English Department Spotlight: The NewYorkScapes Working Group

By Louisa Brady

This academic year, there are approximately 15 working groups within NYU’s English Department, focused on subjects ranging from medieval literature to Marx to digital media. I reached out to the NewYorkScapes working group this semester to learn more about the group and the work they’re doing.



Founded in 2013, NewYorkScapes is a research community that uses digital concepts, tools, and resources to interpret urban cultures and landscapes. Co-organizer Sara Partridge told us more about the group, their upcoming event this semester, and more.

How long have you been with the group, and in what capacity have you been involved during your time at NYU?

Sara: I first became involved as a first-year PhD student at NYU and became a co-organizer my second year. It’s been a fun way to meet researchers from different departments and learn about new directions in digital scholarship.

How often do you meet and what does a typical meeting look like?

Sara: We meet once or twice per semester to informally discuss one another’s projects, plan upcoming events, or touch base on the development of the website. We recently finished its branding and are looking forward to launching it in fall 2017.

How many members are in the group?

Sara: We have 5-10 members who are closely involved with developing the NewYorkScapes website, which we hope will work as a hub for spatial humanities research. We have a larger network of 20-30 scholars from different departments and areas of the university who participate in meetings and events.

What are you working on this semester specifically?

Sara: Currently, we are putting together an event called “Culture Mapping @ NYU,” which will be held on Friday, April 7 in Jurow Hall. It features a panel on digital mapping and interactive storytelling in the classroom, a keynote with Annette M. Kim, Director of the Spatial Analysis Lab at USC, and short project presentations by faculty and graduate students, ranging from the mapping of Roman coliseums to the cultural development of Broadway. We’ll also have a town hall in which we share ideas about how NewYorkScapes can best serve the NYU community. Please join us!

Is the group putting on any events or lectures soon, or have you done so recently?

Sara: Our most recent major event, “Solidarity and the City,” was in April 2016. We brought together a group of activists and scholars to talk about the use of geospatial mapping and other digital tools in community organizing efforts.

What do you think people in the English department should know about the group?

Sara: NewYorkScapes is a research community at NYU working at the intersection of spatial humanities and urban cultures. It facilitates project-based scholarship that uses digital tools to interpret and visualize cultures, geographies, and urban experience. If you have a project that might be enriched by any of these approaches, please join us for a meeting or event!

A full list of the English Department’s working groups and descriptions can be found here: http://englishchannel.hosting.nyu.edu/working-groups/