Digital Humanities

at Michigan State University

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Reflecting on DHSI

Though it’s been a couple months since DHSI, I’ve still been thinking about the things I learned that week. But first, I want to talk about my overall impression of the summer institute. Before I walked onto UVic’s (University of Victoria) campus and became apart of the DHSI community, I thought this program would be filled with graduate students who were all attending classes that would likely be their field of study. However, I realized that the DHSI is widely attended by undergraduate, graduate, faculty, and community members from all over the world. In fact, I realized that many people from all disciplines attended DHSI classes to supplement the knowledge they already had. Some even came because UVic offered a course on something they always wanted to learn. My class was called “Sound in Digital Humanities.” I felt that instead of having a week-long lecture about our course topic, we worked together to share and build knowledge about listening, recording, sound mixing and editing. The DHSI community is very welcoming and it’s truly amazing that this group connects so many people from different backgrounds to work together.

More specifically, the course I took at DHSI supplemented the things I’m learning in my graduate program in order to record and build better sonic projects. I sat in a classroom filled with people who had their own recording equipment and had been recording music for many years, and people like me who had very little technical knowledge. My instructor gave us a crash course on how to hold a microphone, how to record the best sound so it doesn’t need to be fixed in postproduction, and much more. But then a great deal of our week was spent going out on the campus and trying to record as much as possible. It was nice walking around the wooded campus and just listening for sounds to record. I am really grateful that this class allowed for time to capture well-recorded sound before we moved onto the editing stage. Finally, the class created an artifact for the final show-and-tell event for all DHSI goers. This project combined all the sounds the class recorded that week. Again, I felt my biggest takeaway from my class was the relationships I made while proposing and revising sonic projects with my classmates. This program is really valuable in that it connects you to so many people and the amount you learn from each other in just five days.

Getting Ready for DHSI

In order to get to DHSI in Victoria, BC I had to take two planes, four buses, and a ferry. This trip was weighing on me as I began to realize I would be up for almost two days getting to Canada. I started to ask myself, why would I spend my summer taking a class for fun? The plane ride was fine and the ferry ride was beautiful, but even when I reached land in Victoria I was still feeling uneasy. Once I retrieved my keys for the dorm, I walked around aimless for only a few minutes before not one, but three DHSI members walked me directly to my room. They gave me a heads up about the ins and outs of campus and where to get the best dinner down the road. I was nervous that I would find it hard to talk to or get to know anyone at this event because DH is only a related field, not entirely the discipline I study. But I was wrong. It’s exciting to know that tomorrow I will be in a classroom with people all enamored with sound. I’m the only person studying sonic rhetoric in my department at MSU right now, but I knew that people in this class would understand my interests, appreciate my knowledge, and ask smart questions about sonic work.