Danuta Sierhuis has made history. She is one of the first students to graduate from Carleton with an MA and a specialization in Digital Humanities.

As digital humanities have exploded around the globe over the past couple of years, Carleton launched this new collaborative specialization to help students rethink how the digital world is opening up a variety of new possibilities for the humanities.

Sierhuis has decided to pursue a career in museum education and community outreach so she wanted to explore how social media and digital technologies affect museum visitors, curators and artistic practice.

“I learned about the importance of digitizing museum and archival collections, different social media strategies that museums use to connect with their audiences, how to create 3D models of artifacts to make collections more accessible and also how augmented reality can make learning history more fun, and more” says Sierhuis.

She says the highlight of the program was the practicum. “I was given the opportunity to curate an online exhibition on the W. McAllister Johnson collection of rare books at Archives and Research Collections in the Carleton University Library, which challenged me to create a dynamic website and to display text creatively online,” says the new alumna.

You can see that exhibition by clicking here.

Sierhuis’s research focused on the intersections of digital/internet art, curatorial practice and the challenges of exhibiting such ephemeral artworks in a museum space. She explored how internet art challenges traditional curatorial practice with regards to categorization, preservation, and how these artworks are changing the way the museum works in order to display them. Ultimately, she found that curators need to rethink their practices in order to effectively exhibit digital art and that there appears to be more collaboration between museum departments and curators.

Sierhuis says another highlight of the program for her was that it is so interdisciplinary. “Students in the program come from such varied educational backgrounds and interests that it challenges you to think about your own discipline and Digital Humanities differently. This also promotes the idea of collaboration between disciplines, which is a core element of DH.”

The Digital Humanities specialization is offered by 12 different master’s programs at Carleton.

Sierhuis graduated with an MA in Art History and a Specialization in Digital Humanities during the Spring 2014 Convocation.