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The Public Humanities Design Studio (PHDS) is a laboratory space for collaborative research in the public and digital humanities. Projects supported by the lab may use digital tools for data collection, analysis, or dissemination. The PHDS hosts a variety of lectures, workshops, discussions and special presentations, some of which will be open to the public while others may be more specialized and closed to specific graduate students and faculty within the Humanities. 

PHDS prides itself on establishing collaborations with scholars from other UC campuses. This year, we collaborated with staff and researchers from UC Berkeley’s Social Science Data Lab (D-Lab) as well as UCLA’s Digital Humanities department (HumTech) and their Digital Research Consortium. The lab’s inaugural talk was from Dr. Ashley Sanders Garcia, the Vice-Chair of the Digital Humanities program. She presented on how used text mining and network analysis to recover women’s stories from Ottoman-Algerian historical documents even though women are rarely mentioned. 

Our “Digital Humanities Tools” workshop series opened with our colleagues in the Office of Information Technology, Sarvani Chadalapaka and Matthias Bussonnier, who provided resources and guidance for humanities researchers seeking to approach research questions computationally. Daniel Story, Associate Librarian from UC Santa Cruz, taught people how podcasting can serve as a vehicle for teaching and research while also providing various demonstrations on how to create and edit podcasts using GarageBand, an app that is pre-installed on most Mac computers. Adam Anderson, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities at the D-Lab in UC Berkeley, taught our DH Tools audience how to digitize analog objects using open-sourced tools.  As COVID-19 adjusted everyone’s life, the lab quickly adapted by transferring all programming online and invited people to learn with us through Zoom Webinars. 

In addition to our workshops, the lab continues to support community-engagement projects sponsored by the Luce Foundation and looks forward to seeing the innovation and collaboration between UC Merced graduate student fellows and the community. We hosted several workshops for Luce Fellows which focused on research methods and policy.