NEH Supports Expanding Immigrant Stories
The Immigration History Research Center (IHRC) has been awarded a Digital Humanities Implementation Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to expand their innovative project, Immigrant Stories, on a national scale. This extremely competitive grant provides $324,121 to the IHRC over two years to foster humanities research, technological innovation in the digital humanities, and public dialogue around immigration. Immigrant Stories empowers recent immigrants and refugees with digital storytelling tools to document, preserve, and share their pesonal experiences with the wider American public. These multimedia stories are preserved and made publicly available through the IHRC Archives, the Minnesota Digital Library, and the Digital Public Library of America.
The NEH Digital Humanities Implementation Grant allows the IHRC to partner with national organizations and institutions, including the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation in San Francisco; the Immigrant Welcome Center in Indianapolis, Indiana; the Kino Border Initiative in Nogales, Arizona; the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, Michigan; and Collegiate Academies in New Orleans to expand digital storytelling training, collection and preservation, and public education.
The grant also allows the IHRC to be at the forefront of technological innovation in the digital humanities. The Center's goal is to design, implement, and refine immigrant-centered digital storytelling technologies, notably an online creation and submission system that will create a simple, powerful interface that guides participants through the technical and creative steps required to create their own digital stories. IHRC will then use these new technological tools to expand their digital storytelling public programming, education, and collection efforts in five different US cities; and to promote the use and reuse of Immigrant Stories content for various audiences, including researchers, artists, teachers, students, and community members.
In all these endeavors, Immigrant Stories will serve a crucial role in advancing the NEH’s new initiative, “The Common Good: the Humanities in the Public Square,” to foster “cross-cultural and multicultural understanding that is required in an increasingly interconnected world” and to explore how “the remarkable advances in information technology are affecting individuals and communities in contemporary American life.” (William Adams, National Press Club Newsmaker Luncheon, Jan. 15, 2015)