Environmental Injustice Global Record project

An interdisciplinary research team led by UC Irvine social scientists is among the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) recently named recipients of 2024 ACLS Digital Justice Grants. The program - made possible by a grant from the Mellon Foundation - is supporting 17 digital humanities programs that advance social and digital equity.

The UCI-led research team includes:

  • James Adams, Anthropology Postdoctoral Researcher, UCI
  • Kim Fortun, Anthropology Professor, UCI
  • Mike Fortun, Anthropology Professor, UCI
  • Tim Schütz, Anthropology Graduate Student, UCI
  • Lindsay Poirier, Statistics & Data Sciences Assistant Professor, Smith College
  • Renato Vasconcellos Gomes, Chief Technology Officer, Revax

Their project, "Building the Environmental Injustice Global Record, Connecting Researchers, Teachers and Environmental Justice Advocates," will strengthen the workflows, technical infrastructure and community of practice building the Environmental Injustice Global Record, an expansive digital archive and collaboration space designed to address environmental injustice in settings around the world. Using open source digital infrastructure, collaborating researchers build digital collections, collaboratively analyze data, and publish in diverse, multimodal forms. The EiJ Global Record links academic researchers (including students), teachers (in K-12, university and community settings), and environmental justice advocates. The work is motivated by commitments to community-engaged research, (decolonized) open science, open source software, and innovative forms of scholarly communication.

The ACLS Digital Justice Grants Program supports digital projects across the humanities and interpretative social sciences that critically engage with the interests and histories of people of color and other historically marginalized communities through the ethical use of digital tools and methods. This year’s competition, which had an 140% increase in applications, introduced the new priority of capacity building, seeking to fund projects that bolster the local ecosystem of digital humanities at their respective academic, community, or cultural heritage institutions. This addition furthers the program’s broader redistributive aim of supporting scholars based at institutions with fewer resources available for this type of work. 

For 2024, ten start-up projects have been awarded ACLS Digital Justice Seed Grants of up to $25,000, and seven established and ongoing projects – including the work led by UCI – have been awarded ACLS Digital Justice Development Grants of up to $100,000. All grantees will have the opportunity to collaborate with the Nonprofit Finance Fund on developing a long-term financial plan for their projects.

This year’s grantees span a range of methodologies and themes, including data sonification efforts that advance environmental activism, digital archives featuring intergenerational oral histories of Black, Brown, and Queer communities, and machine learning practices that undergird equitable transnational collaboration, according to ACLS.  The awarded digital humanities projects engage audiences both inside and outside of academic institutions, and count among their grantees librarians, independent scholars, and cultural heritage institution workers.

“This year’s awarded projects go above and beyond simply centering marginalized communities in their digital outputs,” said Keyanah Nurse, ACLS Program Officer of IDEA Programs. “They offer critical perspectives that name how systems of power and privilege function, creatively mobilizing digital tools to imagine–and actualize–more ethical, intentional, and just ways of producing knowledge, fostering collaborations, and advancing social equity.”

Read more about the winning projects in both the Digital Justice Seed and Digital Justice Development categories.

-information provided by ACLS

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