The Spark Research Incubator, or the lab as iterative community

By Karis Shearer (AMP Lab director)

It’s Thursday, so it seemed like a good time for a throwback. This post was sparked by a conversation I had with someone recently who wondered if I was familiar with our FCCS Spark Digital Printing Lab. “I am!” I said. “It was actually the first iteration of the AMP Lab and the Humanities Data Lab.” It’s something I hadn’t thought about in awhile: that very first instance of dedicated DH research space in the Faculty of Creative & Critical Studies.

Making space and building research communities are always iterative works-in-progress. Back in 2013, although the Spark Lab space continued to be a printing lab, under the initiative of Dr. Constance Crompton and the support of the Creative Studies Department Head and FCCS Dean, it accommodated a small cluster of DH researchers (Crompton, Hussein Keshani, Karis Shearer) and their student RAs working on early-stage digital humanities projects, and became a proof of concept for a larger CFI-funded DH lab. You can read more about our early days as the Spark Research Incubator here.