Brandon Walsh (University of Virginia) has written a post detailing the job talk he gave at the Scholars’ Lab, where he was recently hired as Head of Graduate Programs. Entitled “In, Out, Across, With: Collaborative Education and Digital Humanities,” the talk explores “how best to champion the people involved in collaborative education in digital research.”
My talk is an exhortation to find ways to elevate the voices of people in positions like these to be contributors to professional and institutional conversations from day one and to empower them to define the methods and the outcomes of the digital humanities that we teach. This means taking seriously the messy, fraught, and emotional process of guiding students through digital humanities methods, research, and careers. It means advocating for the legibility of this digital work as a key component of their professional development. And it means enmeshing these voices in the broader network around them, the local context that they draw upon for support and that they can enrich in turn.
Walsh goes on to furnish examples of skills, projects, and support structures his team at Washington and Lee University undertook in their work, emphasizing the variety of people involved. He focuses on the human connection involved in his new position, and within digital humanities support structures more widely:
It’s the job of such a person to blast the boundary between “you’re in” and “you’re out” so that the tech-adverse or shy student can find a seat at the table. This is someone who makes sure that the work of the fellows is represented across institutions and in their own departments. This person makes sure the fellows are well positioned professionally. This person builds up people and embeds them to networks where they can flourish. Their job is never to forget what it’s like to be the person trying to learn. Their job is to hear “I’m not a tech person” and answer “not yet, but you could be! and I know just the people to help. Let’s learn together.”