Students Help Organize Annual Digital Media Symposium

by Camila Ryder '13
Sierra Eckert '14
Sierra Eckert '14

With the pervasiveness of new media and technology in everyday life, academic research is quickly turning to the digital realm as more and more students utilize online databases to gather information. Exploring how new media affects academia, the 2013 Re:Humanities symposium earlier this month featured discussions about the relationship between digital media and research. Organized and hosted by students from Bryn Mawr, Haverford, and Swarthmore Colleges, the symposium showcased speakers and student representatives from all over the U.S.

Focusing on uses of new media within the Humanities, the symposium examines digital tools that are currently being used in academic research, highlighting undergraduate digital work from 11 colleges. At a poster session on the first day of the symposium, students displayed their research work on topics such as authorship and ownership of statements on Twitter, German activist and public art on the Internet, and generating novel databases.

Swarthmore coordinator Sierra Eckert '14 noted that this year's symposium aims to "re-imagine 'narrative' across multiple new platforms," including transmedia storytelling, infographics and infomatics, and presenting new forms of criticism through new media. Eckert says that they integrated tweeting and liveblogging throughout the conference as a way to extend these conversations of new media beyond the symposium to a national level.

Two keynote speakers also addressed the symposium participants. Tara McPherson, associate professor of gender studies and critical studies at the University of Southern California (USC), presented a lecture, "A Feminist in a Software Lab." McPherson teaches courses on television, new media and popular culture at USC and is also the editor of Vectors, a multimedia journal.

Angel David Nieves discussed his work in "Undergraduate Research in the Spatial Humanities: Theories and Methods in the Soweto Historical GIS (SHGIS) Project." Nieves is an associate professor at Hamilton College and also the co-director of the Digital Humanities initiative at Hamilton College.