Editing Modernism in Canada


June 13, 2014

Planning to Learn, Learning to Plan

This June was my fifth consecutive trip to Victoria for the Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI). What makes the week so vital and productive for me is (at least) twofold: I know I will learn some basic skills and I know that research plans are hatched and developed during the week’s activities. When I began what would become a yearly sojourn to Victoria I suspected the former, and now, five years in, I’ve come to expect the latter.

DHSI has shaped my research in some substantial ways. It was at DHSI that I began talking with Emily Robins Sharpe about working together on a project about Canadian involvement in the Spanish Civil War. Each DHSI our project planning develops in leaps and bounds. We’re able to come together to plan, but also to celebrate the successes of the project. This year we were able to celebrate a “proof-of-concept” website [spanishcivilwar.ca] and a renewed mandate for the project.

What have I learned? Project planning is crucial.

No matter how big or small in scale the project is, planning can make or break the project. Part of planning is simply talking with others and asking questions of colleagues old and new: Have you done something like this before? How did you overcome such-and-such obstacle? Does our timeline seem like something we can accomplish? Do you know and researchers who might like to get involved? And the questions continue…

So, do you have a project in mind that needs better definition? DHSI might just be the perfect place to hatch those plans.

Bart Vautour is Assistant Professor (Limited Term) at Dalhousie University.

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