#WIDH20 reunion for #dayofdh2020

The dayofDH is back in 2020. As far as I can tell, tweets to the hashtag stopped around 2017. It’s interesting to me to reflect on why this might be. Is it the decline of Twitter use in recent years? Is it the increasing specialization of digital humanities and less interaction between these sub-fields? Were digital humanities practitioners beginning to feel less isolated, or more apart of local conversations?

The last (re)tweet from dayofdh in 2017.

I suspect the decision to bring back Day of DH in 2020 is linked to the COVID-19 crisis and the rapid–uncomfortable and re-isolating–pivoting of teaching to virtual spaces in the Spring 2020 semester. This pivot has led to countless webinars and hybrid spaces online for DH practitioners to share their work, to learn from each other, to teach others new skills and to discuss new advances in the field–but also to bring crucial knowledge to urgent questions in their home environment, questions where digital humanities have a lot to offer.

Only a few months ago we met in Abu Dhabi for the Winter Institute in Digital Humanities, so for us, the occasion of Day of DH 2020 seemed like the perfect opportunity to reconvene our larger community (we called it a reunion) to reach out to each other, to reflect on our professional lives in this moment and to have a chance to catch up on how we have taken back home what we shared in Abu Dhabi.

We planned an informal, unrecorded, camera-optional, password-protected Zoom meeting. We had four lightning talks from a variety of participants engaged in digital scholarship, some discussion in breakout rooms around topics of community interest and a share-back about the groups’ conversations. Strong takeaways from the session were how aware we have become of infrastructure as a crucial element of our daily lives; how important librarians, technologists and the scholarly conversations around teaching and learning have been in helping institutions manage the disruption of the last months; and how we are leveraging creative means to reconnect with people, find new collaborators and to navigate the exigencies of these challenging times.

Lightning talks:

Sarah LaursenMiddlebury College (USA)The Museum is Open: DIY VR Tours
Wajahat MirzaNYU Abu Dhabi (UAE) Piloting the “Abu Dhabi Calling!” Project
Bushra JawalForman Christian College (Pakistan)Creating an OCR pipeline for Urdu
Lauren KataNYU Abu Dhabi (UAE) Opportunities of the “Remote” for NYUAD oral history collections

Breakout room topics:

Taking digital humanities back to my home institution
Privacy issues in the time of COVID19
Team work and social distance
Challenges/opportunities of the remote classroom
Recent work done in OCR/HTR
Minimal computing
Digital arts and humanities

We will have our get together on 28 April at 1500-1600 (Abu Dhabi time), that is, 700-800 (New York) | 1300-1400 (Berlin/Cairo) | 1900-2000 (Shanghai).

We hope to have another meetup mid-summer 2020.

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