Report from DHSI 2015

I had the pleasure of attending the Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI) this year at my home institution, the University of Victoria in Victoria, BC. It was the largest DHSI ever, with over 700 attendees. Previous institutes were one-week events, but this year’s DHSI was three weeks long, including the middle core week of courses, colloquia, and an unconference, and a week of courses before and after. Also new this year was the opportunity for academic accreditation through UVic’s Graduate Certificate in Digital Humanities program.

If you’re at all interested in digital scholarship and haven’t had the opportunity to go to DHSI, it’s worth considering, since there is surely a course or two relevant to your work. As always, some of this year’s course offerings were designed for scholars new to DH, such as Digitisation Fundamentals and Text Encoding Fundamentals. Others focused on a specific topic, such as Out-Of-The-Box Text Analysis or Understanding Topic Modeling. Other courses focused on the field itself rather than on skills, such as Feminist DH, Professionalizing the Early Career Digital Humanist, and Digital Pedagogy Integration in the Classroom. The tentative offerings for 2016 are listed at dhsi.org and include encores of previous offerings as well as some interesting additions. DHSI 2016 will run for two weeks in June, with a series of three-hour workshops offered on the weekends (including one on dynamic ontologies that I’m co-facilitating!).

Diversity was a key issue at this year’s DHSI and the subject of a lively Twitter discussion. Inclusivity was an important concern, including how to make DHSI, and the field of DH at large, accessible and inviting to scholars new to the field.

Although DHSI has been a valuable experience for the three years I’ve attended, I’ve been puzzled about the scarcity of Romanticists there. I did notice that a number of my classmates studying what I would consider Romanticism identified as eighteenth- or nineteenth-century scholars, but given the historical relationship between Romanticism and digital scholarship, I’m surprised that we don’t have a stronger presence at DHSI. I hope to meet some NASSR Grads there next year!