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Thursday, May 12 • 11:15am - 11:30am
An E.P.I.C. Approach to Public Digital Humanities: Externally Collaborative, Project-Based, Interdisciplinary Curricula for Learning Local History

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Over the last 250 years, the Boston neighborhood of Jamaica Plain has emerged as one of the city’s most vibrant and dynamic communities. This uniqueness stems not only from the area’s cultural and class diversity, but also from a built environment that exudes connections to grand themes in the region’s history, many of which continue to shape local identity. Thus, Jamaica Plain serves as an important site for the study of how community places are made through a nexus of history, contemporary culture, and local public engagement. This paper reveals the benefits of practicing public digital humanities through a studio course at Wentworth Institute of Technology (WIT) called Media, Culture, and Communications Studies (MCCS) and an institute-wide pedagogical initiative called E.P.I.C. Learning (Externally Collaborative, Project-Based, Interdisciplinary Curricula for Learning), which has led to a meaningful digital dialogue with Jamaica Plain’s history. In particular, the course has utilized open-source/access tools such as Omeka, WorldMap, and Annotation Studio to create interactive virtual exhibits chronicling the history of two Jamaica Plain landmarks: the James Michael Curley House (the home of legendary Boston mayor, James Michael Curley), and the Loring-Greenough House (the neighbourhood’s last colonial-era home). A further component of pedagogy and scholarship has been public engagement through collaborations with local community stakeholders (city councillors, volunteer docents, companies, etc.) who have recognized the value of digital storytelling for public outreach. Overall, WIT’s MCCS Studio classes have not only provided students with valuable digital skills that strengthen their historical literacy (and—arguably—prepare them for the digital workplace), but have also provided a conduit for reconnecting Jamaica Plain community members with their local history in meaningful digital ways.


Thursday May 12, 2016 11:15am - 11:30am
COOR L1-88 975 S Myrtle Ave Arizona State University Tempe, AZ 85281
  • Session Location COOR L1-88

Attendees (20)