The Digital Curation Institute has announced its associate fellows for the 2021/22 academic year. The DCI Fellowship has become a highly competitive Fellowship sought out by researchers around the world, says DCI Director Christoph Becker.
This year’s Fellowship call was met by 75 applications, out of which seven applications were shortlisted. Because of this surge in interest, the DCI introduced a new associate fellowship at the DCI. Here are the inaugural associate fellows and their projects. “I think they will resonate with many of you,” says Becker.
Vanessa Thomas, PhD, will build on the TechOtherwise platform’s Defund Big Tech report to explore through speculative design research how governments and policymakers could take active steps in the directions outlined there.
As MELT, arts-design researchers Loren Britton and Isabel Paehr ask “What would data for trans* and disabled lives be?” in a speculative design project involving a workshop that will take place in February 2022.
Doris Allhutter, PhD, will further explore the relation between epistemic values and situated agency, especially in Requirements Engineering.
The “main” Fellowship meanwhile has faced difficulties over CAUT’s Censure of the University of Toronto. The DCI Fellowship selection committee decided to award the DCI Fellowship to David Wachsmuth, Canada Research Chair in Urban Governance at McGill University, where he is also an Associate Professor at the School of Urban Planning and an Associate Member of the Department of Geography. He directs UPGo, the Urban Politics and Governance research group at McGill, where he leads a team of researchers investigating pressing urban governance problems related to economic development, environmental sustainability, and housing markets. He is the co-lead of the Adapting Urban Environments for the Future theme of the McGill Sustainability Systems Initiative, where he is part of a broad interdisciplinary team developing new ways of conceptualizing, measuring, and improving urban sustainability. Wachsmuth’s groundbreaking work on the impact of digital platforms such as Airbnb on global metropolitan housing markets, and the politics of data and curation it involves, was previously featured in a DCI Lecture in 2019.
Like many other units at UofT, the Digital Curation Institute supports Censure and has refrained from hosting events or activities in violation of Censure. The Censure is currently ‘paused’ but not lifted. Given these circumstances, Wachsmuth said that despite being “thrilled to have been offered” the Fellowship he was “unable to accept” until Censure is lifted. A joint statement from Professors Wachsmuth and Becker can be found on the DCI website.