My HASTAC scholarship is soon coming to an end, to welcome a new cohort of passionate Digital Humanists.
I wanted to reflect a bit on my own experience as a HASTAC scholar, which has ben a rich learning experience and made me more confident regarding my professional and academic interests.
Interviewing Dr. T. L. Taylor, Professor of of Comparative media studies at the prestigious MIT was my very first contact with the HASTAC mentors. You may read the interview's transcript here.
It was with great pleasure I got to hear about Dr. Taylor's expertise but also her own personal experience as a former student and a scholar specializing in video game studies, a topic I'm passionate about. It was very inspiring to talk to her and she was very friendly. One thing that really stuck with me was her personal writing piece "In through the back door", notably on her own valued experience as a student at a Community college.
One of the best things about my HASTAC scholarship was to help faculty integrate DH into their curriculum. I love pedagogy and finding new ways to engage students. I, and a GIS specialist, helped Dr. Weatherley to develop a DH assignment for her 17th century French literature, using Twine and Storymaps. Students responded very positively to this digital assignment and underscored how helpful it had been to engage with the 17th century work on a more hands-on, creative level. You can read about the whole experience, from designing the assignment to assessing it here.
Finally, another significant event I took part in was a workshop I organized with a professor of Films and media studies on video games' character design. I emphasized on the theoretical dimension of it, mostly on how, in well-written and effective games, players will relate to characters, regardless of the character's gender, age, or even species (everyone loves Yoshi, Nintendo's dino-creature! and everyone wants to set him up for success despite his non-human appearance). To me, playing video games truly is a thought experiment about empathizing with the other, no matter who or what they are, and actively putting yourself in their own perspective. Organizing this workshop from start to finish was a great experience that enabled me to collaborate with a faculty member, and I've definitely learned a lot whether it be regarding logistical matters or when discovering insightful and powerful indie games.
I've learned a lot thanks to this HASTAC community and I'm grateful for the experience.
To the incoming cohort(s), I'll give you a couple of tips:
*be curious: explore the resources and all the different topics addressed on HASTAC and beyond!
*be proactive: on the website writing, reading, and contacting other fellows/mentors, and within your own community. I'm definitely more knowledgeable about my university's DH initiatives and I'm so proud I get to help promote them. Also, never hesitate to reach out to others, whether it be a professors or students working in your field, to ask for sources to read from or advice.
*be understanding with yourself: there is so much to explore that it may feel overwhelming at times, without enough time to do and see everything. Take this opportunity to deepen your own interests, but also discover new ones, and to fully ask yourself what your values, interests and skills are, what you want to/can do with them, and where you want to go from there. I've learned a lot about others' work but most importantly about what I want to work on.
Thank you for this opportunity to learn, to meet, and to participate even more actively in DH scholarship.