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Rebecca Sutton Koeser

Lead Developer, The Center for Digital Humanities at Princeton University

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Notes from Erik Loyer’s keynote at AIGA Converge Design Educators Conference on June 2, 2017.

Personal stories of interdisciplinary collaboration and the impacts it has on the lives of the collaborators

Erik Loyer @opertoon

Digital Humanities projects aren’t always best measured in terms of citations or scholarly impact but rather by the way they impact peoples’ lives. Went back to former collaborators to find out how these projects had an impact on their careers and lives.

Tools, standards, infrastructure are important. But greatest impact is empowering people to take a new approach, perhaps because of an experience, whether it was successful or not.

Vectors. Co-creative director. Team came into contact with a range of scholarly collaborators. Fellowship model; brought people in for a boot camp. Intense collaborations that lasted 6 months or more.

After a while, discovered similarities in the process. A “crisis moment”: destabilization, breakdown in trying to adapt scholarly work into the digital. A marker of progress. Another moment, when a scholar could see their data reflected in the interface. Many projects encountered a “recuperation of linearity” - discovered linearity works for a reason and was valid to use.

Design decisions on every level had a rhetorical foundation. Database design, shape of the interaction interface. Experimented with audible forms to come up with nonverbal markers.

New project: open source library Stepwise and project Stepworks for rhythmic story telling. One-click action: “next”. Author controls what, user controls when. Performative, easy to create.

Loyer finished by screening/performing a rough cut of a Stepwise piece entitled “Planet Better World”, which was made up of audio from interviews with collaborators and artifacts and visuals from Vectors projects and other follow-on work.