In 1984, the friends and family members of Guatemalans ‘disappeared’ by state security forces formed the Grupo de Apoyo Mutuo (GAM). Members of the GAM searched for their loved ones and demanded information from state officials during a period of Cold War violence in which Guatemala’s military and police routinely murdered activists, union leaders, agricultural workers, and anyone deemed an insurgent or subversive threat.
Digital Curation and Digital Scholarship Project (2016-present)
Protection of the GAM's case materials and archives through digitization against environmental and political threats.
Creation of tools to research the collection for ongoing legal cases and historical memory.
Engagement of students (US & GT) in the work of the archive as well as research projects using the GAM collections.
Scholars and practitioners from various disciplines and professional backgrounds work together according to established roles, such as humanist, technologist, data steward. All roles are equally "principal."
The research agendas and interests of all partners are accounted for in project design and work.
All parties should gain professionally and intellectually from the project or be fairly compensated for their labor.
Radical Collaboration & Emergence
Greenhouse Studios is interested in what new knowledge might emerge when we allow academic communities to self-organize. ... At Greenhouse Studios, we’re running an experiment in radical collaboration, exploring what happens when you remove the labor hierarchies and predetermined workplans that normally structure collaborative scholarly projects, and instead embrace the emergent qualities of collaboration itself.
Emergence describes how hundreds of birds, each following its own, relatively simple rules of behavior, self-organize into a flock that displays its own complex behaviors, behaviors that none of the individual birds themselves would display. In the words of writer Steven Johnson, emergence describes how those birds, without a master plan or executive leadership, go from being a “they” to being an “it.” In other words, emergence describes a becoming.
Postcolonial Digital Humanities
...we position postcolonial digital humanities as an emergent field of study invested in decolonizing the digital, foregrounding anti-colonial thought, and disrupting salutatory narratives of globalization and technological progress (dhpoco.org).
For the profession:
The values, ideas and mission that organize a research community are very distinct from the research questions and findings of scholar-centered projects. Students should have opportunities to engage in the practice of community-driven collaborative scholarship.
Given its culture of collaboration and community-building, the Digital Humanities are one of the leading fields in this type of research.
Funding agencies and academic institutions should support the work of community organizers in terms of resources, professional advancement and formal commitments to the sustainability of projects.
We need ways to assess the strength and vitality of a community. What is the impact of community work? How does it generate knowledge, inform how people think and what they know? We lack a language to discuss this impact and knowledge creation.
Final note of concern. In communities with partners from various socio-economic groups, how can we assess that relationships are, in fact, equal? Are our aspirations to overcome institutional hierarchies visible in practice? If not, how would we know?
Thank you and I look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas!