute for Digital Research in the Humanities at the University of Kansas has been awarded $190,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities to offer training in the public digital humanities and academic-community collaborations. An intensive week-long summer institute — to be offered in June 2022 at the Hall Center for the Humanities — will provide foundational knowledge, skills, and resources to successfully advance 12 public humanities projects, increasing their longevity, visibility, and impact. This will be followed by a year of further online training, support, and discussion, with a final symposium and showcase in June 2023.
The institute is particularly aimed at fostering successful academic-community digital projects. Twenty-four participants from 12 public digital projects, drawn from a national pool of applicants, will attend in teams of two. The cohort will see many examples of public digital humanities projects and receive training in digital humanities framed with a community-engagement perspective. 
"While technical knowledge is important, the real key to successful, long-term digital humanities projects is developing healthy, collaborative relationships that meet the needs of all the stakeholders and contributors," said Brian Rosenblum, digital humanities librarian and co-director of the IDRH. "This can be especially challenging when working across academic and community sectors. That's why our curriculum goes beyond training in digital tools and methods and emphasizes relationship-building, project management, and effective models of academic-community collaboration."
"We know of no forum that provides this kind of opportunity for community organizations to train alongside humanities scholars in a bidirectional, collaborative setting," added Dave Tell, professor of communication studies and co-director of IDRH.
The NEH funding will allow IDRH to bring together a roster of more than 20 digital humanities practitioners, community-engaged scholars, and public sector partners to serve as institute faculty, giving participants an opportunity for extensive interaction and networking with experts and with each other. Along with introductory technical training, the curriculum will include interactive learning and discussion sessions, and carefully selected case studies that represent different types of digital projects, partnerships, contexts, and demographics. 
"Beyond supporting the specific projects participating in the institute, the program will foster wider conversation at the intersection of the public and the digital humanities, and will create resources and models for effective collaboration that any future project can utilize,” Rosenblum noted.

The summer institute will also include training in fundraising, grant writing, and marketing communications provided by Lawrence-based, woman-owned consulting firm Coneflower Consulting to ensure that projects are fundable and sustainable. 

“Coneflower Consulting is honored to be part of this institute,” said founder and CEO Sarah Bishop. “Its goal of empowering public-facing digital humanities projects to engage even more deeply and meaningfully with the communities they serve is essential to the ongoing well-being of both the humanities and civic life.”

A call for applications will open in September, with participants selected and notified in January.
The Institute for Digital Research in the Humanities is a partnership between KU Libraries, the Hall Center for the Humanities, and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The IDRH provides resources and training in the practices and tools of the digital humanities, and aims to build a flourishing environment for innovative exploration at the intersection of digital technology and humanities research. The IDRH promotes public scholarship and partnership-building.