My Capstone project for the Public Digital Humanities certificate combines my background and interests in history, archives, and gender, women’s, and sexuality studies. As a historian and a gender scholar who thought about women’s sexual vulnerability in both my research and the courses I taught, I became interested in the continuum on which the current #MeToo movement exists and the relationship between historical and contemporary manifestations of sexual coercion, exploitation, and violence. I believe that knowing that history can change our understanding of #MeToo in the twenty-first century, and that revisiting that history from the perspective of our current moment can give us new understandings of the past. With that in mind, I am in the process of creating a digital subject guide or LibGuide for personal papers and organizational records in the Iowa Women’s Archives (IWA) that provide insight into “#MeToo in Historical Context,” including issues of sexual harassment, intimate partner violence, and other sexual and gender-based violence. This project is an opportunity to draw attention to the longer history of sexual violence and coercion and to connect it to the local archives and experience in a meaningful way.
The LibGuide will serve as a discovery tool that identifies and makes relevant collections more accessible by assembling information about them in a single location and providing brief biographical/historical notes and #MeToo-specific scope and content notes that quickly inform users of the subjects addressed and kinds of material available within each collection. Thus far, I have identified over thirty IWA collections with relevant material and am in the process of researching and describing those resources. Subject guides like this one are created using the LibGuides app, which is part of the LibApps platform of applications that many libraries subscribe to. While LibGuides are more commonly created for library resources like books, articles, and databases, I have had the opportunity to create two other LibGuides for archival resources in the context of my work at the IWA. This project builds on that previous work and experience.
I hope that this tool will be useful to researchers, as well as to faculty and students in courses that engage with relevant topics. I began this project hoping that I could also find ways to connect the LibGuide and IWA’s resources with campus and community organizations like RVAP, the Domestic Violence Intervention Project, or Monsoon Asians & Pacific Islanders in Solidarity. For example, could the LibGuide have additional tabs that provide information about and/or histories of these local organizations for victims/survivors? Could the LibGuide be used as a starting point for inviting members of the public to explore material at the archives and think about this history in their own communities? As I move forward, I hope to explore the possibilities for meaningful engagement with local organizations.
My project focuses on anti-vaccination content in both textual and visual form. However, I have chosen to examine this content through visualization so that I may build a timeline detailing the evolution. I will similarly specifically explore how the internet has been used to accelerate and even legitimize the anti-vaccination movement. Overall, this research process has been interesting and certainly surprising.
Although vaccinations are effective and safe, there have still been many anti-vaccination movements. For this research, I chose to focus on three specific anti-vaccination movements: protests against the smallpox vaccine, anti-vaccination content regarding a supposed (disproven) link between the MMR vaccine and autism and current opposition against the COVID-19 vaccine. Finding a link between these three ant-vaccination movements has been fairly easy (many arguments are ableist, many are focused on potential side effects rather than the vaccine’s effectiveness). However, one minor concern that I have is how to truly synthesize this information for a better argument. I have found that while working on a paper, it is not uncommon for another research question to emerge or the research to provide another set of information and am not too concerned. Thus far, my project has been collection-based: I’ve been collecting anti-vaccination articles and anti-vaccination images. I haven’t run into any major issues; however, finding scientific graphs that show a link between vaccines and health problems has been difficult.
I have begun typing up my findings and building a basic timeline. My hope is to begin placing the images in a proper timeline format by the end of next week (specifically an online one.) However, finding the images was a bit harder than anticipated, and therefore I am still finding them. This is still very much a work in progress: I began this journey understanding both the importance and difficulty of this process: Facebook has begun to remove anti-vaccination content, and Twitter has begun to remove anti-vaccination users, specifically those who spread disinformation regarding vaccines. However, I am optimistic that these measures will not negatively impact my work. I am excited to continue my research.
When I began my wonderful entanglement with The Studio in 2018, I did not know what would result. I wanted to learn new digital methods, theorize about digital work in contemporary higher education, and become a bit more sophisticated when it came to doing work that would reach out beyond academic journals. As I mentioned in my second blog for The Studio Summer Fellowship, I never would have imagined that I would do research focusing on Kosovo, learn skills related digital mapping, or have to figure it all out during a global health emergency. Yet here we are.
Moving into this PDH Capstone semester, I found myself turning to a state of wonder as I follow three threads of digital engagement in my scholarly journey.
The first thread pushes me to return to the digital work I have already done. The maps I worked on during my summer fellowship need polishing. Some are worthy of showing off, but others need a bit more streamlining. Do I need them to be perfect to serve as a proof of concept for future digital work? I wonder whether a project that was intended to be (1) a platform for a personal learning experience, (2) a tool to help a research team visualize a difficult data set, and (3) a product for a very niche audience should now be leveraged in some new way. There is no doubt the work needs to be finished, but does it need to include features that show what I can do (beyond what it needs to do? I currently lean toward no, because that feels self-serving. At the same time, does small-scale digital scholarship beget larger digital scholarship based, in part, on the electronic traces it leaves in cyberspace? Must I leave a certain type of trace?
The second thread leaves me wondering how to write about the digital interdisciplinary work that I currently do in order to obtain grant funding. I cannot share much about the data I use on here at this time, but essentially my work relates to digitally curating a set of European educational policy data and using it to show how it affects students’ lives. Sure, I can model this data statistically, but it doesn’t then have the potential pack as much punch as visualizations do. That said, in order to garner enough support to protect my time to do this work, I have to write about my scholarship differently to apply for grants from data curation funds, education research funds, policy/political science research funds, or general international research funds. In addition to the disciplinary cultures this requires me to navigate, I must also consider how the grantmaking conventions differ from U.S. contexts to European contexts. I certainly do not have the protected time to do all this grant-seeking. Thus I wonder what kind of time investments do I want to make, whose patronage do I want, and how can I foresee the strings that are attached?
The third and final thread relates to the future scholarly work. As I approach the academic job market (I’ll graduate in 2023!), I wonder what to do as I become ever more aware that digital skills are not particularly valued in my discipline. While many doctoral students find their way to The Studio seeking pathways out of traditional academic careers, I still very much want to be a professor. I left a solid higher education career that I loved in order to make the educational investments needed to obtain a professor position – a choice I wholeheartedly stand behind. Along the way, in addition to the traditional research, teaching, and service work of an academic in my field, I found I enjoyed digital work, even though it doesn’t quite fit into the traditional boxes. As part of my capstone, I want to learn more about ways to incorporate explain DH work within my field of higher education and student affairs.
Weaving these three threads together, I wonder if it will take the types of “proof of concept” scholarly demonstrations mentioned above, or obtaining certain types grants, in order to obtain that faculty position. Or, I wonder, will it be necessary to pull away from doing digital work until I pass this period of scholarly precarity?
It feels great to be “back.” In the summer of 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, I had the privilege to serve as a Summer Fellow in the Digital Scholarship & Publishing Studio. The experience was unprecedented. Not only was it fully remote, but the fellowship represented my first time having the space to conceptualize a digital humanities project from start to finish. Luckily, while I am completing the capstone to receive the Public Digital Humanities graduate certificate, I get to return and pick up where I left off. I say “back” because things are certainly not the same; most work is remote, with a few masked in-person meetings. Who would have thought human connection would be so crucial for a digital project?
My development as a scholar has also changed quite a bit since I was last in the Studio. While developing my project, “Disrupting the Reparations Timeline,” I was focused on building a digital project that aided my research on the inventive ways Ta-Nehisi Coates uses alternative constructions of time (temporality) to shift the grounds of the reparations debate. I successfully built a non-linear digital timeline/archive to illuminate the profound rhetorical work within his essay “The Case for Reparations” (catch up on what I did here, here, and here). Since completing my project, my research has taken a turn towards heavily engaging Asian American Studies, focusing on how conceptions of time, such as “progress” narratives, contribute to the racialization of Asian American communities historically. Thus, while my interest in the relationship between racism and time has remained the same, where I disentangle that relationship has shifted.
The reason I am in the Studio has also changed from my days as a Summer Fellow. This semester I have the space to complete the capstone for the digital humanities certificate, and I am excited by what the environment provides. What I hope to accomplish during the semester is twofold. My main goal is to get my “Disrupting the Reparations Timeline” fully available online. While I have the timeline finished and the backend code for a website complete, I was never able to get it hosted on a server and available for the public. I have received several inquiries about the project and would like to be able to send it out to those who are interested in engaging with the reparations debate and Coates’ timely essay (pun intended). I’ll be working with Nikki White to get the website off the ground and running. Doing so will also allow me to reflect on the project’s trajectory and where I see it going. Once I have the 1.0 version complete, I plan to map out the project’s future directions and how I see it expanding and growing.
The second goal of the semester is to explore digital Asian American archives. While I prepare for my comprehensive exams this semester, I am also thinking about the potential case studies that will comprise my dissertation. Thus, while I am searching the internet for primary sources that could serve my interest in how conceptions of white, Western “progress” serve to solidify the exclusion of Asians from citizenship and belonging in the latter half of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century, I am engaging the form and construction of the archives I encounter along the way. What constitutes an “Asian American” archive? How is “Asian America” constructed through these digital archives? What materials comprise an “Asian American” archive? What are the digital affordances of a digital form for these archives? How do the digital components of the archive implicate the construction of “Asian America”? The questions I am asking are expansive. I hope through my exploration of the archives I engage across the semester, I can begin to piece together contingent answers to the relationship between “Asian America” and digital archival spaces.
The semester continues to hold great promise. I have begun working towards both goals and look forward to sharing where I end up in another few weeks.
One of my favorite devotional icons is known as the Ladder of Virtue. In Orthodox Churches, the image of devotees striving to climb a ladder as saintly onlookers cheer them on from clouds high above and demons attempt to pull them down with pitchforks has long appealed to me as an metaphor for work. I often organize my thoughts on a project through this visual: what angels are pushing me forward, what demons are pulling me down, and what are the next few rungs to climb that I can see? It helps, I suppose, that this image is tied to a book related to my own studies in late ancient monasticism and echoes through a text known as the Book of Steps.
I have continued my project mapping Syriac books from the summer as my Capstone Project this fall. With help from the Studio, the map has found an online home and initial draft mapping the places where Biblical manuscripts in Syriac have records of existing. These hand written Bibles (or selections of books) have marks and notes indicating where they’ve been, and sometimes when. If my ladder of progress is a version of this map that is full and ready, the next rungs of that ascent are steep but exciting.
Right now the drop-down menus of manuscripts only tell the viewer the British Library’s shelfmark, and a single book may have multiple points. There is value in this map’s ability to show the contours of settlements and geography of monastic settlements and cities. But what if we could animate in some way the movement of those books, drawing lines of connection that can illustrate the journey a single book took before it ended up in a museum library?
Thanks to Jay Bowen, we have begun to map just such a movement. The process raises new questions to address, though. Right now, the map clusters nearby items into an area. How can we be sure books connect without collapsing into those points? Can we show what kind of book is present, especially as we start entering new books of philosophy, hymns, and history? Does adding these lines make the already dense map harder or impossible to read?
So far, we have decided to proceed with two maps; one will show the movement of books with lines and points of connection, and one will mark all known places. The next steps on the ladder are the addition of new data to continue adding data to the story of these maps, and working through how to best tell a story that spans centuries. Making the story of these books readable is an important step. Through this, the pull of new avenues or interests is a continual challenge.
Like the demons of the icon, ideas like “What if we started over but made a database first this time,” or “But why not spend all day just entering data,” remain a recurring voice. Maintaining balance and focus on that ladder is a difficult undertaking, but with the encouragement of better angels like project supervisors and peers, I haven’t fallen off yet.
Progress not perfection.” These three simple words of reassurance have been the mission statement of our cohort through the summer fellowship, and have become somewhat of a restorative, compulsory chant for me. Through the summer fellowship, I’ve used these words to settle feelings of fear, doubt, and insecurity—to generate new momentum after having been slowed by the challenges of learning.
And, that’s just what the DH Summer Fellowship has been for me, of course, challenges of learning—progress not perfection. What did I expect? The fellowship is not a talent show; it’s not a demonstration of knowing. The fellowship is a several weeklong class of your own design. And, like any class, you are—I was—provided mentors, facilities, and tools to help you learn—not know.
I began the fellowship with an overly ambitious plan to complete three videos exhibiting three different artists’ books from the University of Iowa Special Collections. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, fast-forwarding, I’ve finished the fellowship with several gigabytes of photographs and a single partial video of one artists’ book from my own collection—progress not perfection.
What happened then, between the goal and the outcome? Well, the project became much larger than anticipated. In reflecting, the first step I took during my fellowship was to really break down, itemize and organize all the steps necessary to complete a video. I had preproduction, production, postproduction, and distribution. In preproduction, alone, I had: equipment (hardware and software), scripts and storyboarding, staging and props, and test-shooting. You see where this is going? For equipment, I didn’t know what exact hardware I needed or what exact hardware was available through the Digital Studio. I knew I needed a camera and tripod, of course, but what camera? Mobile? DSLR? What lenses? As it would turn out, I would need a DSLR interchangeable lens camera as well as a macro lens for some of the more detailed sections of the artists’ book that I wanted to capture. I had no access to a macro lens through the studio, but I was able to acquire a DSLR camera, tripod, and portable lightbox. Step 1.1, then, was researching different photography equipment and setups to ascertain what was best and possible for my project. Step 1.2 became: to learn how to better operate a DSLR camera, etc.
The project’s steps really expanded, like branches from a tree. I mean, you wouldn’t think you need a separate step for learning how to use a portable lightbox, but I knew I was out of my depth when I couldn’t figure out how to refold and collapse it so that I could transport it to location! (It would turn out too that in reviewing how to fold the lightbox, I learned I was sitting the lightbox on the wrong side, so it sat with an undesirable droopy manner!) For the sake of brevity, I’ll spare you the details of my learning, just the introductory elements, of Adobe Premiere Pro video editing software, but it would be reasonable to estimate this portion as steps 10.1 through 10.87.
Joking aside, when I focused on learning and making progress—not knowing and making perfect—I learned a great amount (cameras, software, shooting, and editing) and had a great deal of fun overall in the DH Summer Fellowship program. My advice would be, more of a reminder really, to tune out the ego—yours and everyone else’s—because it’s just not helpful. In fact, it’s painful and exhausting really. (Always having to know; always comparing; always being on; always being put together.) And, unsurprisingly, the real learning—and fun—happens when you’re coming at your project from a place of humility. Lastly, not enough kind words could be said about the staff and faculty of the DH Summer Fellowship program. Special thanks to my mentor, Nicole J D White, and my instructor Stephanie Blalock.
Apply for the DH Summer Fellowship, the worst thing that can happen is that you learn something!
Preview of Covington’s forthcoming archive on Black girls in film
As a community engaged scholar, this fellowship has provided a space to value fellows’ interdisciplinary scholarship, professionalization from the Studio and explore the possibilities of how the digital humanities can assist and serve in the development of community needs that coincide with academic endeavors within the disciplines of African American Studies, Sociology and Film Studies.
At the beginning of the fellowship, I was able to connect with the Library of Congress, UCLA and the University of Indiana Bloomington to explore the film collections and archive of Black films. The archivists and librarians from across the country informed me that there was no specific archive of the database of Black youth films. Though each of the resources provided were extensive, it was encouraging to identify a “gap” in the digital space. It was clear that the database I was seeking is what I needed to create. In developing a dataset of over 100 Black youth films, the curated collection begins as a space to identify films featuring Black and African American girls as main characters in feature films.
I explored database options including, Omeka and Heurist, to serve as a general database. But each format did not allow for multiple data points to be viewed simultaneously in addition to user access and navigation. In my ongoing consultation with the Studio, I was able to begin the process of providing the database in the format of a digital timeline.
Through incorporating Atom I was able to begin transition of the dataset to a timeline that can be a utility for teachers, youth, filmmakers and scholars interested in Black youth films, specifically girls. The beginning of the database has started with the fellowship and will continue to be part of my academic scholarship.
Turning data sets into digital representations and collections that serve as resources for others is much of what I have learned in the Digital Fellowship. The power of collaborative work and engagement with communities needs allows for the digital humanities to supplement much the traditional parameters of traditional academic spaces taught in graduate school. The digital space allows for non-academics and community members to explore exhibits, the ongoing professional development to develop digital skills and the creation of visual context for scholarly work.
Audre Lorde’s Sister Outsider first and second edition
Coming to this fellowship during a time of social unrest due to a dual pandemic, of racial injustice and international health crisis, I asked myself: How can my work address injustice in the archive?
In exploring this terrain amidst a time in which anti-racism and social justice are now in the national lexicon, I witnessed much of what was said on the topic across institutions as empathic to understanding racial justice but there was a limited focus on policy and change to implement to support those most marginalized, specifically, within the academy.
In approaching the development of a database and researching current film archives, I found many of the mainstream archives housed in university and national libraries were just starting to challenge what Audre Lorde calls the “mythical norm.” In her seminal work, Sister Outsider, Lorde’s definition of the mythical norm challenges the assumption of normality which prioritizes straight, white, middle class and maleness. The book is essential in the Black Studies tradition and provides a framework for me to challenge the mythical norm in the archives. I began by exploring digital spaces that disrupt the perceived norm and create a space honoring Black people’s lives, perspectives and experiences.
Identifying the works of Dr. Stephanie Y. Evans and their curation of Black women’s narratives provided me with a place to understand Black digital spaces that can be created as sites of rebellion and supplement already standing scholarly work. This project is helpful in thinking about the manner in which my work over the summer can be developed while honoring a digital scholarly commitment to anti-racism.
Dr. Evans and other Black digital humanists’ works I discovered allowed for me to see the utility of a digital resources while also understanding how it is situated across the social sciences.
In approaching the development of an archive of Black youth centered films I consider the history that Black children are often not afforded childhoods as we have seen with the police murders of Aiyanna Stanley Jones, Trayvon Martin and Antwon Rose II. The rationale of this ongoing work is developing a space where Black children are recognized as such and their lives, fictionalized or not, are worthy of our attention. In this space, joy can outweigh pain, fantasy can be real, and their lives, real and otherwise, can be honored.
The development of a film database that honors Black children, specifically girls, will serve as a scholarly supplement to my current research on Black girls in film as well as a stand-alone resource for teachers, filmmakers, youth and their stakeholders. I view this work as an act of anti-racism in the academy, rooted in the tradition of African American Studies which encourages us to look at history and archives and the like with a critical lens to identify social injustice and develop interventions to create just archives.
“In re-reading the manuscript of this book I find I didn’t allow myself to be born.” – A.E.
This summer and in the year to come, I am writing and drawing an essay collection about flight, and about how narrative can fail. While I have been digesting different materials, researching clumsy Brood X cicadas (on location), the early airplane, the width of a sonic boom (1/10000th of an inch), albatrosses and horses (both animals of flight), most recently, I have become very interested in Amelia Earhart.
Amelia Earhart is obvious, and that’s why I’m interested in her. Her persona in popular consciousness, her sepia face and cap, her eyes squinting against a wind, her face on the largest milk carton, is so pat and static as to be nearly sedative. She is also so far away in space and time, her context so utterly separate from our own, which means to talk about her is to chart many distances. What I am most interested in is to chart how her distance has been charted in the hundred years of her name being known.
All to say, many things about the way her celebrity, and her disappearance, is gendered and mythologized strike me as fraught. Her celebrity seems very much a sample case for what the public can do to a single person, using a real life in such an unreal way, both contemporaneously and over a century of storytelling in mass media, so that who once was a human being becomes a soaring thing, so far away and small up there, the story about them as large and airy and indistinct as the sky the soaring thing might move through. What exists then is a collective telling that confuses facts and uses the evidence of a human life in the dubious ways story can, to prop up certain sensational epiphanies and moral conclusions. Even still, these stories can be so enjoyable. And even still, the goal of demystifying her story by making an example of the wrong tellings may be the same error repeated—a pyramid scheme of debunking that becomes more abstract, but still has the bias of ideal as its aim. This, I’d like to avoid.
My goal was to learn enough about Amelia Earhart that I could write an illustrated essay that could press a pin to the balloon of this mythos, gently press a hand to the rubber and deflate her story whistlingly down to scale, so I might feel what real shapes were inside. To undo or at least make clear what had happened through the years of relentless, hallucinatory telling and telling of her story over and over again.
The first step was to get certain facts straight—the simple truths of Earhart’s life—so that my meta-untelling could be tethered by undeniables: the whens and wheres and whats that would hold her human actions in place, and in context, minus the atmosphere of abstract meaning and hero worship.
Unfortunately, I realized I myself am human. Meaning, I learned quickly that her facts by themselves did nothing to dissuade any notion that she should be worshipped. In fact, those facts almost immediately set me on track to write a probably very boring, congratulatory ode of an essay about her merits.
As it stands, I have found myself overwhelmed by how nearly impossible it is to shrink her, in any meaningful sense and have come to the provisional conclusion that certain facts of human invention and feat are inherently hypnotic. Like must have been known by her contemporaries when Earhart was a household name.
Perhaps two of her most well known facts are these. Famously, Amelia Earhart made her first solo, nonstop trans-Atlantic solo flight in 1932, the first woman to do so. But four years before this, she made her first flight across the Atlantic as a passenger in 1928, and she wrote a memoir about this passenger flight called 20 hours 40 minutes — and while the flight took just under a day to complete, nonstop, the writing of the book took only a few days.
Urged by her publisher (and later, her husband, George Putnam, her partner in what she demanded would be and was, as she demanded, an open marriage — ) she typed the book on a breakneck deadline, and it was circulated near immediately, to a public eager to read her story. The flight log of the first woman to cross the Atlantic in an airplane flight.
The book’s forward begins with a devilish apology, in which she laments not writing a “work” (“you know, Dickens’ Works, Thackeray’s Works”)—because, as she explains, her “dignity wouldn’t stand the strain.” Her dignity couldn’t stand the strain of attempting a great literary feat, in the midst of so many others.
When a person is not flying an airplane, but reading about the people who fly them and writing about them and drawing illustrations about them, and trying to figure out how those images fit on the page with those illustrations, and learning the Adobe Creative Suite some 100 years removed from their subject — it is a relief that the distance a person might fall, in writing a book, is not at least physically as high as the literal sky. Although a conceptual distance is infinite.
This summer’s work has been a series of manageable falls, both technical and conceptual—digital and analog. In the placed work of sentences and in the infinite space of thinking through planes and the people who fly them and why, and the strange historical instances that could have been forks in the road, but all seem to have inevitably led us right here.
Looking at the world through the lens of the stories people tell about airplanes and pilots, or horses and their hooves, or cicadas and their juicy red eyes and the way they emerge all at once from the ground every seventeen years — engaging the texture of any human story leads to a reflection on the telling of the story when it was told, and our reading of it now. Relations to relations.
It’s all in process, and I’m not sure what it will take to allow myself to be born — perhaps it will take seventeen years of gestating in a larval stage like a Brood X periodical cicada before this collection and its illustrations emerge — or Amelia Earhart’s brief foray into photographing garbage cans (“I can’t name all the moods of which a garbage can is capable.”) — or maybe it will take a near impossible deadline and a relentless moving-on to the next thing, knowing how short a life can be, and how long it might be remembered still.
Reflecting on my Digital Scholarship & Publishing Studio fellowship work, I realize that this project has involved a variety of new processes for me. The most important process underlying my project has been the search for media materials: specifically, films, news, and user-generated media relating to LGBTQ+ identity in China. The process of searching, reviewing, and cataloguing media was partially new to me as a filmmaker. In the past, I have mostly focused on fiction (or short-form documentaries) that are limited to specific people or stories. In contrast, my current project has a broad scope because it aims to give a concise but comprehensive exploration of LGBTQ+ media in China.
As I got deeper into my search, I discovered something about archival work that historians and other scholars must be very familiar with: the more you find, the more you want to find; the more you realize you didn’t know, the more you wonder how much else you don’t know! With that feeling, I decided to shift my July and August priorities away from rushing into a finished project and more toward a thorough, wide search. Fortunately, my search has been helped much by my (virtual) involvement with a longstanding queer film festival in Beijing. As a reviewer there during the past few months, I have had the pleasure to access many hundreds of Chinese LGBTQ+ titles that I otherwise would have no way to discover. The festival is undoubtedly the closest thing in the world to a comprehensive list of Chinese-made LGBTQ+ films produced since 2000 (including narrative, documentary, animation, experimental, and other varieties). So at a minimum, I am studying as much content there as possible to identify the noteworthy works, themes, and individuals that should be included in my final video about this topic.
Another challenge for me has been structural. Specifically, how can I sort these materials in an easily understood way? At first, I considered sorting according to identity labels (“L,” “G,” “B,” “T,” etc.), and then I considered a strict chronological organization. But in the first case, I realized I didn’t want to simply reinforce rigid ideas about identity labels. In the second case, I realized that a chronological structure was not very useful or informative and would end up being too messy to follow. So now, I have decided to group films according to genre: animation, experimental, documentary, narrative, etc.; I reached this choice because above all, my project is an exploration of creative works about Chinese LGBTQ+ identity, rather than an exploration of Chinese LGBTQ+ identity that happens to appear in art. This simple choice has made my media sorting much easier and clearer.
Finally, the most technical challenge for me has been to teach myself some highly specific tools in a post-production program called DaVinci Resolve. Putting together my video analysis, I strive for high image quality and consistency. This is a complex task when assembling a film from existing footage that varies in quality (for example because an original-generation copy is unavailable). To help streamline the diverse footage, I have learned the various techniques for visual and motion noise reduction using DaVinci. Rather than a rough one-click tool, I have learned the more specific ways of selectively removing digital noise as well as smoothing pixelation in an image. Although this process result does not boost resolution, it prevents the most jarring differences in visual quality.
With this exciting and growing project, I look forward to working with Digital Scholarship & Publishing Studio beyond the summer into the future!