Digital Scholarship Incubator Reflections: Celia Cummiskey

This post is part of a series of reflections from 2017 Digital Scholarship Incubator participants.

Celia Cummiskey: I think in many ways there is something to be said for feeling unsure or even scared at the beginning of a project. Working with Professor Nugent and the team on creating our Flann O’Brien podcast and then hopefully translating that into a template available to other professors is something I am extremely excited to be involved with. But I also feel, as I assume (or hope!) many others in the Digital Incubator feel, that I am slightly out of my depth. While I, and the team in general, have visions of our end result, the ‘how’ of getting there can seem murky and unclear. How many episodes? How do we reach our target audience? How do we create something we as listeners would feel compelled to tune in to?

Perhaps this is what makes the Digital Incubator so vital. It creates an atmosphere that allows questioning and community to co-exist, while giving its participants tools to see their projects succeed in a digital world. As I read through some of the other reflections posted, I felt some of my own fears and aspirations reflected there. Katherine particularly mentioned that she did not see her project as one that would likely be complete by the end of the Incubator. As much as we hope to create a finished podcast this semester, I know much of the work to be done is on going and will continue after the end of the Digital Incubator. Though that of course does not detract from the importance and the impact the Incubator will be sure to play in the process of crafting the podcast.

I think because we are in such beginning stages of our project it is easy to become overwhelmed by feeling as if we need to have everything figured out right away. As I listened to everyone else describe their projects in the first meeting I felt wildly underprepared. We didn’t have a name for our podcast, an agreed on structure, nor had we delegated different roles to the members of our team. But everyone else seemed to have years of work done on their projects already! Letting go of my ego and anxiety about comparing myself and my project to the other members of the Digital Incubator seems like a given, but is something I must remind myself of over and over again. Right now it is important to ask these critical questions of how and why and who and where. All of these things will better serve to strengthen the podcast project- yet at the same time it is okay for there to be unknowns. Ultimately, if these projects didn’t produce these sorts of emotions in the people working on them we wouldn’t do them, because what is the point of doing something if you don’t care?