Our fabulous first curator, Louise Jackson, has very generously written down her thoughts about the (wonderful) part she played in launching @wethehumanities. Not only are we thrilled by her contribution but we’re also really excited by how much she got out of it too (it makes us feel slightly less selfish about pummelling her with questions and comments for a week!). As Krissie said this week, the project would be nothing without the account curators and we’re hugely grateful not only to Lousie but also to everyone who has signed up to guest edit and to all the people joining in the conversation as followers too.
When the idea of @wethehumanities started circulating around Twiiter, I knew that this was something that the Humanities absolutely needed, both to disseminate the work that takes place but also to foster cross discipline engagement and from different experience levels across the sector. As I took over for the launch, I really had no idea what was going to happen: Would all the supporters stop being interested because I was going to write about Music and Dance? Would there be a rejection of Music and Dance as part of the Humanities agenda? Would I actually be able to build up a momentum whilst carrying on in my day-to-day senior role?
I will answer these questions in reverse. I wasn’t sure how best to fit my work obligations around @wethehumanities before I started but I wanted to ensure that at least during the first week that there would be a constant stream of information being passed through it through retweeting items that were coming in, whilst also detailing elements of my work life, which are so entrenched in the research I conduct. The particular aspect I hadn’t thought about was the sheer volume of information I would be privy to. On the Monday evening I was so overstimulated that I couldn’t sleep – it was fascinating to see @wethehumanities coming to life.
Introducing two niche areas of Arts practice and pedagogy was a very special part of my week: Punk Pedagogy (an edited collection I am working on with Dr. Mike Dines) and live tweeting from the talk by Tim Roberts (Circus Space) to the followers of @wethehumanities. The interest that people showed in this area was amazing. Likewise, live tweeting from Prof. David Kirsh’s seminar about Creative Cognition provided, I hope, an explicit example of where the Arts cross over into scientific investigation. All of these activities were received more enthusiastically than I could have imagined.
My final concern, regarding the support that had already been built during the pre-launch period was stupid. On the first morning we gained many more followers and by handover to the next curator, Danielle, we had surpassed 900. I am pleased to say that Danielle is building that following through a range of incredibly interesting and informative discussions.
I am so very proud to have been a part of the launch of this great initiative and I hope we see a great many more interesting areas represented and explored. It was helpful for me to engage with a much broader audience than I usually have access, and it has certainly given me lots of ideas to take away and play with.
I’m off to start pushing my next project (Widening Participation in the Arts – with Dr. Katy Vigurs). Best of luck to the future curators and a massive thanks to Jess and Krissie for doing such a fabulous job in setting this up. As I write this, I am watching two window cleaners who are abseiling down the building opposite as they do their job. It’s interesting, but I wouldn’t want to swap places…