When I applied for the CHI Fellowship, I knew that I wanted my project to be a visual online project that maps out conflict and displacement. In future posts, I hope that I can further develop this idea; however, I wanted to first look at how we will be shaping cultural heritage during these uncertain and strange times of the novel COVID-19 pandemic.

A project intended to be applied through group work and digital methods has literally transformed into being applied completely digitally and approached differently than expected. It’s as though digital projects have reached a new level of being digitized where we not only want to create something accessible but need to learn how to approach and produce it remotely.

During this fellowship, I had planned to build a platform based on my previous work in refugee spaces, which will provide me the skills for my pre-dissertation fieldwork. This project was intended to incorporate field images and narratives. I believe that digital methods will allow me to couple academia and visual work in order to provide an accessible way for teaching the nuances of lived migration and displacement.  Of course, the methodological approach might be different for now, and I wonder how this might have impacted my colleagues. It will certainly push us to become more creative and to think more broadly!

Perhaps digital humanities will be productive during a global pandemic where life has shifted to a virtual space. These knowledge-based projects we plan to develop in this virtual space will help expand academics’ abilities to produce knowledge during uncertain and scary times. How can world heritage be experienced practically and thoughtfully without the fieldwork element? As an anthropologist, this is a question I have been grappling with over the past several months.

Personally, I see myself using previous research through digitally mapping geographical layouts of conflict areas and the displacement of refugees. This will include the conflict, borders, as well as the routes refugees have taken to reach safer regions. This will also include images to understand the transit sites and ways of dwelling.  I hope that I can later build on it with future research. I believe that we can apply existing knowledge and find ways to explore what is going on in the world. I plan to discuss more of my project as it grows in future blog posts. However, this post is meant to focus on digital heritage during COVID, and how we can acclimate and support one another. Similarly, I am sure my colleagues can find creative ways to explore their interests in world heritage through this digital age. I am already learning of ways we can produce knowledge- based projects with our groups, which has widened my perspective and approach to research accessibility. 

Stay tuned for more updates on upcoming posts!