Directing a New Nexus Lab Experiment

When I first arrived at ASU, I spent a bit of time in the Nexus Lab – talking with Michael Simeone, working with a few students who were doing some encoding, and giving a few presentations. One of those presentations as part of the Research Advancement series, was where I met my current collaborator, Jessica Rajko. From that first meeting we’ve developed our #VibrantLives work and have gone on to show it together in Canada, the U.S., and she’s shown it in Amsterdam. We’ve worked sniffing real time data and parsing and sonifying archival data. We’ve done research using both our various disciplinary languages and we’ve worked to bring the body to the fore – focusing on embodied knowing rather than language at times. This work eventually led to the two of us founding of the HSCollab together and we’ve since brought in new collaborators from across ASU and the Phoenix metro area. In many ways, my work today is a product of that talk hosted in the Nexus Lab and I am extraordinarily grateful to Michael for hosting an event that changed my career.

It’s in the context of that gratitude and generous collaboration that I now step into the role of the Interim Director for Nexus. Michael launched Nexus just three years ago and has done amazing things with it in a short time. He recently accepted his new position with ASU Libraries as Director of Data Science and Analytics. Lucky for me, he’s just a stone’s throw away from the Lab and we’ll be working together far into the future, I imagine.

As someone whose work has been transformed by the Nexus Lab’s vision for transdisciplinary collaboration, I plan to keep this kind of open, multi-disciplinary, creative engagement at the heart of what the Lab does in the next year. Along with Michael, I am working to bring a major initiative here to ASU and will be able to say more about that later this fall (I hope!). In the shorter term, I’ll be reaching out to our communities to see what has worked in the past and what people are hoping for in the future. My time as Interim Director coincides with a major review of work within the Institute for Humanities Research (which hosts Nexus), meaning that there are opportunities to shape our future programming based on evolving interests and needs. This may include continuing to develop a regional DH network. It likely will also mean focusing on the amazing strengths of ASU’s faculty and students who are doing work on the Tempe, West, Poly, and Downtown campuses.
slide1Much of the work I will be doing as Interim Director will expand on the community building that we’ve been doing as part of HSCollab, which now also includes the formidable and fabulous Marisa Duarte. Our monthly “Possibility Lunches” are already tackling issues around the Internet of Things and Decolonial Approaches to Technologies.

In the spring of 2017 HSCollab, GSI, and Nexus Lab will be hosting a Cyber+DH event with partners from Columbia U and UCLA. As with Collab, Nexus will be working to think about data, information, and technologies from a variety of perspectives, including those grounded in arts or creative research practices. There will be crocheting alongside our coding and dancing together with data. I’m excited by this new experiment and hope to see many of you around Nexus in the future!

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