Happy Birthday to Us! 2nd – 9th February 2015

A year ago this week we welcomed our first We the Humanities curator, the wonderful @LouiseHJackson. I remember sitting at my desk (then in the Graduate School at the University of Reading) waiting eagerly for 10am, wondering whether anyone was really going to say anything.  The past month had augured well – the account had jumped form a few earlybirds tweeting this thought we’d had, to nearly 500 followers by the start of the first week – but at this stage it still didn’t feel certain that the idea would stick.

Since then the account has grown to more than 2,300 followers and has been curated by Medieval scholars, Victorianists, Egyptologists, literary theorists, performers, museum curators, educators, a marketing manager, classicists, art historians, sci-fi fans, philosophers, a technologist, art historians, digital humanists, science communicators, artists, musicians, medical historians and librarians.  Curators have been drawn from academia (lecturers, researchers and graduate students), tourism, schools, businesses, museums and galleries, and have tweeted to us from across Europe, Scandinavia, North America, South America, Australia and New Zealand.

The range of our curators’ home countries and interests is dwarfed only by those of the accounts’ followers and it seems to me that it’s as much the contributions from the people following the account as much as from its curators that makes this project so lively and interesting.

By way of a thank you we have something a little different happening on the account for our birthday: rather than handing over to a new humanities academic or practitioner just once for the week we’re going to be doing it every day, braving timezones to bring you six of the people who’ve entertained and educated us over the last year, plus the latest addition to our administrative team.  The handover times will vary and there will be a few hours in which the account will get a bit quiet but we’re very excited about our round-the-world anniversary week and hope that you get a kick out of it too.

In the early hours of Monday morning GMT @smiffy will pick up the reins from rural South Australia.  You might remember him from his epic week in August when he switched from his science and technology comfort zone to put the A in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Maths).

From Australia we head to the UK with @bennosaurus, who’ll be shifting the conversation to the political sphere, as he did back in September when he talked to us about youth engagement in UK politics.

On Wednesday we’ll be in Norway and to @skatemaxwell, last seen on the account in March.  She’ll be tweeting to us from the Arctic Circle, revisiting her interdisciplinary interest in the Medieval period and no doubt making us all jealous of the Norwegian life-work balance ethic all over again.

Thursday will welcome @trueanomalies, coming to us from Pasadena in the USA as she last did in July.  I’m looking forward to hearing how her book (on the history of impact crater research) is going plus finding out a bit more about science communication, especially the ways in which her activities in history and journalism intersect with this.

Friday sees usher book is going heading back to Norway, this time in the company of @camilla_hoel.  She was also a July curator, during which time she indulged us in nineteenth century literature and her infectious enthusiasm for science fiction.

Unlike our Scandinavian friends we won’t be taking a break for the weekend: instead, Saturday will introduce you to the third person in the We the Humanities administrative team, the lovely @emmabutcher_, who’ll be continuing the Victorian vibe (perhaps with a breakout into Romanticism too).

And on Sunday @krisreadsbooks, the account’s co-founder, will be spending a day reflecting on the last year and hopefully telling us all about the paper on Emerson and Twitter that she’ll be giving at the American Literature Association conference later this year (having won The Graduate Student Paper Prize from the Ralph Waldo Emerson Society in January).

And me? I’ll be doing what I usually do: eavesdropping on the conversations of humanities academics, professionals and experts from around the world for a week and hoping that everyone else is enjoying it as thoroughly as I am.

[Edited 1st Feb to better reflect Meg’s research focus]

26th January – 2nd February – Mahriana Rofheart

This week we’re welcoming Dr Mahriana Rofheart, who’s a researcher based in Georgia (USA).  As well as discussing Senegalese literature and culture she’ll be giving us a blast of science fiction chat (an often-maligned branch of literary studies).  I’m especially looking forward to her discussion of the relation between the researcher and the subject and the extent to which interest and enjoyment of the area intersect.

My name is Mahriana Rofheart (@MRofheart), and I’ll be curating @WetheHumanities this week. I am an Assistant Professor of English at Georgia Gwinnett College, located in Lawrenceville, Georgia near Atlanta. I teach courses in composition and world literature, though my tweets will not address my job directly. All thoughts and opinions will be my own and not my institution’s. I may discuss teaching practices and interests in general, however.

I have a PhD in Comparative Literature from Rutgers University in New Jersey. My book Shifting Perceptions of Migration in Senegalese Literature, Film, and Social Media was published by Lexington Books last year. That work, which came out of my dissertation research, examines novels, films, and hip-hop videos about emigration from Senegal to Europe. Since then, I have been looking at works of speculative and science fiction from Africa and the African diaspora. As a long-time fan of science fiction and fantasy, I am excited about the ways that my current project intersects with topics I enjoy on a personal level. I might tweet a bit about the extent to which humanities researchers do (or do not) “love” the works that they study and what that means.

I am planning to share information about works of speculative fiction, science fiction, and Afrofuturism, particularly from African and Afro-diasporic writers and artists. I am also looking forward to discussing digital art and humanities, possibilities for African languages on the internet (Wolof in particular), African literature more generally, and anything geeky (video games? comic books?) that I can fit logically into my curation.

19th – 26th January – Kirsty Strang

Glasgow-based researcher Kirsty Strang is our curator this week.  She’ll be discussing her work on Scottish literature and culture and taking us all to Manchester for an archiving workshop.  She also works at the Hunterian gallery and will be talking about how this intersects with her work on material culture and the relationship between literature and national identity.

Hi, my name is Kirsty Strang – you can find my personal account at @Kirsty_Strang. I’m really excited to take the reins at @WetheHumanities this week! I am currently undertaking my PhD in Scottish Literature and Culture at the University of Glasgow, although I have a background in music events management. I’m currently trying to maintain a balance between the two – any advice there?

My thesis is provisionally entitled ‘Locating Literary Memory in Post-Industrial Glasgow’ and sets out to explore theories of cultural and collective memory through the representation of areas in the city that have been redeveloped as a result of deindustrialisation. Part of this project also includes examining these literary and artistic representations of the city through their development in various public campaigns and festivals, such as ‘Glasgow’s Miles Better’ (1982), the Garden Festival (1988), ‘City of Culture’ (1990) and the Commonwealth Games (2014).

During my postgraduate career I’ve been working in Glasgow University’s Hunterian Art Gallery and Museum, presenting public talks on Glaswegian painting, photography and literature. I’d be particularly interested in connecting with other researchers who have had similar experiences, or those who would like to find a way to carry out similar events in their own academic environment!

Generally, I am excited to talk and tweet about national literature(s) in a global context, material culture, public engagement and using non-academic experiences to shape our research. I’ll also be tweeting around an archiving workshop at Manchester’s People’s History Museum so it would be great to hear about similar activities.

12th – 19th January Mona Nasser

This week we’re being curated by a dentist! We’ll, not quite but read in and you’ll see what I mean. We’re cozying with the sciences again as serial-curator Mona Nasser takes the reins. She’ll be talking health information, history of medicine and interdisciplinarity as she tells us about her engagement with the humanities in her work on clinical epidemiology and evidenced based dentistry.

Hi, my name is Mona Nasser (@monalisa1n) and I am looking forward to be curating @WetheHumanities this week. I have a mixed background. I studied dentistry. During my high school and university time, I worked as a journalist, illustrator and translator in Iran, mostly for a journal called Vekalat (which in Persian means Lawyer) – a Journal on Law, Culture and Literature published in Persian.

After graduating from dental school, I got involved in Clinical Epidemiology and systematic reviews. During this time, I also worked with historians in Oxford two projects around medical history in Iran. The articles were part of a bigger project called the James Lind Library, investigating the history of fair test and clinical research. My two articles are on Ibn Hindu and Ibn Sina, two historically known medical researchers from Iran. I continued my work in clinical epidemiology (specifically systematic reviews) in Germany.

In Germany, I worked on appraising the quality of evidence to inform writing evidence based information for the public. The project, not only looked at the evidence that needs to be communicated in the health information, but also on research how to write and communicate health information to the public. During this time, I also worked on an international project looking at the evidence based policy making process in the health care system in UK, Germany, France and Australia to inform related discussions in USA.

Later, I got a position in UK bringing together my work as a dentist and systematic reviewer together as the Clinical Lecture in Evidence Based Dentistry. I continue to work with a historian, political scientist media anthropologist and several psychologists and artists in two of my current research projects:

Cognovo :CogNovo is an Innovative Doctoral Programme, funded by the EU Marie Curie initiative and Plymouth University, to foster research training in the emerging field of Cognitive Innovation. CogNovo offers transdisciplinary training that combines scientific studies of the neural correlates and mechanisms of creativity, with investigations into the role of creativity in human cognition, and their application in sustainable technological and social innovation. I am involved in the overall discussions and developments of the project; this includes several workshops and symposiums to explore how to make interdisciplinary discussions possible. As part of the project, I co-supervise, Agatha Haines PhD who is working on Ideas Exchange: Understanding the human object. As an artist and designer, she brings a new perspective looking at objects in dental environment.

Cochrane Agenda and Priority setting Methods Group: The project looks at how researchers, funders, academic organisations and other stakeholders in the research system decide what questions are most worth addressing through research. As part of this project, I work with a political scientist to develop methods to engage with policy makers working in health care in four countries to understand what their questions and concerns are and which of them are the most important one to address in a research project.

I would like to tell you about some of my research projects but also raise discussion around “how we can make an interdisciplinary project between artists, humanities and scientists work” and “how would a training programme to support such a project look like”. As part of the discussion, I will share some of the resources and discussions we developed and had in Cognovo. I also work on systematic reviews which are scientific approaches to cumulate evidence to answer research, clinical or policy questions. Researchers in sociology, education, criminology and other fields attempted to adapt the systematic review methodology to their field and introduced different approaches like meta-ethnography, meta-narrative or realists reviews. I would like to tell you about our methods to review the literature, ask you about approaches that you use to review the literature in your discipline and finally what are the implications to review the literature in an interdisciplinary research project.

If you spend lots of time on twitter, you might know that I also curated @realscientists and @wepublichealth before.