This post is part of the Meet the ETCL Team series, which introduces the wonderful people who work in the lab.
After meeting some members of the ETCL team at the Leipzig summer school, Randa decided to apply to the English PhD program at UVic. In 2015, she started as a Research Assistant in the lab and began work on her dissertation on prototyping and geospatial humanities. She is working with an interdisciplinary group of researchers in the humanities and computer science to create mapping tools to study literature (TopoText), and is currently developing a map of John Milton’s Paradise Lost.
Randa has had four roles in the lab: Research Assistant, Special Projects Coordinator, Lab Mentor, and her current role of Assistant Director, in which capacity she focuses on open knowledge initiatives such as the Open Knowledge Practicum program, Mitacs partnerships, and publications about open social scholarship. At the moment, Randa is working on running and expanding the Open Knowledge Practicum, a program currently in its third year that invites faculty, staff, students, and community members to carry out their own research projects in the lab.
Randa is also the Managing Editor of the Early Modern Digital Review, a journal that sits at the intersection of digital humanities and Renaissance studies, and is connected to Renaissance and Reformation / Renaissance et Réforme.
A typical day in the lab for Randa involves working with others in the lab and outside of it via email and meetings, and attending lab events—some of which she organizes. The one tool she couldn’t do without is Google’s suite of apps, from Gmail at work to Google Home and Chromecast at home.
Randa’s favourite thing about working in the lab is that there is always so much going on that no two days ever feel the same. She appreciates that the infrastructure and theoretical grounding that the lab has developed over the last 15 years means that new projects can get off the ground quickly and evolve over time, and enables experimentation with different initiatives for advancing open knowledge.
As someone with a strong interest in studying spatiality and maps, Randa loves to explore new places and the novel experiences they offer, especially cuisine and music, and bring those home with her. She is currently on a sci-fi binge and particularly enjoys the different interpretations of humanity the genre offers.