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]