Angel David Nieves, associate professor and co-director of the Digital Humanities Initiative (DHi) was awarded an NEH Office of Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant of $59,510 for "Dangerous Embodiments: Theories, Methods, and Best Practices for Historical Character Modeling in Humanities 3D Environments."
The award is for the development and testing of a comprehensive typology for avatar creation (graphical representations of a user or the user's character) in historical simulations embodied in digital heritage environments. Alyson Gill (Arkansas State University) and Nieves are the lead Co-PIs on this award. Project Directors from across the country on the award include Drs. Lisa Snyder (UCLA), Ellen Hoobler (Cornell College), Michele Merritt (ASU), and Eric Cave (ASU).
The project abstract notes: “Despite an abundance of 3D virtual environments that have emerged over the past decade, the impact of historical character modeling in the digital humanities has received little scholarly attention. Instead, when characters are used, emphasis often tends to be on the constructed space with less attention to the modeling of the characters themselves and how they impact the viewer. Avatars now have the potential to become increasingly realistic, presenting many conceptually significant choices as we create them. This proposal addresses this need through the development of a comprehensive typology for avatar creation, and deployment of representative avatars in two virtual environments chosen because of their difficult heritage [Lakeport Plantation, Arkansas and Soweto, South Africa].”