REACH Projects - University of Houston
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Art, Advocacy, and Justice in the Archives

Art, Advocacy, and Justice in the Archives

REACH students in collaboration with the project supervisor will have the opportunity to select and work from a variety of collections, such as the Looking At Art Records, a non-profit organization whose mission was to foster dialogue on the contemporary art scene in Texas; the Marvin Zindler Papers, Houston media personality and consumer advocate, who’s files contain the famed Rat and Roach reports in which he would investigate and report on area businesses and coin the catchphrase “Slime in the Ice Machine”; or the incarcerated women and artists that created a variety of works and drawings from the Women For Justice Records.

REACH students will learn and engage in how to do primary source research, performing the processes of archival arrangement and description, conducting historical research and writing on the selected collection or topic, and curating a physical and/or digital exhibit based on the archival items selected during the project. Work on the project will be performed onsite within Special Collections located in the M.D. Anderson Library.


dance as text

Dancing and Embodying the Chinese Diasporic Experience

The “Dancing and Embodying the Chinese Diasporic Experience: Intertextual Studies of Dance and Literature of the Chinese Diaspora” project examines how dance serves as a powerful symbol of the Chinese diasporic experience in literature, representing the intricate cultural identities of the Chinese diaspora as well as their relationship to cultural heritage and identity. The REACH student will join this project in its beginning stages, learning foundational research skills including combing existing literature, contributing to a literature review, identifying primary and secondary readings, and formulating the key research questions.


harrisburg milby

Harrisburg and Milby: Intertwining Histories

In 2026, Houston’s East End will mark two important milestones: the bicentennial of Harrisburg’s founding and the centennial of Milby High School. Both are integral to our region and have a rich history, but they remain largely absent from the local historical record. Harrisburg predates Houston and may have superseded it if not for a twist of fate. It sits on the Houston Ship Channel, which is the heart of Houston’s economy. Milby opened as a segregated white school during a period of explosive population growth, but the community’s demographics have changed dramatically since that time.

This project will combine historical research with oral histories to tell the stories of the people who live, work, and go to school in the Harrisburg area and at Milby to mark these anniversaries. Thus, REACH student researchers will delve into and write about the community. One method we will use in our research is oral history, which has a long and successful tradition of documenting the human and community experience across time. Students will conduct oral histories with community members and Milby alumni about their experiences and assist in organizing events for that purpose. This work will culminate in an article for publication in the Houston History magazine.


mapping multicultural houston

Mapping Multicultural Houston

This project aims to create a digital storymap that traces the history and development of multicultural Houston. In its early stages, research efforts will be to collect data and portray the changing demographics of myriad multicultural communities in Houston. This year, the project seeks to collect and synthesize dispersed collected archives about local Chinese communities in Houston, identifying resources and developing a prototype which can be used to expand the project in the future. The REACH student will join this project in its beginning stages, learning foundational research skills including combing existing literature, identifying and participating in local archival research, data and records collection and management, and contributing to preliminary digital storymap development.


US Latino Digital Humanities (USLDH) Center

Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage Program

The Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage Program’s US Latino Digital Humanities (USLDH) program serves as a venue for scholarship focused on the US Latino written legacy that has been lost, absent, repressed or underrepresented. The USLDH program provides a physical space for the development, support and training in digital humanities projects using a vast collection of historical newspapers, photographs and digital materials; creates opportunities and facilities for digital publication of Latino-based projects and scholarship; promotes and fosters interdisciplinary scholarly work; provides a communal virtual space to share knowledge and projects related to Latino digital humanities; and establishes a Latino digital humanities hub.

REACH students will work with Latino archival materials in different capacities from handling and arrangement of historical collections to digital projects of the recovered items that include manuscripts, photographs, newspapers, correspondence, etc. The students will receive training in archival procedures, digital humanities tools and theory.


1977 national women's conference

Sharing Stories from 1977

"Sharing Stories from 1977" focuses on documenting, preserving and analyzing the 150,000+ participant stories of 1977 National Women’s Conference in Houston. This multi-year, multi-state, multi-institutional effort, led by the University of Houston, aims to create an open-source digital archive that spurs quantitative and qualitative scholarship as well as public engagement.

Our project highlights the myriad identities and interests of participants at this most diverse gathering of American women in U.S. history. Our primary point of emphasis is to build out digital and brick and mortar archives, capturing demographic data, biographies, oral histories and ephemera. We connect humanities students with technology and design students in interdisciplinary collaboration on historical and technical aspects of the project.

REACH researchers' tasks could include drafting biographies, research and writing of interpretive essays, conducting oral histories, completing demographic research, public relations and social media engagement, archival research and liaison work with special collections and supporting our technical teams with back end web development and data visualizations.




Ancient coins have a tremendous story to tell about the past. This is especially the case for Syria, whose diverse citizens celebrated their communities with bilingual inscriptions and dynamic images – even after being conquered by Greek and Roman empires. Come join SYRIOS, a digital humanities project that tells these stories to a public audience through a virtual exhibit. Interactive narratives, 3D coin scans, and animations make these artifacts come alive and speak for the people who made and used them.

As a research assistant, you will help test the effectiveness of the project with its different audiences through user experience (UX) research. Additionally, you will assist in ongoing research on the topic of "data humanism" (the study of data not simply as numbers, but what it actually signifies: knowledge, behaviors, people). You will also gain technical skills and participate in a collaborative team process.


triumph and tragedy

Triumph and Tragedy in the Bayou City’s Civil Rights Era

On November 23, 1968, 20-year-old Lynn Eusan was crowned the University of Houston’s first African American homecoming queen. An important civil rights activist, both as a UH student and after her graduation, Eusan’s inspirational life and her murder in September 1971, for which no one was ever convicted, offers a rich, multi-faceted lens through which to explore Houston in the 1960s and 1970s: the fraught and sometimes violent transition from a deeply segregated to racially diverse city, its police department and judicial system, student activism at UH and TSU, and issues of gender, race, and systemic racism that we still grapple with today.

This project is comprised of research drawn from the UH MD Anderson Library’s special collections and oral histories focused on civil rights, including its collection on A.A.B.L. (Afro-Americans for Black Liberation), and the African American Library at the Gregory School, which houses local Black newspapers from the period including those that reported on the murder trial. Additionally, the project is comprised of attempts to obtain extant city, police, and judicial records on Eusan’s murder and the subsequent trial in order to call on officials to reopen the case to bring about justice for Lynn and closure for the Eusan family. Lastly, the project culminates in telling the stories that our investigative research has uncovered and pieced together, either through an article written for publication or a recorded podcast series.


the year 1771

The Year 1771

What could seem more concrete, yet difficult to pin down, than the notion of a “year”? This project aims to convey some of the surprises of thinking through 1771, a single year in the literature and culture of the eighteenth-century British empire, as it was experienced by writers in three distinct locations: London, Edinburgh, and Philadelphia. And yet this single year, when viewed from the perspective of three major cities of the British Atlantic world, contains multitudes as well as an encyclopedic assortment of writing. The writings of this year, now increasingly digitized, are now available for inquiry and analysis in ways unimaginable to scholars even a few decades ago. These approaches should help us learn how to tell new stories about the authors and printers of this year, the genres they produced, and their responses to the year’s events.

The 1771 team is seeking student research assistants for its ongoing digital humanities project, which has already resulted in one collaboratively authored, peer-reviewed scholarly article and a forthcoming website to accompany its findings. The position will entail data entry and cleaning, along with some scholarly and editorial work associated with the project dataset and accompanying website. Though previous experience in digital research is not necessary, desirable candidates will be quick studies, good problem solvers, detail-oriented, and comfortable with technology.