We live surrounded by screens and images, and visual, film, and media studies have been at the forefront of the analysis of this rich multimedia environment. However, the transformation of the Internet and other digital forms in the last decade into visualized mass media offers a further opportunity for our fields to advance by engaging with these formats simultaneously as communication environments and objects of study.
The Alliance for Networking Visual Culture seeks to enrich the intellectual potential of our fields to inform understandings of an expanding array of visual practices as they are reshaped within digital culture, while also creating scholarly contexts for the use of digital media in film, media and visual studies. By working with humanities centers, scholarly societies, and key library, archive, and university press partners, we are investigating and developing sustainable platforms for publishing interactive and rich media scholarship.
Our work explores new forms of scholarly publishing aimed at easing the current economic crisis faced by many university presses while also serving as a model for media-rich digital publication. In essence, we are creating a pipeline to support emerging genres of scholarship that moves from soup to nuts, integrating core intellectual questions in our fields with content acquisition, training for scholars in digital research methodologies, and new paradigms and partnerships for publication, dissemination and warranting of scholarship. In partnership with film and video archives, scholarly societies, and presses, we are modeling twenty-first century possibilities for scholarly communication. New technological platforms like Scalar are a key part of the process but equally important are the human networks we are building: rich collaborations between archives, presses, and groups of scholars who can together provide new platforms for scholarship that are motivated by the key questions that animate humanities scholarship.
Strategic partnerships with several archives (including the Shoah Foundation Institute, Critical Commons, the Hemispheric Institute’s Digital Video Library, and the Internet Archive), libraries, humanities centers, and university presses (including Michigan, MIT, California, OHP, NYU and Duke) provide the testing ground for the investigation of new publishing templates. The Alliance aims to close the gap between carefully created digital visual archives and scholarly publication by enabling scholars to work more organically with archival materials, creating interpretive pathways through the materials and enabling new forms of analysis. In particular, we aim to draw out more general lessons about the relationship of scholarly analysis to emerging digital typologies or genres; about how best to organize the digital archive to facilitate scholarly analysis; and about efficient and meaningful work flows between primary evidence, research and publication. By creating an alliance between scholars, presses, libraries, and archives, we will identify broad types of emerging scholarly communication and model interactive, multimodal publications.