The DRAGEN Lab is a state-of-the-art digital humanities lab dedicated to providing a scaffolded research, teaching, and learning environment supported by emerging technologies. The Lab is located on the beautiful University of Waterloo campus, in southwestern Ontario, Canada. It occupies 3,600 ft2 (242 m2) in the newly renovated St. Jerome’s University Library.
The DRAGEN Lab benefits from the generous support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada first, through a $200,000 Partnership Development Grant (2013 – 2018) and, more recently, through a $2,500,000 Partnership Grant (2019 – 2027). That grant places the DRAGEN Lab at the centre of the Environments of Change Project, which its personnel coordinate. Through Environments of Change, a research project aimed at shining light on the historical relationship between premodern people and the natural world in southeastern England, the Lab mobilizes an additional $7,500,000 in matching contributions from a number of institutional and external partners.
The DRAGEN Lab is the creation of Prof. Steven Bednarski, an award-winning teacher and scholar at the University of Waterloo. Prof. Bednarski began sending students to study in Europe and England many years ago and noticed that, when they returned to Canada, they were eager to continue hands-on research. With the support of colleagues in the sciences, he modified his teaching and research style to become collaborative and student-centred. The DRAGEN Lab is the physical articulation of this philosophy. It provides a space for experts (faculty members, postdoctoral fellows, independent researchers), graduate, and undergraduate students to learn and research in teams. In so doing, emerging scholars acquire skills at a faster rate, older students model mentorship, and seasoned researchers benefit from team support.