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Ruth M. Stone
Office of the Vice Provost for Research

Lauren Bryant
Office of the Vice Provost for Research

Last modified: Thursday, January 31, 2008

New Institute for Digital Arts and Humanities will advance faculty work

Jan. 31, 2008

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Information technology (IT) calls to mind sleek laptops, huge supercomputers, or possibly high-speed virtual collaborations among international scientists. It doesn't typically bring to mind Balanchine or Bach or Balzac. Now, a newly established Indiana University institute is set to digitally redefine scholarship and creative activity in music, dance, literature and many other arts and humanities fields.

Dolinsky art

The work of 3D virtural reality artist Margaret Dolinsky represents just one example of the kind of projects that will be furthered by the new Institute for Digital Arts and Humanities.

Print-Quality Photo

The Institute for Digital Arts and Humanities (IDAH) will enable and expand digitally based arts and humanities projects at IU by bringing together scholars, artists, librarians and IT experts. The institute draws on established strengths at the IU Bloomington campus in combining arts and humanities disciplines and information technology, such as the Variations digital music library, the EVIA digital video archive of ethnographic music and dance, 3-D virtual reality work by IU artists and the IU Digital Library Program.

"As I noted in my inauguration speech, it is my intention for IU to actively build on its remarkable legacy in the arts and humanities. The Institute for the Digital Arts and Humanities is a superb resource for supporting faculty excellence as we expand this legacy even further," said IU President Michael A. McRobbie.

"Innovation in the arts and humanities is vital to the future of Indiana University and to the preservation and advancement of the arts and humanities globally," said Karen Hanson, IU Bloomington provost and executive vice president. "The new Institute for Digital Arts & Humanities will provide our already highly regarded arts and humanities faculty with additional tools, methods, and materials for their outstanding scholarship and creative activities.

IDAH will make use of the extensive cyberinfrastructure on the Bloomington campus, including massive data storage capacity and advanced visualization systems. The institute will be housed in the new Research Commons, an initiative being implemented by the IU Bloomington Libraries that offers a suite of services in support of faculty research and creative activity. The Research Commons space will be located on three floors in the East Tower of the Wells Library.

IDAH unites faculty from eight IU Bloomington schools with the disciplinary and technical expertise of staff from the Wells Library and University Information Technology Services. UITS will provide information storage and access, hardware, software support and the delivery of various technologies.

IDAH joins the ranks of similar national and international institutes at institutions such as the University of Glasgow, University of Virginia and the University of California Los Angeles. The institute is administered through IU's Office of the Vice Provost for Research and led by Ruth Stone, associate vice provost for arts research and Laura Boulton, professor of ethnomusicology.

"I am extremely pleased to see IDAH become a reality and its inaugural class of fellows selected and ready to go to work," said Sarita Soni, IU vice provost for research. "First Geoff Conrad, associate vice provost for research and director of the Mathers Museum, and now Ruth Stone have worked with the faculty from the arts and the humanities for the past 18 months to create an institute that our faculty wants.

"IDAH's goal," Soni added, "is to empower our excellent arts and humanities faculty to access the university's extraordinary cyberinfrastructure to support their discoveries within and across disciplines. Ruth Stone is just the person to lead this endeavor."

Two-year fellowships will be offered for faculty to develop digital projects. IDAH fellows will work in an interdisciplinary environment to enhance their understanding of digital tools, prepare prototypes for major projects, and develop and submit grant proposals for external funding. The inaugural class of faculty fellows for the Institute for Digital Arts and Humanities and their projects includes:

  • Jeffrey Hass, School of Music, "Creative Application of an Integrated Interactive Sensor Environment for Music and Dance Performance."
  • Nicole Jacquard, School of Fine Arts, "International Collaboration Utilizing Indiana University's Innovative Technology."
  • David Delgado Shorter, Folklore & Ethnomusicology, "iFolk and the Indiana University Digital Archive of Folk Art."
  • John Walsh, School of Library & Information Sciences, "The Algernon Charles Swinburne Project."

During their fellowships, faculty will participate in an ongoing workshop with a team of specialists and other faculty fellows. Following the fellowship period, fellows will be invited to work with the institute, which will assist in hiring and supervising staff for the faculty research projects. IDAH will also serve as a center for collaboration among faculty already pursuing existing projects in expressive culture.

Stone, a graduate of IU Bloomington and a member of its folklore faculty since 1979, is currently co-project director for the EVIA Digital Archive, which preserves video recordings of musical performances with the intention of making them easily accessible over Internet2.

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