Wes Hamrick is a Greenhouse Studios Mellon Fellow who will be managing the Cohort B projects that started this year. A dedicated team member, Wes recently answered some questions related to his role at Greenhouse Studios.
What did you do before coming to Greenhouse Studios?
I did my PhD in English at Notre Dame University, specializing in 18th Century Irish Studies. After the PhD I held post-doctoral fellowships at Notre Dame University and the National University Ireland Galway.
What is your role at Greenhouse Studios?
I am a Mellon Fellow so my main job is to work as project manager on three ongoing projects. In addition, I teach one class a semester; this semester I am teaching Irish language.
How has the collaborative dynamic of Greenhouse Studios affected your work?
Being in Greenhouse Studios and around other people in an open office setting has made me think more about collaboration, its benefits, and how it doesn’t usually take place in traditional research in the humanities. For the most part, people in the humanities are usually working by themselves. At most, they might work together on co-authoring an article or editing a collective volume of essays. As far as actually being in the same space and talking to each other and having people’s different ideas bounce off of each other in real time in the same space, that doesn’t happen often enough. The collaborative dynamic at Greenhouse Studios has shown me how to implement collaboration in my conventional research.
How has Greenhouse Studios fueled your creative processes?
The space and being around people with different skill sets in the same space has made me think more creatively. I learn something new from my colleagues whether its using software, some element of design or collaboration tools.
What has been the biggest challenge so far? How have you overcome it?
One of the biggest challenges is scheduling team meetings of different people across disciplines and academic units. Some people work on a 12-month contract while others are on a 9-month contract; people have different unions and different holidays; others need to be in their offices all the time while others are more flexible. To help with scheduling and communicating, we’ve implemented digital tools such as Slack.
What do you enjoy most about working at Greenhouse Studios?
I enjoy working with other people, especially as I come from a traditional humanities Phd research background where I worked mostly by myself when reading books, working in archives and writing—all of which is very lonely.
What are some of your goals within Greenhouse Studios?
I would like to see each of the projects I am working on have a viable end product. Another goal I have, which is also a goal of Greenhouse Studios, is to explain to others in the university the benefits of cross-unit, cross-disciplinary collaboration.
How do you see Greenhouse Studios’ research being implemented in the future?
A lot of universities have design studios or digital humanities spaces or labs that exist on their own for scholars to come in for help to develop digital projects. This happens at a late stage. At Greenhouse Studios we involve diverse team members from the start, which shapes the way projects move forward. This is an aspect that can be successful in future.
Describe Greenhouse Studios in three words.
Vibrant, Active and Innovative.