Dombrowski to deliver the 2024 Windsor Lecture

Quinn Dombrowski

Quinn Dombrowski, academic technology specialist in the Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages, and in the Library, at Stanford University, will deliver the 2024 Windsor Lecture on Wednesday, May 1, at 5:00 p.m. in Room 126, 501 E. Daniel Street, and online via Zoom. A reception will be held in the East Foyer immediately following the lecture.

In their presentation, "What Happens After the End? Crafting Sustainable Librarianship in an Age of AI," Dombrowski will discuss the need for sustainable librarianship—fostering a culture within libraries "where someone can feel supported in making this work a fulfilling part of their lives for decades." They will draw upon their personal experience with projects and initiatives such as Saving Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Online, the Digital Humanities Role-Playing Game, and the Data-Sitters Club.

"The kinds of projects that make for the kinds of stories we like to celebrate, like Saving Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Online, take a real toll on the people who do them," said Dombrowski. "Not only during the project itself, but afterwards, when the media has all moved on, but the work isn't meaningfully 'over.'"
Hands-on creative play, such as that found in makerspaces, is a way to build relationships that contribute to sustainable librarianship, they said.

"The kind of slow, hands-on making we cultivate in my class [Data Visualization with Textiles] feels like a counterpoint to the AI-fueled push for more! Bigger! Faster! Now with algorithms! But in a way that can be useful to help us ask questions—for ourselves and for our leadership—about what we're doing, for whom, and why. And how we can work to achieve those goals in a way that doesn't burn through people, because people are not disposable," said Dombrowski.

Prior to coming to Stanford University in 2018, Dombrowski's many digital humanities (DH) adventures included supporting the high-performance computing cluster at UC Berkeley, running the DiRT tool directory with support from the Mellon Foundation, writing books on Drupal for Humanists and University of Chicago library graffiti, and working on the program staff of Project Bamboo, a failed DH cyberinfrastructure initiative. Since coming to Stanford, Dombrowski has supported numerous non-English DH projects, taught courses on non-English DH, started a Textile Makerspace, developed a tabletop roleplaying game to teach DH project management, explored trends in multilingual Harry Potter fanfic, and started the Data-Sitters Club, a feminist DH pedagogy and research group focused on Ann M. Martin's series, The Baby-Sitters Club. 

Dombrowski serves as co-vice president of The Association for Computers and the Humanities. They hold bachelor's and master's degrees in Slavic linguistics from the University of Chicago and an MSLIS from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

The Windsor Lecture honors the career of Phineas L. Windsor, who served as director of the University of Illinois Library and iSchool from 1909 to 1940. Gifts from alumni and friends provide generous support for this ongoing lecture series.

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