Wired! in the DH Landscape at Duke
- Victoria Szabo
The Wired! Lab, now Digital Art History & Visual Culture Research Lab, is one of several labs housed in Smith Warehouse and created in association with the Department of Art, Art History & Visual Studies as part of the interdisciplinary Visual Studies Initiative funded by the Mellon Foundation beginning in 2006. Wired! has carved out an identity at Duke as the home for Digital Art History and Visual Culture, foregrounding research questions related to art, architectural, and urban histories, and the ways in which digital tools and methods can be engaged in these areas. Each of the Media Labs has similarly developed its own research mission and focus.
Wired! has carved out an identity at Duke as the home for Digital Art History and Visual Culture, foregrounding research questions related to art, architectural, and urban histories, and the ways in which digital tools and methods can be engaged in these areas.
Aside from its specific, disciplinary objects of inquiry, the Digital Art History & Visual Culture Research Lab particularly emphasizes a sustained collaborative, project-based pedagogy as a part of the public-facing expression of team members’ research. As such, it is the primary place at Duke where Digital Humanities and visual arts and cultures intersect in a fully and vertically integrated fashion, as is evidenced by the work our students, faculty, and staff produce and share every semester.
Wired! members are actively engaged with the other media labs around best practices for digital tools and methods, most notably around data analysis and visualization with the Duke Art, Law and Markets Lab; virtual and augmented reality with the DiG Digital Archeology Lab and the XR Studio; archives and exhibitions with the Information Science + Studies program; and critical media theories with the Speculative Sensation Lab. In addition, the Wired! Lab has partnered with the Digital Humanities Initiative at the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute around research and training initiatives that support students in the PhD Lab in Digital Knowledge, faculty in the Duke-NCCU Digital Humanities Fellowship program, and colleagues in Duke Libraries.
Wired! began creating its own workshops in part to address the gap in training opportunities on campus for 3D modeling and mapping, digital methods that address needs within Arts and Humanities disciplines. Through these workshops, we sought to highlight how disciplinary questions and perspectives shape the ways in which such methods and their products are understood and critiqued. These workshops, along with our teaching and research, have brought to light ways in which we can be advocates for Digital Humanities infrastructure at Duke. To that end, Wired! staff and faculty seek out opportunities to engage with these challenges alongside our colleagues in Trinity Technology Services, Duke Libraries, the Office of Information Technology, Digital Learning Innovation, and the Franklin Humanities Institute. These efforts have resulted in the creation of workshops for Responsible Conduct of Research, Bass Connections, and other programs; the proliferation of cross-unit conversations around access, expertise, and support; and the development of policies and tools that our units can invest in to better support Digital Humanities at Duke.
we take to heart the sometimes trenchant critiques of the digital turn in contemporary culture as it impacts questions of equity, access, and inclusion at every level of academic life, as well as the unintentional malformations and constraints new technologies place upon older disciplinary practices.
These aspects of our mission continue as we collectively explore new and emerging technologies such as extended reality, distant reading, the internet of things, and artificial intelligence systems. In the process, we take to heart the sometimes trenchant critiques of the digital turn in contemporary culture as it impacts questions of equity, access, and inclusion at every level of academic life, as well as the unintentional malformations and constraints new technologies place upon older disciplinary practices. Looking ahead, Wired! is eager to continue partnering with our colleagues in Computer Science and Engineering, in Public Policy and Ethics, and in other Arts and Humanities disciplines as we consider how the Digital Humanities can be a site of cross-disciplinary exploration and interdisciplinary invention at Duke.
Banner Image: Panorama of the Duke Chapel by Luca Vascon.