History of Art and Architecture

Alison Langmead

Clinical Associate Professor and Director, Visual Media Workshop; Associate Professor, School of Information Sciences

Area of Specialization

Digital and Material Culture


Constellation(s): Contemporaneity, Mobility/Exchange, Visual Knowledge

Alison Langmead holds a joint faculty appointment between the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Information Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh. This dual role allows her to combine her enthusiasm for academic work with her equally strong drive to use theoretical research in daily practice.

For the Department of Art History and Architecture, Alison serves as the Director of the Visual Media Workshop (VMW). The mission of the VMW is to develop and encourage the creation of innovative methods for producing, disseminating and preserving the multimedia presentation of academic work. To achieve these objectives, she directs a technologically-focused environment of collaboration and creativity where the University community can gather to create, share and preserve the visual presentation of their academic work.

For the School of Information Sciences, Alison serves as a faculty member within the Archives and Information Sciences track of the Library and Information Sciences program. In her academic research, she works on teasing out the nature of the relationship between the practice of active information management and the archival profession, both as a historical narrative and as a complex, changing process in contemporary America. This research, plus all of the theories, concepts and models that she teaches at SIS, are put into daily practice in her work at the VMW.

Alison is also a principal contact for the DHRX: Digital Humanities Research at Pitt initiative, which represents a transdisciplinary network of scholars here at the University of Pittsburgh who use digital methods to study the ways in which humans interact with their environments, whether social or cultural, natural or human-created.

Digital Projects

Technical Director and Project Manager
Initial design, 2012; alpha prototype, 2013-2014; beta prototype, 2015-present


Decomposing Bodies
Technical Director and Project Manager
Early design, 2014; data collection/initial analysis, 2014-present


Designer, Information Architect, Implementation Lead
Design and implementation, 2013-2014; management and expansion, 2014-present


Education Details

PhD, Columbia University

MLIS, University of California at Los Angeles

Selected Publications

Birnbaum, David and Alison Langmead. “Task-Driven Programming Pedagogy in the Digital Humanities.” In New Directions for Computing Education: Embedding Computing across Disciplines, edited by Samuel B. Fee, Amanda M. Holland-Minkley, and Tom Lombardi. New York: Springer [In press, 2017].

Langmead, Alison, Jessica M. Otis, Christopher N. Warren, Scott B. Weingart, and Lisa D. Zilinksi. “Towards Interoperable Network Ontologies for the Digital Humanities.” International Journal of Humanities and Computing 10, no. 1 (2016): 22-35.

Lyon, Liz, Eleanor Mattern, Amelia Acker, and Alison Langmead. “Applying Translational Principles to Data Science Curriculum Development.” Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Digital Preservation, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 2015. http://phaidra.univie.ac.at/o:429552

Langmead, Alison. “The History of Archival Education in America: What's Next?” In Archival Research and Education: Selected Papers from the 2014 AERI Conference, edited by Richard J. Cox, Alison Langmead, and Nora Mattern, 273-314. Sacramento: Litwin Books, 2015.

Invited Talks

“Libraries, Information Visualization, and Public Access to Knowledge.” Rudi Weiss Memorial Lecture on Data Visualization, Annual Conference New York Library Association, Saratoga Springs, New York, November 2016.

“What is Curiosity and Can It Be Learned?” Invited panel presentation for a Year of the Humanities in the University Series, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, November 2015. Video of event available at http://library.pitt.edu/curiosity.

“Representation Is Not Equivalence: Digital Methods in Art and Architectural History.” Invited paper presented as a Visiting Scholar in the Alabama Digital Humanities Center, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, October 2015.

“Managing Research Data: Challenges and Opportunities.” Invited panel presentation at the University Senate Plenary, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, October 2014.

Academic Presentations

“Sustaining MedArt: Assessing the Persistence and Longevity of a Pioneering Digital Humanities Project.” Paper presented at the 2015 Southeastern College Art Conference, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, October 2015.

“Developing a Collaborative Pedagogy in the Digital Humanities.” Paper presented with Aaron Brenner, Matt Burton, and Aisling Quigley at the 2015 Keystone Digital Humanities Conference, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 2015.

“The Representation Is Not the Thing: Digital Methods in Art and Architectural History.” Paper presented at the 2015 Joint CSDH/SCHN & ACH Digital Humanities Conference, Ottawa, Canada, June 2015.

Selected Awards

“Sustaining MedArt: The Impact of Socio-Technical Factors on Digital Preservation Strategies.” Research and Development Grant (Tier I), Division of Preservation and Access, National Endowment for the Humanities, May 2015-August 2016.

Role: Principal Investigator

“ECSS Award for Decomposing Bodies.” Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) Extended Collaborative Support Service Grant, UIUC National Center for Supercomputing Applications, May 2015-May 2017.

Role: Principal Investigator

“Computational Approaches to Textual Networks.” Special Initiative to Promote Scholarly Activity in the Humanities, Office of Research, University of Pittsburgh ($5,242.50), May-August 2016.
Role: Co-PI with Matthew Lavin, Benjamin Miller, and Annette Vee