What are all the ways that an existing Digital Humanities project can be adapted, grafted, remixed, and spun off into other projects? How can we creatively employ methods, ideas, data, and tools from one research group and use them to feed something new?

MI Diaries has been collecting self-recorded audio reflections from Michigan residents since the Covid-19 lockdowns began in spring 2020. Participants respond to weekly questions like What are you grateful for this week? and Are there any news stories that have stood out to you lately? MI Diaries was developed to capture the effects of social distancing on everyday language. But it has since proven to be fertile ground for the nurturing of other kinds of research as well. The MI Diaries mobile recording app has been adapted for a study of what people learn about Judaism from watching television. The audio reflections and their transcriptions are being employed to teach learners of English about grammatical structures. Youth participants in a photovoice project have used the app to orally respond to questions related to the images they have captured.


Description automatically generatedWe invite colleagues across MSU to engage with the MI Diaries website and app to see if they can use its audio archive, app infrastructure, transcriptions or other materials – or perhaps just be inspired in ways that we cannot yet imagine.

This LOCUS will provide a collegial forum for presentation of MI Diaries-related projects and for broad discussion of how interdisciplinary research can benefit from the spin-off process. We encourage wide participation from scholars in any discipline to share developments in their research at any stage (including brainstorming, works in progress, and/or fully developed projects). 

Presenters already expected include:

  • Betsy Sneller and Suzanne Evans Wagner on forging collegial connections from the MI Diaries project.
  • Laura Yares on adapting the MI Diaries data collection infrastructure for digital ethnography in the study of Judaism and television.
  • Charlene Polio and Danielle Brown on creating a website for TESOL educators that uses MI Diaries data to illustrate colloquial American English.
  • Brian Wibby and Jackie Martin on partnering with MI Diaries to support a youth photovoice project.

Locus is a regular forum for students, faculty, and researchers to share ideas and works in progress and to build relationships through short (5-7 minute) presentations. Each Locus is built around a broad yet distinct theme, method, or topic and to foster a vibrant, collaborative, and active research community interested in digital humanities and social science work.

To brainstorm with the MI Diaries team, contact Betsy Sneller, sneller7@msu.edu.

To connect with the DH Engagement and Outreach team, contact Max Evjen, evjendav@msu.edu

A call for submissions will be sent in early fall.