UX Design for DH Accelerator Program 2024

Jan 19, 2024

May—December 2024

Call for Expressions of Interest due 27 March 2024

January 2024

The Critical Digital Humanities Initiative (CDHI) is a tri-campus research initiative funded by the University of Toronto’s Institutional Strategic Initiatives (ISI) Program. Building on the Digital Humanities Network (DHN) founded at the University of Toronto in 2016, the CDHI positions the University of Toronto as a global leader in bringing questions of power and inequality to digital humanities research.  

Because a priority of CDHI is to amplify research and knowledge mobilization to support this work, we are pleased to announce continuation of the CDHI UX Design for DH Accelerator program.

What is the Accelerator?

The UX Design for DH Accelerator Program supports faculty researchers in a team-based, collaborative process for co-creating websites, digital exhibitions, databases, and other digital projects. The Accelerator team includes a UX Designer, DH Developer, and CDHI team members with expertise in research design, ethics, and project management, as well as divisional digital scholarship librarians.

This program takes the faculty researcher past the threshold of “consultation” with experts and into team-based collaborative making. The Accelerator team meets with the faculty member and collaborators weekly, moving from project planning and prototyping to testing and implementation. Faculty members will leave the program with documentation and plans for next steps, in addition to a prototype to continue their project development process.

How does the Accelerator Works?

The program spans 8 weeks with 2 additional weeks for development handoff. In the first week, the Accelerator team learns about the project, and then goes into ideation in week 2, by guiding the research team through a goal-setting workshop to set development goals for the collaboration. Using the output of the workshop, in week 3, the structure of the digital project is set, and visual preferences are decided. Weeks 4 through 7 involve multiple rounds of iteration on designs and review. The research team needs to provide at least one of each type of example content based on the decided structure of the digital project. As soon as the designs are finalized, they are handed off to the developer. Throughout the process, sustainability of the project post accelerator is kept in mind.

2024 Accelerator Program Information

In 2024 we will give up to eight research teams, led by a member of CDHI, access to eight weeks of support from a User Experience (UX) Designer/Information Architect. The position is made possible through a collaboration among CDHI and the iSchool Co-op Education Program.

The UX Designer/Information Architect is a Master of Information student in the UX Design Concentration in the iSchool, in summer 2024.

There are four sessions available:

  • Session One: May 6 to June 28, 2024
  • Session Two: July 2 to August 30, 2024
  • Session Three: September 3 to October 25, 2024
  • Session Four: October 28 to December 20, 2024

By collaborating with the UX Designer, the research team will commit to:

  • Submitting requested information about their project prior to the session start date
  • Attending weekly one-hour design sessions
  • Coming to weekly sessions ready to experiment and collaborate
  • Sharing necessary content (images, videos, data files, text) with the design team on a weekly basis
  • Acknowledging the UX Designer and the CDHI Accelerator program
  • Providing feedback on the Accelerator program at the conclusion of the session

How to Apply

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

  • Briefly describe your team’s research project, including how it connects to critical digital humanities (150 words)
  • Describe the proposed web development project to be undertaken in collaboration with the Designer, including a clear indication of whether you are proposing the re-design of an existing digital project (please include current website address) or the development of a new project (250 words)
  • List the research team’s key goals for applying for this six-week program (i.e.: what do you want to achieve through working with the Designer?)
  • 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.)
  • Will this project be institutionally hosted (project.utoronto.ca) or externally hosted (project.ca)? If institutionally hosted, has this already been set up?
  • Identify the PI and list all research team members and their roles in the project
  • Identify a member of the research team who will be the principle contact for the Designer (note: this person should be able to answer general questions about the content, context, and needs of the research project)
  • Identify your preferred session(s)

Expressions of interest must be submitted by 27 March 2024 via email to dhn.admin@utoronto.ca. The results of applications will be communicated by 12 April 2024.

If you have questions about the application process or the Accelerator program, please contact Dr. Danielle Taschereau Mamers, CDHI Managing Director at d.taschereau@utoronto.ca.


Applications will be evaluated on the following criteria:  

  • Clarity of research project  
  • Clearly defined scope and goals for the web development program appropriate for a six-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 Exec Team, including CDHI’s DH Developer and UX Designer. Results will be communicated by 12 April 2024.


Recipients should anticipate submitting a brief report (1page) describing what was accomplished and what outcomes were achieved with the support of the UX Design for DH Accelerator program within four weeks of completing the program.   

Click here to download the complete program description and call for applications.

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