Hope College students Allyson Hoffman and Erika Schlenker have won the first Student Poster Competition held in conjunction with the Network Detroit Digital Humanities Conference, which took place on Friday, Sept. 26, at Lawrence Tech University in Southfield.
Hoffman, who is a senior from Marshall, and Schlenker, who is a junior from Troy, were honored for their presentation on the online “Digital Holland” initiative launched at Hope this summer. The students both played a leadership role in developing the website and are members of the student-run editorial board that coordinates the project through the college’s Andrew W. Mellon Scholars Program in the Arts and Humanities. They shared information about the project several times during the conference, which seeks to communicate and promote cutting-edge digital work in the humanities, and is intended especially to bring together the libraries, universities and museums of Southeast Michigan.
“Erika and I are thrilled to see the interest in Digital Holland grow and see the website as a flagship project for future works among other schools,” said Hoffman, who directs Digital Holland. “We’re excited to have the opportunity to present our research and honored to receive the award.”
The poster contest, which includes a $250 prize, is open to undergraduate and graduate students. The competition is for work on digital humanities topics such as digital Detroit history and culture, game studies, social media, new media, digital art, digital archiving, text/image analysis, design thinking, communication technologies, e-learning or simulation.
“Digital Holland” features articles, photographs, interactive maps, audio files and even video highlighting multiple dimensions of the history of the Holland area. It is an on-going project designed to grow indefinitely beyond the approximately 150 pieces available when it launched.
The mix so far includes topics ranging from the Holland Armory; to L. Frank Baum (author of the “Wizard of Oz,” who summered at Macatawa); to Fiesta; to Hope College’s oldest building, Van Vleck Hall. Among other specific highlights, maps show the city in the first part of the 20th century, while scans of postcards show early views of Centennial Park and a digitized recording provides a chance to hear Margaret Van Vyven’s song “Tulip Time in Holland.”
Some of the narrative content has been prepared specifically for the site, while some is previously developed material, such as articles written for the quarterly newsletter of the Joint Archives of Holland. In many cases, links direct visitors to additional resources.
The Mellon Scholars Program through which Digital Holland is coordinated was established in 2010 and has been supported through two grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The program involves select students in the arts and humanities in coursework and research in areas of scholarly interest with faculty mentors from a variety of academic disciplines, with a particular emphasis on teaching them how to use new and emerging digital technologies in pursuing and sharing their work. Students join as sophomores, and the members of the new cohort that enrolled this fall are developing articles for the site through their initial work in the program.
“Digital Holland” is available at