New Digital Scholarship Fellow: Imani Mosley

Imani Mosley (PhD student, Department of Music)

This fall the Libraries welcome a new graduate student fellow — and fellowship — to help encourage and aid digital humanities research and publishing at Duke. Imani Mosley joins the Digital Scholarship Services team as its first Harsha Murthy Fellow in Digital Scholarship, a position created with funding from Harsha Murthy (T‘81), a longtime member of our Library Advisory Board. The Murthy Fellow helps to raise awareness of and engagement in digital scholarship at Duke, primarily by promoting activities and programs in the Murthy Digital Studio in The Edge.

The Murthy Digital Studio in The/EDGE (Bostock Library Level 1)

Located on the western corner of The/EDGE overlooking Telecom Drive, the Murthy Digital Studio is a light-filled, comfortable space for a range of digital activities, from hands-on workshops and research talks, to discussion groups and project work.

Imani is already helping to organize, promote, and facilitate a number of events and projects, but gamely took a few minutes to answer some questions that would help us get to know her and this new position.

Tell us a little about yourself, what you are doing at Duke and what brought you to the digital humanities.

I’m a North Carolina native and a musicologist, and I’m working on my dissertation on twentieth-century opera entitled “‘The queer things he said’: British Identity, Social History, and Press Reception of Benjamin Britten’s Postwar Operas.” Last year, I joined the Digital Scholarship Services team and oversaw social media and outreach. I have a strong background in technology and social media so working for DSS seemed like a great fit for me.

What was it about the Murthy Fellowship in Digital Scholarship that appealed to you?

For a long time, at least back to when I started grad school at Columbia (which coincidentally is when I first started working for Apple), I’ve been fascinated with making connections between technology and the digital with the scholarly. I was always looking for ways to make my life as a scholar more public, more accessible, and more current. So the idea of being able to coordinate and create events that did just that, for graduate students and faculty, really excited me. I’ve learned so much in the last ten years — from engaging with academic communities online to converting published content to Open Access (and the legal and procedural processes involved) to working with academic software, both specific to my field and more general. Through this work with the Murthy Digital Studio, I can organize events in which I can share that information as well as learn from others who’ve had similar experiences.

What do you think will be some of the major challenges in this new role?

I think there’s no denying how much of it will be logistical. Everyone at Duke deals with a barrage of information about all of the awesome things happening on campus and for me, it’s about finding a way to cut through the din. I recognize that since this is a brand new position, that a lot of it will be about laying the groundwork, but of course I want people to come to events! So trying to be innovative and find a way to stand out that creates (assessable) results is, I think, my foremost challenge.

Something more conceptual that will be challenging in this position is identifying audiences and creating spaces that fit their needs…and finding ways to get different groups working together. I would love for humanists to ponder the possibilities of the digital humanities and digital scholarship just as I would love for those outside of the humanities to come in contact with some of the things we do. Basically, I’m hoping for interdisciplinarity at its finest!

Look for more updates from Imani soon, as she spreads the word about what’s happening in the Studio this fall! You can follow her tweets @murthydigital or subscribe directly to the Studio’s announcement list — murthydigitalstudio@duke.edu

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