Category: Week 2

Project Charter

A History of the Campus Theatre

The research that I am undertaking this summer will be, as the title suggests, creating a more comprehensive history of the Campus Theatre located at 413 Market St. The tools associated with digital humanities will allow to not only access data associated with the history art deco theater but will also enable me to present this data in a more suitable manner than would be achievable through traditional research methods.

In creating a more complete history of the Campus Theatre, I hope to both discover and present events which have characterized this particular movie theater and transformed a building into a home for the memories of all who have experienced a film playing there. Of interest to me in particular are the Theatre’s founding, renovations that the building has been through, past screenings, special events and the like.

As the Theatre was founded in 1941, the scope of my research will not likely cover the 77 years since its founding but I hope to begin a fuller picture of the Theatre that may continue to grow after the eight weeks stipulated by the Digital Scholarship Summer Research (DSSR) program have ended.

With regard to an audience, I hope that anyone who has felt a strong connection to the Campus Theatre, whether they be a Bucknell student or a local of the area, will come across the project and will develop a deeper appreciation for the rich history of the Theatre.

As far as I have researched, I have not come across any projects that resemble the one I hope to complete — that is, projects that hope to digitize a history of a specific movie theater. With that being said, the information that I will be seeking out will come from sources unique to the Campus Theatre such as newspaper articles, magazines, archives, etc.

I hope to continue the process of digitizing the Campus Theatre’s rich history even after my research ends. Whether it be in the form of compiling information with regards to past screenings, or digitizing contemporary events, I hope to continue the project as history is a continual process and I believe that should be reflected in the work.

I would love to continue the work if possible though it would have to be on a smaller scale. If any staff of the Campus Theatre or Campus Theatre enthusiast would like to carry on the legacy of the project after this summer, that would be welcome too.

Project Charter: The basis of my research!

My project is a very specific project that will handle many topic from Africana Studies, Psychology and Film/Media Studies. For a piece of this project, I was able to conjure up a Project Charter. I believe that there would be no other way of explaining the depth of the project without showing some of the charter itself:

    Representation: Film Portrayal of Mental Illness and Race

“My project will explore the portrayal of mental illness on screen, specifically in films. I want to to do research on Hollywood films to see if there are preferences regarding the way mental illness is portrayed; is it usually romanticized or accurately portrayed? These are the types of questions that I plan to answer with viewing the films and seeing how most of the films that are produced portray these illnesses. However, there is another component because I want to see if there is a preference regarding race on how these mental illnesses are shown. Just from first glance, I can tell that some of the films on the list don’t necessarily have many non-white leads that are portrayed with mental illness. As a result, my project will also provide media influence.  This will show that the media influences a lot that people view and the mindsets that people have. Specifically, on a sensitive topic like this one. Although mental illness is becoming less stigmatized, that doesn’t apply to everyone and the way portrays patients is an indicator of that. Also, it could the result of any even larger point and that is access to help. These films have majority white cast members, and I want to correlate that with the amount of help that white individuals have received regarding mental illness, than non-white. I want to view all of the films from the list I have conjured up of films within the last 10 years of motion pictures distributed by these major studios. I hope that this project can appeal to people from various different disciplines; Africana Studies, Psychology and Film/Media Studies. I also hope that this project can influence others that may suspect that they have mental illnesses, but may not understand that it’s not their fault and they can seek help.

Currently, I haven’t found any projects that relate to mine because of the intersection between these various components. However, there are papers that touch on these different issues as they relate to each other. For example, I have found papers such as “‘One flew over the psychiatric unit’: mental illness and the media” that focuses on the media’s representation of mental illness that could provide me with some crucial information to enhance my project.  Some of the projects that I explored was the Art With Impact project that focuses on tackling the stigmatization of mental health through making films, but not necessarily analyzing them, and even this one doesn’t take race into account when thinking about the stigmatization of mental illness. I believe my project will build upon some of the aspects of other projects by adding that racial component and understanding the sociological approach to race as it relates to mental illness. ”

I am really excited to see where these ideas will go and what discoveries I make within these disciplines!

What digital scholarship means to me

I did not expect a digital scholarship project to make me cry, but there I was, 7:30 on a Wednesday night wrapped in a blanket crying about a bear I had never met after I watched bear 71. Bear 71 is an interactive short film that uses real data from tracked wild animals in Alaska to tell the tale of one female bear and her interactions with people and society as it slowly infringes on her home. It creates an interactive map where the view can choose to follow the real travels of bear 71, or other wild animals in the area. The story of a bear and how the world around her is interesting as it is, but when combined with online and interesting tools to create an immersive world, the viewer is quickly drawn in.

This anecdote highlights what digital scholarship means to me. It’s the use of data and technology to take something and present it in a more engaging wayArticles and books have been the way of spreading information and ideas in the world of academia for almost as long as it has existed. Digital tools like test encoding, data visualization, interactive maps, timelines and more can present the same information in a way that puts control of it in the hands of the audience. A history of a given person could be written in a book or presented on an interactive timeline where the viewer can choose which events in a persons life they want to explore, and which they want to ignore.

These digital tools create an environment where information is constantly being presented in new ways, and these tools are pushed and expanded to be used in different ways. This creates an environment where sticking to traditionally accepted means of conveying information is no longer important, whats important is representing this information in a way that’s engaging and interesting.

What Digital Scholarship Means to Me

Digital Humanities covers many different fields of study, and those within DH debate over what exactly is and is not DH. However, Bucknell has decided to change the title of this program from Digital Humanities to Digital Scholarship.  I like the change because the different name is more inclusive of other fields of study. I believe the emphasis of inclusion is more representative of the principles and values of DH. Over this past week and a half, I have learned a few definitions of digital scholarship that I could rely on for this blog post. But I like to keep things simple, so I will speak briefly about my takeaway from this new knowledge.

Over the week, I was able to look over a few digital scholarship projects including: Ellas Tienen Nombre, The Map of Early and Modern London, and Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek. From these projects, I was able to reflect upon the scope of Digital Scholarship/Humanities, and while most scholars probably wouldn’t agree, I think Digital Scholarship is about making academia sexy. The principles of making the data accessible to a wide audience, collaborating to expand ideas (including incorporating data from viewers), representing under-represented communities, and using digital technology make Digital Scholarship interesting to those who do not focus on that field of study. Digital Scholarship is the new, exciting, and fun cousin to traditional scholarship. I am excited to incorporate these ideals into my project.

These projects have given me inspiration and a clearer idea of what I plan to do over my summer. My project was originally to look deeply into data sets, and I still plan to do so, but I plan to create visualizations for the data as I look through them. To me, charts and tables are difficult to read and learn from. It is important to have a visual display to truly understand trends or patterns. Therefore, I will be spending most of my time creating maps of the Latinx community in select cities. I understand that these technologies take time to make, and the projects we saw were the product of many years with many hands at work. Because I only have 8 weeks, I need to be realistic about how much data I can represent. I plan to finish at least 3 representations; I think that 3 is always a good number to work with. It is not too much, and it is not too few. That is the main reason 3 is my ideal number of maps, but once I get to work I know that the number might change depending on how long it takes me to create my first map. I am motivated and ready to begin learning ARC GIS, I’m sure it will be fun getting used to it.

My big picture takeaway from this week is that I will have to start getting to work fast! I’m not sure if I have enough time to make all these representations—especially since apparently the library is closed at 5 and will be closed every weekend! But here’s to putting my best foot forward!