Deadline Extended: UX Design for DH Accelerator Program – Summer and Fall 2023

Jan 23, 2023

DEADLINE EXTENDED: 24 March 2023, 4:00pm

Call for Expressions of Interest 

The Critical Digital Humanities Initiative (CDHI) is pleased to announce the next phase of the UX Design program launching this summer: The UX Design for DH Accelerator Program

A CDHI priority is to amplify research and knowledge mobilization and dissemination that balances user-centric design thinking with the needs of the DH research team. To support this work, CDHI brings together a UX Design/Information Architect Co-op student from the iSchool MI in UX Design program and the CHDI DH Developer.  

The Accelerator Program will support research teams in ideating and defining their projects, enabling rapid prototyping and iterative design thinking for researchers’ digital projects. The tandem, team-based process ensures that researchers’ projects are not only well designed but can be implemented and made available quickly and smoothly and will be documented for future self-management and maintenance. By bringing together the design and development phases, the Accelerator Program ensures research teams will make substantive progress on their digital research projects during the eight-week session. 

The Accelerator Program will give research teams, led by a core faculty member of CDHI, access to eight to twelve weeks of support from a User Experience (UX) Designer/ Information Architect, the CDHI DH Developer, and a CDHI staff person. The position is made possible through a collaboration among CDHI and the iSchool Co-op Education Program and with the support of University of Toronto Institutional Strategic Initiatives (ISI). The Accelerator Program builds on and expands a pilot project co-developed by CDHI and the Collaborative Digital Research Space (CDRS) at UTM in 2022. 

The UX Designer will play a key role in the iteration and design of the research team’s digital projects – project scope can range from initial ideation and design of a new website, to the redesign of existing scholarly DH websites. The UX Designer can also consult with research teams on information architecture and visual design for digital exhibitions and databases, develop wireframes and prototypes that comply with accessibility standards, and conduct user research and usability testing to ensure designs are intuitive and clear for future users. Special attention will be paid to accessible and inclusive design practices.  

The CDHI DH Developer will work in collaboration with the UX Designer and research team to implement the project in ways that are practical, sustainable, and can be self-managed by the team beyond the Accelerator Program. Additionally, and contributing to CDHI’s ongoing effort to support the sustainability of DH projects, the UX Designer and CDHI DH Developer will also create documentation (written and video) to assist research teams in the ongoing maintenance of their digital projects beyond the eight-week project period.  


The Summer and Fall UX Design for DH Accelerator Program 2023 will pair research teams with the UX Designer and DH Developer for eight-week sessions. The available sessions are: 

  1. 01 May to 23 June 2023 
  1. 04 July to 25 August 2023 
  1. 05 September to 27 October 2023 
  1. 30 October to 22 December 2023 

Note: Depending on the scope of the project, the Accelerator session may be extended up to 12 weeks.

In collaborating with the UX Designer and CDHI DH Developer, the research team will commit to submitting requested information about their project and will meet with the Accelerator team two weeks before the start of their session to kick-off the project. Research teams will also commit to attending weekly meetings for co-design sessions, feedback, testing, and planning for next steps in the project. Research teams should be prepared to meet with the Designer at least one hour per week, as well as respond to follow-up emails in a timely manner, during the eight-week session. 


Research teams led by budgetarily-appointed University fo Toronto Faculty Members or Librarians. In case of a multi-university team or community partnership, the lead applicant must be a U of T faculty member.

How to Apply 

Interested research teams are invited to submit expressions of interest describing their projects and goals. Expressions of interest should be 1-2 pages and addressing these points specifically: 

  • Briefly describe your team’s research project, including how it connects to critical digital humanities and emphasizes questions of power, social justice, and critical theory (150 words) 
  • Describe the intended academic, social and/or public impact of your project and the role of the Accelerator project in facilitating this impact (150 words) 
  • List 3-4 research-based websites or digital projects similar to the project you are envisioning, along with brief descriptions of what you like (or dislike) about the visuals, content, layout, etc. 
  • Describe the proposed aspect of the research project to be undertaken in collaboration with the Accelerator Program team, including a clear indication of whether the proposed project is the re-design of an existing website (please include current website address) or the development of a new website/digital exhibit/database (250 words) 
  • List the research team’s key goals for applying for this program (i.e. what do you want to achieve through working with the Accelerator Program team?) 
  • For existing projects, please briefly describe your team’s approach to project management, such as digital workflows and communication systems used by team members, as well as the platform the website is built on (e.g. wordpress, wix, squarespace, etc.) and hosting service used (e.g. Blue Host, wordpress, Green Geeks, etc.) 
  • For new projects, please describe how far along the project is in terms of iteration and what content is available to incorporate into the designs 
  • Identify the PI and list any research team members and their roles on the project 
  • Identify a member of the research team who will be the principle contact with the UX Designer and CDHI DH Developer (note: this person should be able to answer general questions about the content, context, and needs of the research project) 
  • Indicate which sessions you would prefer (see above). Please list at least two sessions, in order of preference. 

Expressions of interest must be submitted by 10 March 2023, 24 March 2023 via email to The results of applications will be communicated by 06 April 2023. 

If you have questions about the application process, please contact Dr. Danielle Taschereau Mamers, CDHI Managing Director at  


Applications will be evaluated on the following criteria:   

  • Clarity of research project  and potential impact of the project 
  • Clearly defined scope and goals for web development program appropriate for an eight-week timeline 
  • Project’s relationship to research that emphasizes questions of power, social justice, and critical theory in making and analyzing digital technologies   


Applications will be reviewed by the CDHI Managing Director, the CDHI Research Associate, the UX Designer, and the DH Developer, as well as representatives from the CDHI Steering Committee. Results will be communicated by 06 April 2023. 


Recipients should anticipate submitting a brief report (1pg) describing what was accomplished and what outcomes were achieved with the support of the UX Design for DH Accelerator Program at the completion of your session. We will request that CDHI and the UX Design for DH Accelerator Program are included/recognized in publications and projects that result from participation in the program. Suggested wording: “The project team acknowledges the assistance of the UX Design for DH Accelerator Program, a part of the CDHI at the University of Toronto.” 

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