DegreePh.D. in Musicology ’21
Project Vox is a digital humanities project that seeks to amplify the voices of early modern female philosophers. I’m a musicologist who studies early 20th-century opera, and my knowledge base differs greatly from the project’s research area. Nevertheless, working on a team means you don’t have to know everything, particularly when team members have diverse skill sets and knowledge. Working with undergraduates, grad students, faculty and librarians from a variety of disciplines allowed me to both mentor and be mentored.
The Project Vox team is comprised of sub-teams with specialized focuses. The Research Team researches and writes content for the site; the Outreach and Assessment Team promotes the site and analyzes how it is being accessed; the Publishing Team publishes new content; and the Administrative Team thinks about the long-term goals of the project and how to achieve them.
My role as project manager was part of the Admin team. I set deliverables and deadlines for the project, documented workflows, thought about the sustainability of the project and kept lines of communication open between team members.
As a Ph.D. candidate who plans to pursue a nonfaculty career path, my time as project manager for Project Vox helped me identify and develop valuable skills that I can highlight as I apply for jobs. Some of the skills I developed include time management, communication, mentorship and flexibility.
Leaving the space to work through difficulties or try new approaches was a crucial element of my work – it wasn’t always easy to keep more than a dozen team members on the same page, even with weekly meetings! However, our team really shined when we worked towards a common goal, particularly when we published our research on Princess Elisabeth in Fall 2018.
The team came together to stage the Princess Elisabeth content in working meetings where we divided the work into discrete tasks while communicating our progress to the group. These working meetings transformed our collaboration into action, and everyone was pleasantly surprised how quickly we were able to complete the publishing cycle. We achieved our goal by working together with each team member concentrating on a specific part of the process. What would have been a daunting task for one person was manageable for our team.
I encourage other Ph.D. students, particularly those in the humanities, to get involved with a Bass Connections project team. In fields where collaboration is rare, project teams provide opportunities to work with others towards a common goal, develop transferable skills and make connections with people outside of your department.