Blog Posts Reflection

Reflection: Rachel Denney

Rachel Denney (Ph.D. candidate in Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies, University of Kansas) shares how the institute supported peer networking.

The Migration, Mobility & Sustainability: Caribbean Studies & Digital Humanities Institute gave me the unique opportunity to connect with scholars from across the U.S. and the Caribbean while gaining hands-on experience with the latest technology in digital humanities. As a researcher of the Caribbean in the Midwestern U.S., it’s rare that I have the chance to interact in person with other scholars in my field. The Digital Humanities Institute brought in some of top scholars in Caribbean Studies and I was able to establish invaluable connections in a welcoming small group setting, as opposed to the intensity of
a large international conference. These connections have extended beyond the in-person institute with the regular virtual meetings (which were great preparation for the all-virtual experience of the spring semester). Many of these connections have resulted in professional collaborations on new and exciting research.  

Aside from the personal and professional connections, one of the greatest benefits of the Digital Humanities Institute was the hands-on experience with the latest digital humanities resources. Instead of trying to learn these tools on my own, experts took the time to walk us through each aspect of the new technologies. Large blocks of time were devoted to each resource and we were able to see what kind of projects were best suited for each one (as well as learning from some failed projects of the past). All the participants had the chance to ask questions and experiment with the tools in real time. We bounced ideas off each other and learned tips and tricks to make the resources work for our own research and teaching. I left the in-person Institute completely inspired to incorporate these resources into my research in Caribbean Studies and utilize these digital humanities tools in the classroom.