Culture, Commerce, and the Digital Humanities

The Digital Humanities program aims to equip students for the global marketplace by developing skills to communicate using multi-modal digital methods. In this project, students explore the humanities – and learn how to represent cultural nuances of the North Atlantic – through the use of information technology skills, such as big data analysis, data visualization, and cross-platform communication. Students gain workplace competency based on interdisciplinary knowledge from the sciences and humanities and gain real-life applications in marketing, business communication, and humanities-centered entrepreneurialism. As part of the Digital Humanities program, Bischof’s research compares cultural and geological experiences of Maine and Iceland through 19th and 20th century photography. Bischof is analyzing the ways in which these cultures have created and used a sense of regional identity. She is exploring the impact of the modernization of these societies and the cultural traditions that have evolved or remained to develop an understanding of the visual culture of the North Atlantic. Bischof is also working with private and public institutions to digitize large photographic archives that are not easily accessible to the public.


The vision for the future of this work is to produce a transatlantic exhibition with a digital component showcasing the results of the research and also to share best practices for digital photographic preservation and accessibility. In support of this vision, Bischof is pursuing photographic historian connections in Iceland and developing a North Atlantic network in photography and history.


Gulf of Maine Research Institute

Animation Specialist (Jordyn Curley)

Einar Suaversson

Justin Levesque

Penobscot Marine Museum

National Museum of Iceland

Reykjavik Museum of Photography

Maine Historical Society

Maine Humanities Council

Creative Portland

Burgess Advertising (John Spritz)

University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

Maine Center for the Humanities

Vinalhaven Historical Society

Libby Bischof

Department of History

Libby Bischof explores American society through the lens of history––and the lens of a camera. A nineteenth-century American cultural historian, Professor Bischof specializes in the history of photography, particularly in Maine. She is the co-author of the 2015 book Maine Photography: A History, 1840-2015. In 2011, she co-curated the exhibition Maine Moderns: Art in Sequinland 1900-1940 at the Portland Museum of Art with Senior Curator Susan Danly. The show won the Critic’s Choice Award for best Historic Show in the 2011 New England Art Awards. Her other research interests include Maine history, modernism, how friendship informs cultural production, and nineteenth-century New England women writers.

John Muthyala

Department of English

Professor Muthyala studied at Osmania University, Hyderabad, India, and did advanced graduate work at Loyola University Chicago. He has been at the University of Southern Maine for more than a decade. He served as Chair of the English department for four years, and was Principal Investigator of Digital Maine, a collaborative, interdisciplinary two-year project of the Maine Economic Improvement Fund program.

Jan Piribeck

Department of Art

Jan Piribeck is a Professor of Art at the University of Southern Maine. She has an MFA from Northern Illinois University in Painting and Drawing where she also studied Digital Imaging. Her current work addresses the physical and psychological impacts of sea level change. She teaches Drawing and Digital Art & Design in the USM Art Department, and often collaborates with students on projects that merge Art, Science and Technology. She is a Co-Principal Investigator for USM’s Digital Humanities Initiative and has been a Visiting Artist/Professor in schools of Art, Architecture, Design and Engineering in China, France, Germany and Latvia.