Blog Post

Duke's PhD Lab in Digital Knowledge: Accepting Local Applications Now

In Fall 2012, Duke will be starting a new PhD Lab in Digital Knowledge, residing in the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute at Smith Warehouse and partnering with many existing programs on campus.  For more information, go to:

Co-directed by Professors David Bell and Cathy Davidson, the Lab will be event-based in its first year. Our events will be shared with and across a variety of programs already on the Duke campus and in the Triangle, as a way of connecting the most innovative new research and teaching technologies, methods, practices, and theories we have available. We will also be sponsoring a number of related workshops, symposia, and learn-by-doing initiatives designed to help doctoral students use new methods in their research, develop new teaching methods, and also face the job market with the most cutting-edge theories and practices surrounding digital forms of learning, teaching, online instruction, and collaborative online publishing and research. The PhD Lab will cover everything from practical professional advice (such as resume building and cover-letter writing around one's online publications and multimedia productions) to learning new skills to making a group where students in the lab can share ideas, resources, and other conversation among themselves and with the vibrant HASTAC Scholars community (over 500 past and present students, 80% graduate, and over 9500 interested learning and research interdisciplinary professionals around the world).  

For Fall 2012, we are accepting applications for up to 12 PhD Lab Scholars. Some of the events sponsored by the Lab will be open to the public, but only PhD Lab Scholars will be actually building, creating, and learning the advanced skills offered by the Lab's faculty directors, faculty participants, technology experts, and resident advisers. Participation in Lab workshops and other learning opportunities are mandatory for the Scholar cohort, who will be given priority registration in events where attendance is limited (please see a partial list of events here - updates are in progress). Each Scholar will build a digital portfolio, certified by the PhD Lab, of all skills mastered as well as work (individual and collaborative) accomplished during the year. At the end of the year, successful participants will also receive an accrediting letter from the Lab Directors. This is a community of learners, not a class. PhD Lab Scholars who do not contribute actively to the Lab's ongoing projects will be asked to leave.      

In addition, PhD Lab Scholars will be given preference for funding through the Lab’s Graduate Digital Scholarship Initiative, which supports collaborative projects in multimodal scholarship. Only PhD Lab Scholars will be eligible for Teaching Assistantships offered by the Lab - note that Scholars are NOT required to be TAs.  

Eligibility & Requirements
Ideal participants in this program will be teaching or serving as a TA during the 2012-2013, so that they will be able to apply new skills to the classroom, partnering with undergraduates, and will be able to use the PhD Lab as a human resource during the process. However, we will also accept applications from those who are not currently teaching but who wish to build up their digital skills in preparation for a teaching context later in their graduate career.

To participate as a PhD Lab Scholar, you must:

  • be a Duke doctoral student in a humanities or social science department OR in a program with a "digital knowledge" component that will benefit from a humanistic perspective;
  • have an interest in enhancing one's skills, ideas, and research using digital tools and new ideas of online collaboration, community, and networks;
  • have a set of skills and interests that can actively contribute to the community of the PhD Lab.

If you are interested in applying, send an application by 5:00PM September 3, 2012 to phdlab [at] with the following:   

  • a current CV;
  • a letter, no more than two pages in length, stating why you want to be part of the PhD Lab, and how this will have an impact on your research and your teaching, both generally and specifically;
  • URLs to past digital productions - blogs, tweets, multimedia presentations, comments, listservs, or other productions online.  If you do not have any, indicate future interests in this area.

Questions? Please email phdlab [at] and/or come to the PhD Lab info session on Monday, August 27.



If you are interested in participating or following our progress but are not eligible (either not at Duke or at Duke but without eligibility), please feel free to contact the PhD Lab --  phdlab [at]    We hope to have distance partners and hope the idea of this PhD Lab will spread, be changed, grow, and be improved at other universities around the world.   It's both a program--and a vision!  Help us spread it please. 


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