Design + The Digital Humanities

Spring 2021 Parsons School of Design

class teaching

What is digital humanities, and why should it matter to designers? Digital humanities sits at the intersection of scholarship, traditional humanities disciplines, and computational work. As a field, digital humanities uses digital methods to study literatures, history, the arts, and other elements of human society and culture. It can be a powerful site of collaboration between scholars and designers. In this course, students were introduced to concepts of digital humanities and given the opportunity to apply them to projects in collaboration with the Immersive Reality Lab for the Humanities (IRLHumanities). IRLHumanities is a digital and experimental humanities workgroup that supports scholarly projects that take on digital forms. Throughout the semester, we considered what the relationship between digital humanities and design is, and what it could become. We conversed with members of IRLHumanities about key elements of their research, design, and production work, and consider how scholars and designers can work together to make projects that are critically rigorous and provocative in their implementation. Projects were collaboratively generated based on overlap between student interests and the general themes present in IRLHumanities work. At the end of the semester, students came away with a grasp of key issues in the digital humanities, a sense of how they can integrate humanistic methods in their own work, and experience collaborating on projects that are grounded in scholarship.