A Role-Based Model for Successful Collaboration in Digital Art History
Sustained dialogue and collaborative work between art historians and technologists has a great deal to offer both fields of inquiry. In this paper, we propose that effective collaborations in Digital Art History, however, require more than just a humanist and a technologist to succeed. Indeed, we find that there are four different roles that need to be filled: Humanist, Technologist, Data Steward, and Catalyst. Our approach is predicated on a few foundational convictions. First, we believe that art historians and technologists occupy distinct problem spaces. As we will outline, although these realms are distinct they are not of necessity in opposition to one another. Second, we bring to the fore essential questions about the status and function of data that must be addressed by the collaborators: what sort of data are being used? What counts as effective and compelling analysis of this data? Third, we recognize that there are certain structural impediments to collaboration, such as different reward structures and motivations. Finally, we assert that each of the participants must have a deep commitment to their particular engagement with the project, which requires sustained effort and the maintenance of disciplinary respect. We firmly believe that the most effective of these projects will not be based on technological solutionism, but rather will be founded in the most humanistic of tools: empathy and respect.
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