Normally I wouldn’t be blogging during work hours, but this couldn’t wait.
To those who are familiar with my professional profile, it should be no surprise that I’m interested in digital humanities. I discovered it as I was finishing my first grad degree in American Studies and it made perfect sense for the type of work I could see myself doing in the future, combining my interests in cultural heritage with technology. Through my subsequent degree in Library and Information Studies I followed the DH community closely and had some great interactions with peers and colleagues, who all encouraged me to dig deeper (into data (woah, DH inside-joke…)) and participate to my fullest potential. So far this has all been well and good.
However, now I’m on the other side of graduation. I have a job I love working in Scholarly Communications, but it is with a task force and has an end date. I’m just starting to survey job postings, and there are some great opportunities out there. But you know what I want to do… what I think I’d really excel at? I want a Digital Humanities fellowship. I want to get involved with a project and build it from the ground up. I want to be on the cutting edge of DH scholarship, reading, writing, thinking, talking, conferencing, speaking and doing DH work. I’m interested, engaged, and ready to work. But, the majority of the fellowships I’ve seen require a PhD. Which I do not have.
There’s a lot of talk around the DH-tubes about collaboration and involving different “types” of practicioners in the work of digital humanities, discussed so eloquently in terms of authorship recently by Bethany Nowviskie. Here’s my question: what support/development systems are there in place to build collaborative partners from OUTSIDE the PhD? What is being done to allow recently graduated librarians to join the DH party and get to work utilizing tech/info skills and good, solid creative ideas in collaboration with digitally-inclined faculty and grad students? How can I contribute when the money is being pumped into post-doc programs? Where are the Digital Humanities fellowships or opportunities for new librarians?*
To be honest, I haven’t spent a ton of time seeking out every single fellowship possibility, but this was partially inspired by this tweet from Kathleen Fitzpatrick today about the upcoming deadline for the ACLS Digital Innovation Fellowships. Of course, I will continue to seek out the opportunities to contribute and be involved in DH projects, but am just feeling discouraged at the prospects right now. I swear, I would own a CLIR Fellowship like no one’s business. Guess I’ll just be patient and keeping applying for Digital Librarian-ish jobs and hope that I can roll some DH work in there.
*NB: I know there are post-MLIS fellowships but I’m not sure if they are necessarily for me.