/ Mellon Initiatives

Digital Liberal Arts

The Digital Liberal Arts (DLA) encourages students to use digital tools to conduct innovative research and to make their work available to a global audience through cutting-edge web-based platforms.

In the Digital Liberal Arts, students conduct much of their research from books and journals, but they don’t stop there. They also use non-traditional digital research methods to ask new and exciting questions of their sources — and to present that work in interactive, digital formats.

Mellon Scholars learn to be equally as comfortable working with pen and paper as with HTML and Python. They learn to analyze “big data” with the same critical eye as an Emily Dickinson poem. They can create beautiful dance performances and beautiful data visualizations. Through all of their studies, from the most traditional to the most innovative, Mellon Scholars ask what it means to be a scholar and citizen in the digital world. 

If the past three years in the Mellon Program has taught me anything, it is that the dichotomy between the digital world and the humanities is false.

—Andrea Antenan

In 2015, Mellon scholar Taylor Mills, as part of a team of students organizing a national undergraduate conference for collaboration in the Digital Liberal Arts, co-founded UNRH, the Undergraduate Network for Research in the Humanities. Along with Hope College, the network is hosted by Washington and Lee, with student leaders from Grinell, Antioch and Davidson colleges. Each year, UNRH hosts an undergraduate conference featuring undergraduate research using new media tools.

Taylor Mills and UNRHTaylor Mills, front row center-left, with participants and organizers of the first UNRH conference