Digital Studies faculty and university librarian Dr. Stephanie S. Rosen delivered the keynote address for the 7th annual Network Detroit conference at Wayne State University. This year's conference theme focused on access, and Rosen's keynote explored how the way we define and enact access—in the digital humanities, information science, or the cultural heritage fields—is inherently political.
Per Rosen, access is already unevenly distributed, and our interventions to improve accessibility always prioritize some vectors of need while reinforcing some other requirements to participate. This tension has been theorized and practiced for decades—in disability activism, studies, and justice. The keynote centered that lineage to develop ways of thinking about access as intentional, collaborative, multi-dimensional, and political. Along the way, Rosen offered examples of access manifestos and the raw materials from which others might write their own for engaging in everyday political work.
The goal of Network Detroit is to bring together regional practitioners, academics, coders, humanists, students, and community members who work on digital projects related to human questions and concerns for an annual one-day learning and networking event.
Dr. Rosen is an Associate Librarian and Accessibility Specialist in the University of Michigan Library and helps to promote equitable access to the library’s resources for all users, regardless of ability or background. As a librarian scholar with a deep understanding of disability studies and its intersections with feminist, queer, and critical race studies, she brings valuable insights into library administration and digital scholarship.