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THE STUDIO OFFERS:

  • Individual consultations for researchers looking to start or further develop a project
  • Collaboration across campus, in the community, statewide and nationally
  • Public programs that highlight the work of researchers, as well as issues and developments in contemporary digital practice
  • Training through workshops and classroom visits
  • Support for public programs
    (e.g. sponsorship for  visiting researchers, presentations, etc.)
  • Public information and public relations support

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Public
Digital
Arts
Humanities

Research Questions in
the Humanities

  • Are comparative research methodologies adequate to accommodate the sheer volume of information available to contemporary humanities researchers?
  • How can quantitative empirical data be used to formulate a qualitative analysis of cultural datasets?
  • Are analytical philosophical methods relevant to new modes of understanding?
  • How can we reframe contemporary issues in an artistic light to gain more meaningful insight?
  • What effects come from an artist labeling/defining their artistic work?
  • What are strategies involved when inducing empathy through art?
  • How is technology both expanding and limiting human interaction?
  • What are the impact of specific technologies on culture and behavior?
  • What trends can we identify in historical manuscripts using technology?
  • Is the idea of permanence in art obsolete in the digital age?
  • How relevant are traditional ideas of craft and materiality to a digital art practice?
  • The primary medium of digital art is computer code. Can truly original digital art be made by an artist who do not know code?
  • Who owns public art?
  • Is the accuracy of the assessment of a piece of art based on what the artist intends or what the audience experiences?
  • Is public art important because it enhances a location or because it questions it?
  • How can we construct complex, multi-faceted perspectives on contemporary issues through engaging contributors of diverse backgrounds and experiences?
  • What resources and knowledge exist in communities outside of the academy that can inform our understanding of history?
  • What does it mean to publish?
  • How does the digital component of public art contribute to access and interpretation of the work?
  • What kind of technological tools can be developed to best facilitate interactive public art?
  • Are mobile games more effective than data-entry apps in encouraging individuals to add their knowledge to a public history archive?
  • What different modes of interactive data visualization of a text corpus will engage different audiences who vary in expertise and interest?

  • GUEST COMMENTARY “Too Big to Fail:” Comparing Ancient and Modern Financial Crises

     

    By Sarah E Bond (Classics) and HONR 1610

     

    We can either lament or embrace the fact that most consumers of digital content want to be able to absorb information in 10 minutes or less. In this era of Buzzfeed and Twitter, students and academics alike are well served by the ability to distill their research, to present it in an accessible manner, and to represent it visually. Posters and informatics are often the perfect medium for this. Consequently, we turned to Nikki White at the Digital Studio for tips, tools, and formats for making our posters a reality. Not only does the Studio provide office hours and in-class seminars to answer questions for UI faculty and students, they also have helpful PDFs that explain best practices for constructing an academic poster for either conference or non-academic presentations.

    After the medium, we had to decide on the content. This semester, I am teaching a seminar on ancient financial crises for the Honors College here at the University of Iowa. The course examines the impact of various financial crises—e.g., debt bondage, hyperinflation, coin devaluation, piracy, epidemics, tax evasion—on civilizations within the ancient Mediterranean and then compares them to modern economic crises. The course is designed to challenge students not only to think about the relevancy of the ancient world to modern society, it also asks students to use digital methods to present these arguments.

    Fig. 1. Poster on ancient and modern piracy by Madison Creery, Taylor Dunn, and Jacob Schmitt.

    Fig. 1. Poster on ancient and modern piracy by Madison Creery, Taylor Dunn, and Jacob Schmitt.

    Students embraced the challenge and went to the library to begin to research their topics. They did extensive research for each of the posters submitted for the project, pointing to the fact that posters can require just as much time, careful thought, and time in the library stacks as traditional papers. The results were quite informative and aesthetically engaging. The above poster (Fig. 1), for instance, explored the commonalities and differences in ancient and modern piracy. Another group explore the uses and abuse of taxation in the ancient and modern worlds (Fig. 2).

    Fig. 2: Poster on taxes in ancient Athens and the modern U.S. by Matt Bentley, Sean Cavanaugh, and Wei Wei.

    Fig. 2: Poster on taxes in ancient Athens and the modern U.S. by Matt Bentley, Sean Cavanaugh, and Wei Wei.

    Other groups tackled important economic subjects such as the impact of disease (Fig. 3), inflation, and coin devaluation (Fig. 4) on economies. Turns out that the classical world offers not only a number of parallels, but also some possible approaches to these reoccurring crises.

    Fig. 3: Poster comparing tuberculosis in antiquity and today by Aissa Kergna, Moman Nasir, and Evan McCarthy.

    Fig. 3: Poster comparing tuberculosis in antiquity and today by Aissa Kergna, Moman Nasir, and Evan McCarthy.

    Fig. 4: Poster exploring inflation and coinage devaluation in ancient Rome and in modern Zimbabwe.

    Fig. 4: Poster exploring inflation and coinage devaluation in ancient Rome and in modern Zimbabwe.

    Above all, what struck me were the solid conclusions reached by every group. For example, Team #5 (Fig. 5) explored the parallels between modern and ancient slave revolts by comparing the Servile Wars in late Republican Rome with the Haitian slave revolts, and in doing so, reached important conclusions about the commonalities between the two. Ultimately, they argued, slavery was an oppressive institution that called for class restructuring. Additionally (Fig. 6), Team #1 explored the causes and impact of debt on ancient and modern Greece. Each team’s exploration of the social reactions to oppression and financial crisis both today and in antiquity brought out interesting parallels.

    Fig. 5: Poster on Rome’s Servile Wars and the Haitian Revolution by Adam Ishola, Scott Hastings, and Madeline Hurning.

    Fig. 5: Poster on Rome’s Servile Wars and the Haitian Revolution by Adam Ishola, Scott Hastings, and Madeline Hurning.

    Fig. 6: Poster exploring the sources and impact of debt in the ancient world and in modern Greece by Amber Adams, David Anderson, and Ye Yang.

    Fig. 6: Poster exploring the sources and impact of debt in the ancient world and in modern Greece by Amber Adams, David Anderson, and Ye Yang.

    Infographic posters provide a digestible medium for consumers of web content, and are a great practice in how to make complex topic accessible. Although not every topic lends itself to being represented in this manner, I would encourage professors and teachers alike to challenge themselves to represent their research or areas of interest in new and exciting ways. If you do, Nikki and The Digital Studio are there to help.

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