Hello from Cynthia

My evolution from the analog age was by default. I am a storyteller and since 1991 I have dedicated a large part of my research and artistic life managing outreach and media collaboration with community-based organizations in documenting the U.S. small farm experience. On the whole, most these projects have generated media deliverables to include oral history interviews, documentary video, and black and white photographs. This repository has been developed in the traveling exhibition, Voices of American Farm Women, the MSU Museum’s Voices Project, and three documentary videos that were aired on public television. www.foodfarmingandcommunity.org

I was inspired by the local food, farm, and land movement across the U.S. and in 2006 enrolled in MSU’s Writing, Rhetoric and American Cultures department with a Specialization in Gender, Justice and Environmental Change. My intellectual experience at MSU has helped me focus my skill set and scholarship direction…and now with the CHI fieldschool experience, I plan to share my digital repository with the general public, scholars, and fellow digital storytellers.

In Sardegna, I was fascinated Nuragic civilization-lasting from the (18th century BC) to the 2nd century AD. The Nuragic peoples built conical shaped tower fortresses that can be seen across the landscape. I have learned that around these sites is some of the most fertile soil and indeed there are still natural springs or evidence of natural springs as well as Roman churches near the Nuragic ruins. Another fascinating aspect of Sardegna is the medieval use of land-people were given the freedom to use the land in common. There are rules and governance now shaping local organizations in an effort to maintain these ancient rights. Sardegnians still speak an ancient dialect: in fact there are nearly 270 different dialects, some endangered. Therefore, the old land maps have place names (typonames) that represent how the land was used and by whom. I am in love with Sardegna, for all of these reasons and moreover, the contemporary peoples still have a deep connection to the land and a pastoral way of life. Oh, and I did my dissertation research on a heritage breed of cow, called the Sardo-Modicana.

I am certain that Cultural Heritage Informatics can help communities recognize their cultural capital and in the case of Sardegna, help bridge the gap between disciplines (humanistic/social science/natural sciences). I am part of a feasibility study with faculty in Sardegna to create a Center for Digital Research in the Humanities based upon the assumption that active citizen participation can steer change towards sustainable development. I believe Digital Humanities can be harnessed for strengthening a territories’ cultural capital through interaction, creativity, critical thinking, and innovation. Indeed, by exposing young people to the potential that lies in their digital skill-set embedded in their everyday practices from text-messaging with their cell phone, to social media such as facebook and twitter on their personal computer, to interactive animations or movies on a portable media player, they can teach others, like us born-analog folks.

I am learning to embrace technology, thanks to our fearless leader and all of “you young-folk!” And I love: Interactive Visualization:

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