During last week’s meeting, we each gave a short pitch of our ideas for our upcoming CHI project, which will take up the majority of our time next semester (sans one more rapid development challenge in January). For this pitch, we were asked to create a vision document outlining our project idea and walk through our vision document with the other fellows so we could solicit questions and feedback. We each had around ten minutes to present, which gave us enough time to hear everyone’s ideas on the same day.

I really enjoyed hearing what everyone proposed to do for their project – it is really great that CHI brings together people all across different disciplines because I get to interact with research I wouldn’t normally on my day to day. Even the one other anthropologist in CHI this year is a cultural anthropologist so our research and knowledge is quite different. I really appreciate this wild breadth of knowledge, as I know this means that I will learn a lot this year and will likely get really good feedback for my project idea – although I am hoping to produce a project aimed at an audience of those practicing and researching in forensic anthropology, I think it is important that my website will be understandable by all researchers, as it can be problematic when research is too siloed in one discipline. While research may have large ramifications for some individuals or disciplines, that does not mean that it cannot or does not have an impact for others.

Specifically, for my project I am hoping to create a resource that maps out the sampling used in forensic anthropological research. This would build directly from the experience we gained during the mapping memory challenge, although another fellow introduced another website (https://chinesedeathscape.supdigital.org/read/cradle-to-grave), which I really like the layout for and will definitely be looking into!

My project will try and map three different things: 1) skeletal collections (and the general origins of the individuals within them); 2) sample origins for all biological profile articles housed on the American Board of Forensic Anthropology reading list; and, 3) sample origins (in clusters) for types of research (age, sex, ancestry, and stature). Rather than a source to post study results, this website is meant for be exploratory and a place for researchers to get background information before doing their own research or when trying to understand the context for research they are reading. I love mapping data because I am a visual learner so I am hoping this type of design will help users understand sampling origins better than a paragraph of text ever will. Plus, my hope is that this website will be completely interactive so that users are able to see all sorts of data types mapped, from articles to time periods to academic journals.

Of course, I have not gotten official feedback yet, as Dr. Watrall is going to sit down with each of us next week, but I am hopeful that this general structure can go forward – if not, you will all know soon as I update you in my next blog!