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DH and the Forest of Methodologies

Between the 22nd and the 25th of April, the Humanities Innovation Lab, sponsored by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, offered a Digital Humanities workshop for beginners. Although it was an enormous amount of work, those four jam-packed days resulted in a series of priceless revelations. 

Remarkably, the number of participants surpassed our expectations, a testament to the strong backing from both our colleagues and students. This was complemented by the exceptional teamwork of our lab members in crafting a program that was inclusive, thought-provoking, and practically useful. Lastly, it was a privilege to witness the transformation of my students into colleagues, each with their unique teaching styles and approaches to DH. 

During my introduction, I talked about what I (and many others) consider the fundamental values of DH:

  • Openness

  • Collaboration

  • Collegiality and Connectedness

  • Diversity

  • Experimentation

I did not think of those as we developed the workshop, but now, in hindsight, I can see how each of them existed in our framework from the beginning. It is possible, of course, that since Dan and I have been practicing DHers for many years, all of our work permeates those values. Or perhaps, our students are just the kind of people who tend towards collaboration and collegiality because of their upbringing or their personalities. 

In the end, our inquiries into methodologies, new technologies, and resources represented a robust topography of current DH approaches which were presented to the workshop participants. In a mere four days, I saw people overcoming their fear of technology as they gained confidence guided by my colleague. Those colleagues who had been just students but grew in front of my eyes into skilled instructors imparting specialized knowledge with confidence and skill.

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