A digital humanities project focusing on ancient Syrian material culture has received a 2020 National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant.
The SYRIOS Project: Studying Urban Relationships and Identity Over Ancient Syria, led by Kristina Neumann, PhD, assistant professor of Roman/digital history, and Peggy Lindner, PhD, assistant professor of computer information systems at University of Houston, was awarded a grant in the amount of $98,095 under the agency’s Digital Projects for the Public program, which supports digital projects (websites, mobile applications, games, and virtual environments) that significantly contribute to the public’s engagement with humanities ideas.
The funds will allow Neumann and Lindner to fully develop a prototype of the interactive online exhibit exploring the history of ancient Syria through coin distribution.
“We are absolutely ecstatic to receive this award,” Neumann said. “Our project seeks to communicate how seemingly lost histories of the ancient past can be recovered through everyday objects and modern technology. Considering the continuing destruction of artifacts and sites within Syria, we also hope to educate a wide audience about the importance of preserving not only the objects themselves, but also the place and context in which they were discovered.”
The UH Libraries Digital Research Commons (DRC) has helped facilitate this project since 2018 through its Sponsored Projects program which offers grants for digital research projects at various stages of development. The DRC cultivates interdisciplinary research and builds communities of practice around digital research methodologies.
“This kind of work is only possible through interdisciplinary, cross-campus collaboration and the integration of students into faculty research,” Neumann added. “We were tremendously supported both financially and intellectually by the DRC from the very beginning of this project.”
“We are delighted that Peggy and Kristina’s work has received the recognition that it very much deserves,” said Claude Willan, director of digital humanities services in UH Libraries Digital Research Services. “I’m excited to have the opportunity to be involved in the development of their work. Theirs is the first of our stable of sponsored projects to secure outside funding so as to be able to grow.”
Taylor Davis-Van Atta, director of the DRC, added, “This marks a significant milestone for any digital project, and for UH Libraries in its effort to strengthen support services for interdisciplinary research across campus. This couldn’t have happened without the collaboration and expertise of our Libraries colleagues in Liaison Services, Special Collections, and Library Technology Services. We are thrilled for Peggy and Kristina, and that our digital projects are advancing. This achievement marks the next step for our growing culture of digital research at UH.”
ABOUT THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANITIES
Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at: www.neh.gov.
The SYRIOS Project has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom.
Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this digital exhibit do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.