I am delighted to report that our AIDS Quilt Digital Storytelling project was one of seven proposals recently awarded a Digital Humanities Implementation Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The NEH grant will support the development of an online browser for the AIDS Memorial Quilt that enables people to submit stories about Quilt panels. The project builds on the current AIDS Quilt Touch mobile website: www.AIDSQuiltTouch.org where visitors can search for a name or leave a memorial in the digital guest book. All the AIDS Quilt Touch digital experiences were created in collaboration with the NAMES Project Foundation in Atlanta GA, the organization the serves as the stewards for the AIDS Quilt, and the University of Iowa’s Digital Studio for Public Humanities and Arts, directed by Jon Winet. Dale MacDonald, Director of Creative Technologies at The School of Media Studies at The New School, is the project co-director.
The grant of $321,872 from the NEH Office of Digital Humanities will support collaboration among a distributed team of expert humanities researchers from The New School, The University of Iowa, and Michigan State University, to work on the commemoration of this important work of cultural heritage. This funding from the NEH will enable us to create an engaging public platform for the creation and archiving of stories about the AIDS Quilt. Our aim is to create an appropriate digital memorial that helps preserve significant cultural memories about AIDS, art, and activism, and personal memories about those who died of HIV/AIDS who are commemorated on the Quilt. The project is called: “AIDS Quilt Touch: Empowering Communities to Share and Preserve Cultural Heritage through Digital Storytelling.” It is part of the newly launched research-design track in Public Interactives sponsored by the School of Media Studies at The New School.