This week I attended the CWRCShop course, “Online Collaborative Scholarship: Principles and Practices,” taught (collaboratively!) by Susan Brown with Mihaela Ilovan, Karyn Huenemann, and Michael Brundin of the Canadian Writing Research Collaboratory. Not only has the course further familiarized me with the various tools that CWRC (cwrc.ca) offers, but it’s also given me the opportunity to think deeply about what it means to work collaboratively. I’ve also been working collaboratively this past week: Kaarina Mikalson and Kevin Levangie, two scholars affiliated with “Canada and the Spanish Civil War: A Virtual Research Environment” (a project I co-direct with Bart Vautour), enrolled in the class too.
Clearly, collaboration is important to my work, and to so much of the work that those of us affiliated with EMiC and CWRC do. And yet, throughout our course discussions and demos—from credit visualization to CWRCWriter, from project structures to data curation, and much more—it has continually struck me how important it is to consider the affective side of collaboration. As Susan suggested at one point, to help collaborators work together (in person and at a distance), it’s integral to also spend time together socially. And it’s been awesome for me to get to SCW-nerd out with Kaarina and Kevin, from debating our favourite literary representations of Norman Bethune to giving a choral response to the question of when Canadians began to hold Canadian citizenship (say it with me—1947).
I want to end, then, by echoing Emily Ballantyne’s “Saying Goodbye” blog post (below), with gratitude for the ways in which EMiC and DHSI give us “a very clear and concrete understanding that my work does not exist in a vacuum, that my work is part of a larger whole that has an invested audience and means something to someone outside of my institution and outside of my own head.” I want to end, too, by throwing these questions out to the EMiC community: as we go forward, what does collaboration mean to you? How do you sustain your collaborative mojo when your collaborators are (sigh) far away? And what, to you, is the value of collaboration?
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