Welcome to Phase II of Dancing Digital, a project funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities to create and facilitate more centralized, accessible, equitable, and forward-thinking access to recorded dance online. The previous chapter of this progress blog covered Dancing Digital’s planning phase, which began in 2016 and was funded by an NEH Level I Digital Humanities Advancement Grant from January 2019-December 2020 (please see a link to those materials in the menu above). We are grateful for the NEH’s support to begin implementing ideas discovered in that planning phase in the form of a Level II Digital Humanities Advancement grant, which runs from January 2021-December 2022.
This new phase of Dancing Digital involves multiple levels of collaboration. Gesel Mason has joined this phase of the project as Co-Director. Gesel is both an Associate Professor of Dance at UT Austin and Director of Gesel Mason Performance Projects (GMPP). It is her curated collection, No Boundaries: Dancing the Visions of Contemporary Black Choreographers that will serve as the material for our prototype digital archive. Other collaborators include the Alabama Digital Humanities Center (ADHC), through which this blog is hosted and maintained, the College of Fine Arts at UT Austin, which is providing hosting and maintenance for the No Boundaries website and digital archive prototype, and the Harry Ransom Center at UT Austin, which is serving as the repository of record for the physical and digital objects in the No Boundaries collection.
Two research assistants are invaluable and driving forces behind this prototype-building process: Carlson Coogler, a doctoral student in Educational Research with a specialization in Qualitative Methodologies at The University of Alabama, and Molly Roy, a doctoral student in the Performance as Public Practice program at UT Austin whose research is situated at the intersections of dance, surveillance and information studies.
We have also contracted with Whirl-I-Gig, the developers of the open-source cataloging software CollectiveAccess, on which the archive is being built.
This new chapter of the Dancing Digital Progress Blog is intended to document the process of creating the No Boundaries prototype archive with the hope that the information shared will be useful to the many artists and organizations – in dance and beyond – wanting to provide online access to collections of recorded material. We are also building the No Boundaries prototype with the idea that the digital framework itself will become a useful tool for other performing artists and collection-holders, lowering the barriers to publishing recorded materials online, and encouraging more interconnection and discoverability across digital performing arts resources.
There is much more to come! Please stay tuned!