Five College Digital Humanities: Student Fellowship Reflection

 

 

Some students write papers, and some students start companies. 5CollDH Undergraduate Fellow and Hampshire College Student Isaiah Mann’s project, GlowLime Games, is an initiative to promote game development in the Five Colleges through a non-profit development studio run by students, with student conceived projects, and showcasing the interdisciplinary skills of student game developers. This is Isaiah’s third post of three. You can click though to read the first and second installments, or read an interview with Isaiah by Jeffrey Moro.


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From October of 2015 to May of 2016, I was a student fellow at the Five College Digital Humanities. I applied for the fellowship as a contributor/co-founder of student game development studio: GlowLime Games. In the months since, I’ve become Executive Director of the organization, and worked as a producer on one of our first titles: Lex The Wizard. The Five College Digital Humanities was a crucial part of my work at GlowLime. It provided the mentorship, publicity, and funding needed to push the project forward.

Equally as important as the above support were the individuals I had the privilege to work with through the program. There’s the peerless Director: Marisa Parham, also a Professor of English at Amherst College; Jeffrey Moro and Marii Nyröp: the hugely dedicated Post-Baccalaureate Residents; finally, the four other outstanding Student Fellows: Nora Miller, Eunice Esomonu, Ott Lindstrom, & Tanvi Kapoor. Marisa is inspiring and visionary. Jeffrey and Marii ―who the student fellows interacted most closely with― worked tirelessly to support and guide us. And seeing the work of my peers in the program was deeply motivating.

A crucial part of the process for me was searching for the definition of digital humanities. I’m still not positive I’ve found a suitable answer. I hold the broad viewpoint that it encompasses all of the culture, media, and interactions that exist within the digital sphere. To define “digital” would likely stretch the semantics too far, but from all I’ve seen and heard: the field has a staggeringly range and depth.

Something I didn’t realize until I was rehearsing my final presentation at the Student Symposium was a piece of advice Jeffrey (Moro) told me. As I was finishing my first run of the presentation, he gave me the feedback that my presentation ―and extending this observation to cover the project as whole― was one that focused on systems. The project’s main purpose was building an infrastructure; one that could support student game development and empower student leaders. In reflection, I realize that building up this structure has proved the most challenging part of the endeavor thus far.

I don’t believe we’ve completed GlowLime, nor that it will ever be a finished work. The goal from the start has been to build a sustainable organization that can live on in The Five College Consortium for years to come. Whether that goal is achievable remains to be seen. For my part, I will continue to serve and lead GlowLime forward as a core component of my Division III project at Hampshire. In addition to the work of myself and my fellow managers, we’ve made strides to promote underclassmen to bolster our ranks. This is by the merit of their skill and so that they may move up and assume positions held by graduating students. As I stand now, with a year remaining to devote a majority of my time to this organization, the potential is boundless.

Follow Isaiah Mann:

Isaiah is a Division II student at Hampshire College and a 2015-2016 Undergraduate Fellow with 5CollDH. http://isaiahmann.com/