Mapping Mina Loy’s Social-Artistic Networks in Florence, Paris, New York
During the fall of 2017, each of us taught a course relevant to the project, giving us an opportunity to pilot a cross-institutional project with students and enhancing our collaboration with the digital humanists and digital librarians at our respective schools (Emily McGinn, UGA; Sundi Richard, Davidson; Gesina Phillips, Duquesne). The “Biography Project,” as it came to be called, involved students at Davidson, Duquesne, and UGA in researching and writing short biographies of figures associated with the historical avant-garde (chiefly Dada, Futurism, Surrealism) who were connected to Loy.
A truly collaborative effort, we established and followed a shared template for the biographies and involved students in peer-reviews of at least two biographies authored by students from other schools. In workshops conducted by digital librarians at each school, students considered the technical and conceptual particularities of gathering and “cleaning” data, writing for a digital platform, and conducting peer review through the open platform hypothes.is. Some challenges arose with using this platform, but we hope to iron those out as we renew the Biography project in our classes for fall 2018, which will all focus on women and the historical avant-garde. We plan to upload the biographies to the site this summer, once they have undergone final editing.
An exciting outcome of this student-centered work is the creation of visualizations of Loy’s social/artistic networks in Florence, New York and Paris (with the help of our wonderful cohorts in the libraries) based on the data gathered, which will also be posted to the site. Here is a preliminary visualization created by Emily McGinn using cytoscape (the data is not yet complete but this image gives a good idea of what we’re hoping to produce):