Preliminary Praxis Charter Ideas

In only its second week, the Praxis Program does not yet have a well established Identity. Creating a project charter will help narrow our focus, and allow us to establish rules of operation. As a group, we are subject to a number of challenges inherent in being the first members of the program, as well as the added hurdle of learning to work in an interdisciplinary group. The umbrella of the “humanities” does a poor job of representing who we are as scholars, and we each bring something different to the Praxis table. As we discussed last week, even “English” does not properly unite the vast range of interests held by five members of our group who work in that department. We should therefore be wary of the view that we all speak the same humanist language even before we add our new “digital” vocabulary. On one hand, as someone not as well versed in textual analysis as other members of the program, I would find it very valuable to read an article each week chosen by one other member of the group that they believe represents a methodology that has been helpful in their field. On the other hand, I do not think that our individual skills should be rounded off in the desire to create a common experience and contribution for everyone. As collaborators, we do not need a formal hierarchy, but we should have individual responsibilities that play to our strengths.

We all had individual goals when we applied to this program, but I don’t believe I am alone in assuming that professional/ CV development lies at the heart of our interest.  That said, one of the strengths of this program is its ability to introduce some of us to the rules, positives and negatives of online publishing. The mystique of traditional publishing can act as a deterrent for graduate students to publish their work, yet it is always in our best professional interest to do so. In the hope of breaking down my own hesitance with regard to publishing I hope to digitally publish at least one well-crafted and edited article relating to my experience in this program. The Praxis blog should serve as our collaborative identity, and there should be a credits page linked to the site, yet we are still hired as individuals, and we cannot simply expect our future employers to be enlightened with regard to collaborative authorship as they look over our CVs.

The final issue that I have not yet come to a conclusion on is the Praxis Program’s level of self-promotion. This program has the ability to be our “boldest” representation online as scholars and there is a fine line between keeping our audience interested in our progress and shouting every minor accomplishment. I am personally rather new to using social media for professional development, and I would greatly value a discussion of how this will work in our program.

Ed was a 2011-12 Scholars' Lab Fellow and Praxis Fellow, and is a PhD candidate in the McIntire Department of Art.

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