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MA Students Go Out West to Ride the Digital Wave

July 30, 2016

In June 2016, members of the English department attended the Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI) hosted at the University of Victoria. English MA students Colleen McDonell, Phoenix Simms, and Anderson Tuguinay and Communications and Culture PhD candidate Alison Hedley were joined by faculty Jason Boyd and Aaron Tucker.

DHSI uses a community-based approach that allows researchers to share methods and ideas and develop expertise in using advanced digital technologies. Ryerson attendees took courses ranging from “Conceptualizing and Creating a Digital Edition” to “Advanced Concepts in TEI.” Complementing the course she had taken at DH@Guelph in May 2016, Colleen explored platforms for exhibiting the paratexts surrounding Elizabeth Gaskell’s ghost stories. She was excited to connect with Ryerson alumni who had also been student researchers on the Yellow Nineties Online.

In “Games for Digital Humanists,” Phoenix and her peers critically "read" games before getting into small groups to create their own card game prototypes. “The high point of the conference for me,” Phoenix says, “was learning a whole new methodology for approaching narrative and games as art and sharing that learning process with people who were all at different points of their academic careers.”

Anderson took a course on feminist dh, as well as co-led the presentation “Collection, Curation, and Collaboration: Representing Canadian Gay Liberationists” as part of the Lesbian and Gay Liberation in Canada project co-hosted by Ryerson’s Centre for Digital Humanities. For Anderson, it was especially rewarding to meet his other research team members, which include students from Ryerson, UBC, and SFU. “We are a diverse group of researchers who, for several months, have been collaborating on traditional research and digital coding,” Anderson explains, “So meeting in person and presenting to a group of enthusiastic digital humanists was an excellent experience.”

Participants were also able to engage in other opportunities, such as talks and afternoon colloquiums. Professors Jason Boyd and Aaron Tucker both presented on their current research, while doctoral student Alison Hedley led an “unconference” where nineteenth-century enthusiasts could connect and discuss their research. The English department attendees thank Ryerson’s Provost and the Centre for Digital Humanities for making this opportunity possible.