Interactive Learning & Discussion
Led by community partners as well as academics, these sessions will focus on topics such as sustaining digital humanities projects, fundraising and marketing, developing strong community parterships, and principles of public humanities.

Humanities for All

Facilitator: Daniel Fisher
Focus Questions: What are the public humanities? How can digital technologies advance the public humanities?

This workshop will explore foundational principles and practices of publicly-engaged humanities scholarship, including research, teaching, preservation, and public programming conducted with and for diverse individuals and communities. Drawing on Humanities for All, the National Humanities Alliance’s initiative to document publicly-engaged humanities scholarship, we will surface types and objectives of this work— including especially projects involving digital humanities tools and methods. Through group discussions and creative activities, we will build familiarity with the field’s landscape and possible futures. This workshop will lay the groundwork for the institute’s important work, enabling participants to think through the “how” and the “why” of publicly-engaged scholarship and the mutually-beneficial partnerships that drive it forward.

Academia vs the Non-Profit Sector

Facilitator: Sarah Bishop
Focus Question: What do academics need to know about non-profits, and vice-versa, in order to establish good collaborations?

This panel will explore differences between the structure of academic organizations and nonprofits, as well as key differences in the work culture, outreach methods, and operational philosophies of these two sectors, with the goal of preparing institute participants to be able to form strong partnerships between the two. Panelists will speak about different kinds of nonprofit organizations that might be especially well-suited to collaboration on a public digital humanities project and share insights into what non-profit professionals can sometimes find challenging about partnering with the academic sector.


  • Carmaletta Williams, Executive Director of the Mid-America Black Archives
  • Jomella Watson-Thomson, Director, Center for Service Learning, University of Kansas
  • Julie Mulvihill, Executive Director of Humanities Kansas
  • Paula Console-Soican, Assistant Professor of English at Donnelly College
  • Peter Jasso, Executive Director of the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission
  • Rebecca Smith, Executive Director of the Lawrence Memorial Hospital Foundation.

The RETURN Project: Developing Strong Community Partnerships

Facilitator: Hyunjin Seo
Focus Question: How do you develop strong partnerships outside of academia?

This session will examine how to build effective partnerships with community organizations for research, outreach or engagement projects, using Seo’s RETURN Project as an example. The RETURN Project is a digital inclusion, technical education, and storytelling initiative designed to enhance knowledge and comfort with technology and nurture computational thinking among formerly incarcerated women seeking to reenter the workforce or adjust to their lives outside the criminal justice system. This session will cover principles and practices related to (i) conducting research to understand community partners’ needs and interests, (ii) co-designing programs based on empirical research, (iii) establishing effective communication channels, and (iv) evaluating community-based projects. Participants will engage in hands-on exercises to develop a plan for fostering strong community partnerships.

Building Trust: Participatory Design with Community Partners

Facilitators: Shannon Criss, Nils Gore, Matt Kleinman
Focus Question: How do you ensure community stakeholders are fully engaged?

This interactive session will follow the work of the Dotte Agency, a multi-disciplinary design collaborative engaging neighborhoods to shape the built environment in order to improve public health. The presenters will demonstrate how early-action projects with community partners in Wyandotte County, Kansas led to storytelling projects, which in turn led to future community-led design efforts that are ongoing. The session will introduce the Principles of Community Engagement from the Clinical & Translational Science Awards (CTSA) that Dotte Agency has adapted into their multi-disciplinary collaborative approach. Community partners will be invited to share their perspectives and experiences through pre-recorded conversations that introduce each example project during the session. Participants will be guided to map out potential projects in their own environment where storytelling and building trust can lead to design and further action with community partners. Project resources and videos are available on the Dotte Agency website.

The Socio-Technical Sustainability Roadmap

Facilitators: Aisling Quigley, Chelsea Gunn
Focus Questions: What are your project’s scope, audience, and sustainability priorities? What social and technical infrastructures do you need to maintain your project?

The Socio-Technical Sustainability Roadmap (STSR) is a structured workshop that guides project teams through the practice of creating effective sustainability plans. It is based on research findings that demonstrate that the needs of a project’s social infrastructure must be addressed alongside the needs of its technological infrastructure in order to successfully sustain digital work over time. During this institute the facilitators, members of the team that developed the Roadmap, will guide participants through “Section A: Project Survey” and “Section B: Staffing and Technologies” of the STSR. These generative, collaborative sections walk participants through the process of evaluating their project’s scope, audience, and sustainability priorities as well as the socio-technical infrastructure needed to maintain the project. After the institute has ended and participants have had the opportunity to share their work from Sections A and B and identify their sustainability priorities with their complete project teams, the facilitators will provide virtual follow-up sessions to support participants through the completion of “Section C: Digital Sustainability Plans.” All workshop materials are available on the STSR project website.

Cultural Heritage and Protocols for Indigenous Access

Facilitators: Kim Christen, Michael Wynne
Focus Question: What are the ethical questions of the public digital archive?

This session explores the need to infuse Indigenous information management systems, curatorial processes, and cultural protocols into digital humanities projects writ large, and introduces participants to two initiatives towards these ends. Although these two initiatives are designed explicitly for Indigenous communities, the principles that inform them—responsible approaches to data ethics, collective privacy, data governance, digital infrastructure, and responsive policy—are relevant to any community-based cultural heritage project. (1) Mukurtu is a free and open-source content management system and digital access tool for cultural heritage, built for and in ongoing dialogue with Indigenous communities. Mukurtu allows communities to decide how to share materials in culturally appropriate ways, and to foreground Indigenous knowledge in the metadata of digitized cultural heritage materials. A hands-on workshop on Mukurtu will be offered later in the day. (2) Local Contexts was founded in 2010 to support Indigenous communities in the management of intellectual property and cultural heritage specifically within the digital environment. The initiative provides legal, extra-legal, and educational strategies—including the TK (Traditional Knowledge) & BC (Biocultural) Labels and Notices—for navigating copyright law and creating new options for Indigenous control over vital cultural heritage.

Oral History 101

Facilitator: Tami Albin
Focus Questions: What are the basic processes, ethical considerations, and technology needs for conducing oral history interviews?

Building on the case study presented in the previous session, this session will provide participants an overview of the creation and implementation of an oral history project. Participants will be introduced to the following core components of an oral history project: understanding oral history, ethical and legal considerations, project planning, technology, designing questions, consent/release forms, the interview process, transcription, and access to interviews via a digital platform.

Project Funding

Facilitator: Sarah Bishop
Focus Questions: What are your sources of funding for your project? How will you develop a funding plan?

This session will provide an introduction to fundraising for a public digital humanities project. Bishop will share customizable templates for creating a project case statement, budget, fundraising plan, and donor/sponsor benefit guide. Through small-group work, participants will leave the session with a fundraising plan outline as well as a deeper understanding of what their project costs are and how to go about seeking funding to cover those costs.

Project Marketing

Facilitator: Sarah Bishop
Focus Question: How will you market your project to ensure it reaches your intended audiences?

This session will provide an overview of how to market a public digital humanities project. Bishop will share customizable templates for a multi-platform marketing plan as well as a sample press release that participants can use to brainstorm how to communicate with partners, stakeholders, and the general public about their project at each step of its evolution. Bishop will also connect marketing and fundraising, demonstrating the ways in which marketing, while an additional project cost, is a powerful aspect of the fundraising process itself.

Telling Stories with Community-Grounded Cartography and Data

Facilitator: Sylvia Fernández
Focus Question: How can we tell community stories to make impactful social changes utilizing maps and visualizations?

In this session we will share public and digital humanities projects that have used mapping and visualization of data as a form to offer collective spaces of imagination, creation of new knowledge, and models to reach out to multiple communities and do public social justice work. Participants will work in teams to explore and analyze various projects (Mapa Escritoras Mexicanas, Torn Apart/Separados, Mapping Modern Jewish Culture, New Roots: Voices from North Carolina / Nuevas Raíces: Voces de Carolina del Norte, Chicana por mi Raza) to learn the way they collect and use their data, the platform used and the way these maps and visualizations are presented to engage with the public. Later in the day participants will have the opportunity to create their own datasets, maps, and visualizations in a hands-on workshop.