Digital Heritage Mapping Internship

Digital Heritage Mapping Internship

In summer 2021, the Jewish Studies Program will support students in pursuing internships or intensive language programs in fields or institutions related to Jewish Studies.

Of the internship opportunities offered by Jewish Studies, Career Education specifically co-sponsors the Digital Heritage Mapping (Diarna) internship (see description below). Students apply for this internship through the Centralized Internships Application.

The 2021 Deadline has passed. Please check back again in Spring 2022!

Digital Heritage Mapping Internship

Digital Heritage Mapping (DHM) is a multi-disciplinary 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that melds age-old scholarship with 21st Century technology to assert the importance of physical location to the understanding of history. Launched in 2008, DHM’s flagship initiative, Diarna (“Our Homes” in Judeo-Arabic): the Geo-Museum of North African and Middle Eastern Jewish Life, pioneers the synthesis of digital mapping technology, traditional scholarship, and field research, as well as a trove of multimedia documentation to create virtual entry points to once vibrant, yet now largely vanished, communities.

In 2018, DHM launched Beitenu—The Atlas of Jewish Life to encompass and expand upon Diarna.  To-date, Beitenu has grown beyond the Middle East and North Africa to include Jewish sites, memories, and communities in 66 countries, including Poland, Mexico, Azerbaijan, and Mexico.

Working on Diarna provides unrivaled opportunities to explore the past, gain insights into people and places and the present, as well as uncover hidden history. As one researcher described her experience:

When I applied to work for Diarna —and I confessed this is my cover letter—I hesitated. Not because I didn’t believe in the work of the organization or because I didn’t see the value in this work. Rather, I’m a Muslim-born and raised Saudi national. But in applying to work on an effort to preserve and promote Jewish history, I realized that I’m a person who believes in evidence-based history and documentation and reason, and I don’t like being told half stories. So I decided to go for it, and I haven’t regretted the decision since. As a volunteer coordinator for Diarna, I have worked with many Muslim researchers who’ve also participated in the documenting process and I found they are just as curious as I am.

Diarna was profiled in Smithsonian Magazine (June 2020), featured on the cover of Newsweek (2017), and listed as a resource for scholars in the Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World (2010). Exhibitions of Diarna photographs and/or interactive installations have occurred around the world, including at Paris City Hall, New York City’s Center for Jewish History, and Dubai’s Crossroads of Civilizations Museum. Diarna has been presented at conferences of Wellesley College, Association of Jewish Studies, American Sephardi Federation, Association of Jewish Librarians, and the Kingdom of Morocco’s Rabita Mohammadia des Oulémas and US Department of State for the “First Regional Conference on Cultural Heritage Protection for Religious Communities.”

What you will learn: Diarna interns will be part of an international, interfaith team dedicated to identifying, documenting, and preserving Jewish sites and memories. The work covers a range of areas, to be assigned depending upon skill level and interest, as well as current priorities. Possible assignments may include:

  • Research determining exact locations of Jewish sites in cities and towns across the region
  • Sourcing photographs and video (archival and contemporary) of these sites
  • Writing brief site entries for mapped locations by analyzing and synthesizing fragments of information culled from diverse sources
    • (Note: the above three items may require conducting interviews as well as interfacing with partnered research institutions).
  • Translating research documents or project materials for publication
  •   Helping prepare basic educational materials (e.g., curricular supplements, video presentations, lectures, virtual guided tours)
  • Assist with basic maintenance of the site, carrying out occasional tasks of proofreading, basic editing of materials for/on the site. Testing website links and reporting errors and inconsistencies.  

Past interns have successfully presented at conferences, developed a lesson plan, and helped create exhibitions.

Interns are expected to complete assignments in a timely and efficient manner, work for at least two months during the summer, post findings regularly to shared online documents or the project's research database, meet all assignment-specific deadlines, and contribute in other ways as required.

Who are you? All majors welcome. Knowledge of one or more relevant languages in addition to English would be helpful. Fellows should be comfortable working independently without daily supervision. Ideal candidates are:

  •  Curious and conscientious
  •  Determined to get results
  •  Appreciative of the importance and urgency of the work