Jim McGrath, Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Public Humanities, asked students in his Digital Public Humanities class this semester to brainstorm some digital contexts for the alumni conference! Special thanks to Eleonora Carboni, Julieanne Fontana, Amelia Golcheski, Maddy Mott, Alyson Myers, Molly Pailet, Bryn Pernot, Julia Renaud, and Rebecca Rex for their help in suggesting these uses of digital tools and spaces!


We encourage attendees to use the hashtag #myJNBC to share photos, reflections, commentary, critique, and anything else you might want to discuss on Twitter and Instagram. Taking tours through the Nightingale-Brown House? Re-visiting favorite spaces on campus or in Providence over the weekend? Interested in taking us on trips back in time via old photos from your time at the JNBC? Curious about how other Public Humanities alums feel about a particular topic or issue? Feel free to post whatever you’d like, but these are some suggestions! Current students in the Public Humanities program will also be using the hashtag, so keep an eye on social media to learn more about the past, present, and possible futures of the JNBC.

Archiving The (Long) History of Public Humanities at Brown

Jim has been working with Susan Smulyan and Public Humanities students to document, archive, and preserve the JNBC’s long history (ten years is a long time!). These materials will eventually be accessible via the Brown Digital Repository (BDR). We’re beginning our archive by focusing on three specific areas: syllabi, JNBC exhibits and programming materials, and photographs. Down the road we’re also thinking about oral histories too! You can see some of the syllabi we’ve already collected and uploaded to the BDR here.

We’ll go into more detail on this archival initiative on Saturday afternoon and (hopefully) start a conversation on its potential shape and uses. Do you have photos or exhibit materials (posters, emails, photographs, labels) that you’d be willing to add to this project? Are there other materials that you think we should also add to the archive?

Have 1-5 items to share? Feel free to use this Google Form. You can also use this Google folder to upload batches of content, large or small. The folder is arranged by class: feel free to add items or create separate folders or sub-folders for your particular contributions! And please use the spreadsheet in the folder (direct link here) to give us some details on your contributions!

Have a lot of stuff you’re interested in sharing, or something more time or labor-intensive? Email Jim: [email protected]. We appreciate the help!

Public Humanities 101: A Crowdsourced Syllabus

Many of you have experience teaching in public humanities or related fields, and all of you likely have strong opinions on how public humanities might be (or should be!) taught in university contexts. In the spirit of similar crowdsourced initiatives, we thought it would be cool and generative and interesting to work on a Public Humanities 101 Syllabus!

Here’s a link to a Google Doc where you (and other interested co-authors!) can add content: readings, assignments, etc. Please feel free to share that link widely on social media: we’d love to have a wide range of voices, experiences, and perspectives contributing to its shape and content! We’d love to spend some time on Saturday afternoon talking more about this project and its final format and uses!

A Public (Humanities) Library

To complement our syllabus-building, which is obviously modeled on educational contexts, we also thought it would be fun to crowdsource a reading list from conference attendees and alums. What is one book that you’d recommend to non-professionals in your field who are curious about why you do what you do? Another way of asking this question might be: what book do you hand to friends or relatives who want to know how you got interested in this stuff? All genres, lengths, and languages are fair game here (though we’d ask you to stick to cultural objects legible as “books,” as opposed to, say, exhibitions, projects, or films). Once we compile this reading list, we’ll share it with attendees and post it on the JNBC’s blog. You can submit book recommendations via this Google Doc, in the library of the Nightingale-Brown House (on the second floor) during the conference, post suggestions to #myJNBC, or email them to Jim ([email protected]).