UTSA Libraries Launches CEDISH: Supporting Faculty Research and Local Storytelling for Collaborative Digital Scholarship

CEDISH workshop

(FEBRUARY 20, 2024)

In collaboration with faculty members, UTSA Libraries has launched the Community-Engaged Digital Scholarship Hub (CEDISH), a new initiative that will not only support faculty-initiated research projects but also turn local stories into humanities projects to be utilized in academic programs and courses. The goal of this new initiative is to build a supportive environment that fosters collaborative teaching and research using digital methods.

Digital scholarship involves using digital evidence, inquiry methods, publishing, and preservation to achieve research and scholarly objectives. Examples of past digital scholarship projects from UTSA Libraries include La Puerta: A Photographic Journey of San Antonio, a pictorial look at the people, places, events, and culture that make the Alamo city unique; and Mapping the Movimento an interactive map utilizing location data and archival materials to highlight specific sites found on San Antonio’s historic West Side that hold significance in the fight for Mexican American civil rights in the city.

“There has been a need at the university for a centralized entity to support the development of new digital scholarship projects that can be implemented in teaching and research across different fields,” said Carolyn Ellis, UTSA Libraries senior associate vice provost and CEDISH co-director. “A community will grow from CEDISH, encompassing collaborators inside and outside UTSA.”

Local residents will have the opportunity to work alongside UTSA faculty, staff and students to transform their own narratives into humanities projects. UTSA recently completed You Take it from Here, a video project that documents local high school students and their parents' perspectives on neighborhood change and the effect of Civil Rights on their lives.

“We look forward to launching projects that convert underrepresented community stories and turn them into valuable classroom studies and meaningful contributions to the community as a whole,” said Sylvia Fernandez assistant professor of modern languages and literatures, and CEDISH co-director. “We are excited about the possibilities that will unfold,” she added.

CEDISH, with support from Fernandez’s College of Liberal and Fine Arts affiliation, is currently driving two student projects.

First, CEDISH will launch a new bilingual podcast series that focuses on public and digital humanities at UTSA and around Texas. Hosted by UTSA Graduate student Emily Grace Rodriguez, the first episode of “Chisme and Digital Humanities” will be released this March featuring its first guest, Janet Chavez Santiago, an author, educator, and native Zapotec speaker who advocates for the representation, utility, and complexity of the Zapotec language in the contemporary world and the importance of facilitating language access via digital tools.

Additionally, CEDISH is launching a San Antonio chapter of the Transnational Digital Humanities Student Organization on UTSA’s campus. This student organization supports students who are interested in digital and public humanities and organizes events that foster local, national and international digital humanities research.

The third floor of John Peace Library will house the CEDISH lab. Serving as the hub for all CEDISH events, including workshops, consultations and research activities, the lab will be equipped with high-performance computers and software tailored for digital scholarship endeavors.

CEDISH has already outlined several programs and workshops scheduled for the spring semester. The CEDISH leadership council, composed of members of the faculty and library, including Rebecca Bria, PhD, assistant professor of Anthropology, Veronica Garcia Rodriguez, UTSA Libraries head of digital humanities and user engagement; Jessica Nowlin, PhD, assistant professor of Philosophy and Classics and Hejin Shin, PhD, UTSA Libraries head of digital scholarship will direct programming, identify grant opportunities, assist with grant writing and offer consultation to faculty and students about digital research goals and planning.

“The launch of CEDISH is a big step in bringing together knowledge and community for innovation,” said Dean Hendrix, UTSA vice provost and university librarian. “It shows our dedication to teamwork across different areas and supporting stories that matter."

“CEDISH opens up new paths where academia and community meet, sparking exciting opportunities for scholarship and growth together, Hendrix added.”

Visit the website and follow us on social media (Facebook, Instagram, and X) @utsa_cedish for more information about CEDISH and upcoming workshops and events