Blog Post

Meet Anne Balsamo, HASTAC Exec Board member, Professor, All Around Great Person

Meet Anne Balsamo, HASTAC Exec Board member, Professor, All Around Great Person


School in ways that make sense given the vagaries of the current situation of higher education in the US.  




The AIDS Memorial Quilt Digital Archive:  A Big (Digital) Humanities Project.  This project was recently profiled on the HASTAC site (  Phase one, which concludes at the end of Summer 2012, involved the collaboration with the NAMES Project Foundation ( and a distributed team of artists, computer scientists, programmers, and designers to create three Digital Experiences for the Quilt 2012  (  events happening in Washington DC during June and July. The first experience is a Tangible Interactive Browser that enables people to search for names on the Quilt and browse Quilt panels on a Microsoft SUR40 device. Developers from Microsoft Research worked on the preparation of the large database of Quilt images.  A group from the Computer Science Program at Brown University (  under the direction of Andy Van Dam built the interface for the browser.  The second experience is an interactive timeline on the History of AIDS and the History of the Creation of the Quilt displayed on the Microsoft application called ChronoZoom (  The third, and most widely accessible application, is a mobile web app called AIDS QUILT TOUCH ( that enables anyone with web access to SEARCH for a specific NAME on a panel; CONTRIBUTE comments to a digital guest book; and LOCATE the display of a specific panel when the Quilt is laid out on the National Mall.  The AIDS QUILT TOUCH mobile web app was created by a team from the Digital Studio for the Public Humanities at the University of Iowa, ( under the direction of artist Jon Winet.  

FemTechNet:  A Massively Distributed Collaborative Learning Experiment (described below).

A Final Thought:

In both efforts to create distributed projects of technocultural innovation, I applied many lessons learned from my experiences working with Cathy Davidson and David Goldberg in building HASTAC.  They and my HASTAC colleagues taught me HOW to build communities of (distributed) practices that contribute to the creation of a dense network of shared interests across disciplines and professional domains.  HASTAC is an innovative version of a successful "virtual organization" that serves the broader cultural good.   That's a pretty good place to end this interview, don't you think?


No comments