2016 DIL/IAH Faculty Fellows Guidelines

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Applications are due Wednesday, September 30, 2015. Apply online at the IAH website.

Information sessions and project proposal workshops will be held on Tuesday, August 25, 3:30-5pm and Wednesday, September 2, 3:30-5pm in the Digital Innovation Lab (Greenlaw 431).

Potential applicants are also encouraged to consult with any of the following as they develop their project proposals:

General questions about the DIL/IAH Fellowship program should be directed to Daniel Anderson.

The DIL/IAH Faculty Fellows Program is part of the Carolina Digital Humanities Initiative (CDHI), a College-wide initiative to promote transformative academic practice that embraces faculty research and professional development, graduate and post-doctoral training, undergraduate learning, and engaged scholarship in the arts and humanities. It is a collaboration among the Digital Innovation Lab (DIL), Institute for the Arts and Humanities (IAH), and Carolina Digital Humanities Initiative (CDHI).

The DIL/IAH fellowship is an opportunity for UNC-CH faculty working in the arts and humanities, broadly defined, to spend the 2016 calendar year exploring the potential of digital humanities for their own scholarly, pedagogic, and expressive practice. The fellowship experience is grounded in a fellow-initiated digital project. Planning, research, data-gathering, and skills-development will take place over the spring term and summer of 2016, preparing the fellows to devote full-time to their projects as IAH Fellows in the fall term 2016. The work of the fellowship will complete at the end of the 2016 calendar year and culminate in a presentation in early 2017. (Depending on the complexity of the proposed project, the work completed in December 2016 may be the first phase of a larger project, or even a prototype or proof of concept.) Two faculty members may apply to work jointly as DIL/IAH fellows on the same project. See below for guidelines regarding DIL/IAH Fellows projects. Presentations will report on the status of the project at the completion of the fellowship, on the process of developing the project and engaging in digital work in the humanities, and on potential applications to future teaching.

The DIL/IAH Faculty Fellows program is designed to identify and encourage UNC faculty who are interested in:

  • developing digital approaches as a significant dimension of their academic practice in the humanities;
  • putting into practice digital methods related to the arts and performance;
  • exploring how data and data studies are transforming intellectual work in the arts and humanities;
  • pursuing an interdisciplinary, collaborative digital humanities project arising from their research, pedagogy, or engaged scholarship that is likely to be of interest to users beyond the academy and which raises larger social, historical, literary, or artistic issues;
  • applying what they have learned as DIL/IAH Fellows to their graduate and/or undergraduate teaching and mentoring;
  • and reflecting upon and discussing with colleagues the implications of digital humanities for their own academic practice.

Learn more about previous fellows and their projects at http://digitalinnovation.unc.edu/cdhi/dil-iah-fellowship


For eligibility guidelines, see the IAH website.

Program Features

DIL/IAH Faculty Fellows receive:

    • a release from regular teaching obligations during the Fall 2016 semester
    • up to $15,000 from the IAH to cover project costs and professional development activities between January 2016 and December 2016
    • project management and technical development support and consultation

The Role of the DIL

During the spring 2016 term, the fellows will meet together regularly with DIL General Manager, Will Bosley, and DIL/CDHI Technical Lead, Michael Newton, to translate the fellows’ goals and priorities into plans for effective and manageable collaborative digital humanities projects: clarifying the uses/users of the project; refining project scope and scale, considering software and hardware alternatives, determining data collection and/or digitization tasks, and assessing and planning for project management/programming challenges. These discussions will also help to place the fellows’ project goals in the context of current scholarship and digital practice within their fields and of the development of their own professional practice. From this process will emerge a project work plan, which will include:

  • a refined and clarified description of the project
  • delineation of the role and responsibilities of the fellow and other members of the project team during his/her IAH fellowship period (fall term ’16)
  • determination of training/skill development needs/opportunities important to the fellow’s participation in the project and/or professional development as a digital humanist
  • identification of project-critical tasks to be performed over the summer and fall
  • preparation of a fellowship and project budget

Priorities for the use of the $15,000 fund each fellow may draw upon are:

  • Direct project costs (digitization, software, hardware, student assistants, travel to archives)
  • Professional development & skills training in support of the project and the fellow’s professional development
  • Participation in digital humanities conferences, workshops, and symposia

In most cases, project funds must be spent by December 2016. Fellows may apply for an extension of access to funds through February 2017.

Spring term is also an opportunity for the fellows to learn from the current digital humanities project work being undertaken by the DIL, participate in DH tool development/testing, and sit in on DIL-linked courses. Fellows are welcome and encouraged to sit in on DIL staff and project team meetings. Shared workspace is available to fellows in the lab (431 Greenlaw) throughout their fellowships.

The IAH Fellowship Semester

During the fall term 2016, DIL/IAH Faculty Fellows will join their colleagues as IAH Fellows, participating in the full social and intellectual life of the Institute for the Arts and Humanities. They will work with the DIL staff and, where needed, other members of their project team to implement the digital humanities project they planned the previous spring. Their projects will be integrated into the fall semester DIL workflow, and fellows will represent their projects at DIL staff meetings. An important aspect of the DIL-IAH Fellows’ experience during this term is documenting their work in digital humanities and reflecting upon the significance of that work for their own academic practice, field of study, and future teaching. DIL/IAH Faculty Fellows will also prepare to deliver a brief report and public presentation demonstrating their project and discussing their engagement with digital humanities.

Planning a DIL/IAH Project

The DIL/IAH Fellows Program adapts the basic principles of the “lean startup” in technology entrepreneurism and applies them to digital humanities practice within a lab environment. Applied to the digital humanities, lean startup means a scholar’s adapting and shaping his/her goals for the use of digital technologies through a collaborative development process that maximizes the value of widely-available, user-friendly, open source, and repurposable technologies, software, platforms, and work processes. The development process will almost inevitably affect the scholar’s originating goals and priorities and reveal unanticipated challenges and opportunities. In turn, each project is an opportunity for the development of new technologies and processes that might be applied or adapted for future projects. Digital humanities projects developed in this way give scholars a better understanding of the potentials and limitations of this practice as well as possibilities for further innovation. This process also increases the likelihood that the scholar will continue to use digital tools and approaches in his/her work, and will be able to do so without significant programmer/developer intervention. Using widely-available, user-friendly software and platforms facilitates the upscaling and revision of projects in further iterations while minimizing the role of programmers in this process.

Ideas for digital arts and humanities projects could come from, but are not limited to:

  • critical needs/exciting opportunities arising from a scholar’s own research, creative work, teaching, graduate mentoring, service, or engaged scholarship
  • imagining opportunities to use large, publicly available, humanities-relevant data sets (collections of texts, objects, public documents, images, etc.) in new ways and/or with new user groups through the application of digital technologies
  • adapting or repurposing tools and work processes developed in other domains (business, science, etc.) for humanities applications
  • recognizing critical needs/opportunities of cultural heritage organizations, community groups, and government bodies that might be addressed through the application of digital humanities
  • imagining how our understanding of a phenomenon, data collection, place, or event might be amplified through digital representation: visualization, spatialization, “mash-ups,” etc.
  • projecting how humanities-relevant scholarship published in analog form might be transformed or amplified through the use of digital technologies
  • and, of course, seeking out and interacting with other digital humanities projects that are relevant to the above possibilities. The NEH Office of Digital Humanities regularly showcases projects funded through its grant programs, and the CDHI website contains examples of digital humanities projects from a wide range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary orientations, as well as links to other digital humanities resources (organizations, blogs, etc.).

Application Process

Applicants are strongly advised to attend an information session/workshop on either Tuesday, August 25, 3:30-5pm or Wednesday, September 2, 3:30-5pm in the Digital Innovation Lab (Greenlaw 431). They are also encouraged to consult with any of the individuals listed above. The application requires:

  • IAH application form
  • Current CV (abbreviated to 5 pages)
  • Four-page description of the project
  • DIL/IAH Fellowship supplemental statement

All application materials can be submitted through the IAH website.

Selection Process & Criteria

A subcommittee of the CDHI Faculty Steering Committee makes these fellowship selections. The Director of the Digital Innovation Lab (Robert Allen), the General Manager of the Digital Innovation Lab (Will Bosely), DIL/IAH Technical Lead (Michael Newton), CDHI Programs Coordinator (Malina Chavez), and a representative from the IAH participate ex officio in the application review process, but are not voting members of the selection committee. In support of the review process, DIL staff will prepare feasibility assessments of the proposed projects for the selection committee. Applicants may be asked to provide additional information or to consult with the selection committee in support of their application at the discretion of the committee. Applicants to the DIL/IAH Fellowship may also elect to have their applications considered for an IAH Fellowship, though these do not include project or professional development funding.

Applications will be assessed according to the following criteria:

  • feasibility of project
  • potential for incorporation of the digital project and/or skills acquired into the applicant’s future pedagogic practices
  • potential for public outreach and engagement
  • potential for interdisciplinary collaboration
  • contribution of the project to the digital humanities, including its potential for generalizability or to serve as a use case

For More Information

For more information and eligibility criteria, visit the IAH website or contact Malina Chavez, CDHI Programs Coordinator.