The 6 projects selected for the 2024 Anti-Racist Digital Research Institute were selected from a competitive pool of over 30 applications. This is the second set of projects to go through the program, joining the inaugural cohort from 2022. This program was made possible through a partnership with the U-M Library, the College of Literature, Sciences, and Arts Technology Services, and the National Center for Institutional Diversity’s Anti-Racism Collaborative.

Al-Shatat: A Digital Archive for the Palestinian Diaspora

Description: In light of Palestinian documentary heritage being ruptured by ongoing occupation and displacement, this project will facilitate a series of community ideation workshops with the southeast Michigan Palestinian community. The outcome of these workshops will be to arrive at a shared, cultural understanding of key design principles and a project plan for a community-informed digital archive. This archive seeks to preserve the community’s history while facilitating interaction and the sharing of cultural knowledge between Palestinians worldwide.

Awardee: Tam Rayan, doctoral student in the School of Information.

A Digital Collection as Narrative and Visualization of the Journey of Resettled Refugees

Description: This digital collection project is a narrative and visualization of the journey of resettled refugees, from escaping violence in their home countries to seeking refuge in camps and then finally resettlement in third countries. In a participatory approach, refugees themselves will create maps and collate stories, photos, illustrations, media sources and archival data, with a specific focus on visualizing systems of care. The project presents as means for countering racialized, colonial systems of protracted displacement and resettlement, and for refugees to take hold of their own journey.

Awardee: Dr. Odessa Gonzalez Benson, assistant professor at the School of Social Work and Detroit School of Urban Studies. 

Digital StoryXchange: Connecting Classrooms, Cultures, and Continents in a Displaced World 

Description: This project aims to investigate the effects of “displacement” in two specific universities: the University of Michigan-Dearborn (UMD) in the United States and Cape Peninsula University of Technology in Cape Town (CPUT), South Africa. Through three distinct research threads, the project team will examine how displacement marks the literacy practices and cultural identities of both student and faculty cohorts impacted by movement due to globalization, immigration, conflict, or opportunity. Project goals include creating a digital archive of student narratives in a course they will co-teach with both UMD and CPUT students, assisting the Akamba Tribe in authoring digital stories for a museum project, and building an Open Educational Resource site to support faculty development. A focal point of their research will be to probe how racism and xenophobia can serve to minimize people and lead to cultural and language displacement. 

Awardee: Dr. Kristian D. Stewart, teaching professor at University of Michigan-Dearborn.

Empowering Tenants

Full title: Empowering Tenants: A Digital Scholarship Project Addressing Contemporary Housing Discrimination Through Community-Centric App Development and Anti-Racist Data Science Curriculum Integration

Description: This project intends to use design-based research approaches to develop a civic technology infrastructure to support information exchange among tenants in Washtenaw county, as well as make their concerns legible to activists, advocates and policymakers. In parallel to this approach, the awardees plan to develop curricular material that integrates the contemporary experiences of tenants with computational and data-centric approaches to understanding contemporary housing issues as well as the historical legacy of housing discrimination.

Awardees: Bobby Madamanchi, Data Science Lecturer in the School of Information and local labor activist, and Rachael Zuppke, master's student in the School of Information.

Riverbend Neighborhood Historical Analysis Project

Description: This projects aim to create a Historic Riverbend digital archive displaying the history and stories of the Riverbend Neighborhood in Detroit. The Riverbend Neighborhood has experienced significant population loss over the past several decades and is even considered an urban prairie. The neighborhood transitioned to a majority Black neighborhood in the 1970s after the race riots and white flight. Current residents and members of the Riverbend community want to collect elder stories about the history of Riverbend in order to create a historically-informed and community- centered redevelopment plan. The awardees want to create a digital database that can hold the history of Riverbend and help bring people together.

Awardees: jøn kent, master's student in Urban and Regional Planning, and Brooke Troxmondo, dual master's student in Environmental Justice and Urban and Regional Planning. 

Uncovering History: The Legacies of Black Mechanical Engineers at the University of Michigan

Description: This project aims to create a digital historical library that highlights the accomplishments of Black mechanical engineering students at the University of Michigan. The website will serve as a digital extension of a physical display case and set of posters that will be on walls outside of classrooms and teaching halls in GG Brown where Mechanical Engineering is housed. The website, along with the physical displays, will showcase student photographs and histories, including their life journeys, engineering accomplishments, and experiences navigating anti-Black racism on campus during 1853-1970.

Awardee: Dr. Solomon Adera, assistant professor in Mechanical Engineering.