In 2017, Associate Professor Lenora Helm Hammonds was selected as a John Hope Franklin Digital Humanities Fellow in the second cohort of the NCCU-Duke University partnership. The fellowship gleaned a body of digital humanities assets and products used in coursework in music curricula and arts education community projects. The digital humanities artifacts included new media, story maps, audio/visual multi-media bibliographies and discography document networks. These projects involved the collaborations of students, instructional technologists, faculty and staff in the College of Arts, Social Sciences and the Humanities, the School of Business and the School of Library and Information Sciences.
The vision of "Great Artists Past and Present: A Digital Library for Humanities Teaching in the Performing and Visual Arts" is to identify, restore and preserve the cultural heritages of BIPOC artists. The goal is to herald their artistic contributions, reverse the omissions of BIPOC artists in the various arts canons, and deposit those legacies into our library via the power of digital humanities. In doing so, "Great Artists Past and Present" provides a curated collection of resources to those interested in recovering, restoring and archiving the cultural contributions of BIPOC artists.
This interpretative research project began as a means of molding a container for digital expression and publication of the legacies of underrepresented BIPOC performing and visual artists. The work was grounded in research-based methodologies of inquiry and epistemologies of evidentiary performances and artifacts. The inaugural artists for the digital library comprised a diverse array of American artists, including a segment of African-American native North Carolinians. The artists profiled are from an array of arts disciplines.
"Great Artists Past and Present" embodies the contents of this digital library in a website prototype developed by students from the NCCU School of Business. The website development is ongoing. Future funding will support ongoing activities of curating, documenting and cataloging the artists’ works. The hope is that the resulting collection will fill a void in humanities materials of an underrepresented cultural swath of artists. These artists — despite reaching regional, national and international renown — remain missing from the documented canons of their respective arts disciplines. Our vision for this digital library is to aid research and pedagogy supporting students, educators, and arts practitioners. The contents of the digital library may also inform programming decisions of cultural arts organizations and cultivate future arts funding.
"Great Artists Past and Present" now serves as a pedagogical tool for course content in NCCU’s Teaching Artist Certificate Program.