HASTAC Scholars Program

HASTAC stands for Humanites, Arts, Science and Technology Advanced Collaboratory. It is a network of individuals and institutions inspired by the possibilities that new technologies offer us for shaping how we learn, teach, communicate, create, and organize our local and global communities.  My particular research interest is in user experience in digital cultural contexts. I am fascinated by the nature of participation and engagement possibilities provided by digital spaces and social media and whether online interactions with cultural content provide engaging experiences for users, supporting inquiry and meaning making. HASTAC sounds just up my street.

The more I delve into academia the more the concept of academic reputation keeps coming up.  Interesting questions have been raised about the nature of scholarly activity and academic reputation, the factors that have traditionally lead to recognition and promotion and whether or not these are changing in an increasingly socially networked world.

In the past I asked if blogging was damaging my academic career as on the whole it seems that using web 2.0 tools to disseminate your work and to create a dialogue are frowned upon, and my research indicates that the majority of academics never ever use social media.  I posed the question “ Does that mean, because I have this blog, I contribute on the Centre’s blog, and my tweeting habits are actually detrimental to my academic career??”

I never believed that to be the case, but it was a question that had to be raised, as there are some strong traditionalists settled in their ivory towers quoting the mantra of “publish or perish”  and “peer review”.  The web is changing this view dramatically.  Academic culture is being transformed to a more open, inclusive and accessible environment, where sharing and dialogue are commonplace.  Right now Digital Humanities is a very exciting place to be.

So I am very excited to announce that I  have been nominated and selected for the HASTAC Scholars Program.  I’ll be part of a really vibrant and more importantly digital academic community, which already has more than 145 scholars from around the world who will share their adventures in digital academia through blog posts, tweets, forums and other online resources.  Both myself and the lovely Ernesto Priego will be University College London’s representatives this year.

HASTAC believe that digital spaces provide huge opportunities for informal and formal learning and for collaborative, networked research that extends across traditional disciplines, across the boundaries of academia  and community; across the two disciplines of humanities and technology; across online and offline…  It is a fantastic opportunity and a privilege to be part of it.  I can’t wait to add my research into the pot and see what people make of it.

(image taken from the HASTAC About page)

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