[Humanist] 27.347 learning from the DHO

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Tue Sep 17 07:31:23 CEST 2013


                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 27, No. 347.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

  [1]   From:    Martin Wynne <martin.wynne at it.ox.ac.uk>                   (28)
        Subject: Re:  27.341 what can we learn from the DHO's disappearance?

  [2]   From:    Dean Rehberger <deanreh at gmail.com>                       (119)
        Subject: Re:  27.344 learning from the DHO


--[1]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Mon, 16 Sep 2013 12:55:33 +0100
        From: Martin Wynne <martin.wynne at it.ox.ac.uk>
        Subject: Re:  27.341 what can we learn from the DHO's disappearance?
        In-Reply-To: <20130914101121.A5E52306B at digitalhumanities.org>


I'm pleased to report that news of the demise of the digital humanities in
Oxford is premature. I'm sure that Willard is referring to the institutional
changes some years ago which meant that we no longer had anything called a
Humanities Computing Unit in the Oxford University Computing Services
department (itself now also renamed 'IT Services'). The key staff, services
and activities remained, however, and we do now have 'Digital Humanities at
Oxford' (http://digital.humanities.ox.ac.uk/), which is not a centre, but an
overview of a wide range of activities contributed to by the Oxford
e-Research Centre, the Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH), the
Bodleian Library, IT Services and, most importantly, researchers in many
faculties. The aim is to support these researchers so that they can make an
impact and operate more effectively within their respective departments and
disciplines, to facilitate inter-disciplinary research, and to provide a
showcase so that the large amount of digital activity across the University
can be accessed via a single portal.

Like my colleague David Zeitlyn, who has already contributed to the
discussion, I hope to measure the long-term success of the "digital
humanities" at Oxford by the extent of the fading away of DH centres and the
obsolescence of the term.

--
Martin Wynne
IT Services, University of Oxford
Oxford e-Research Centre
The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities
Faculty of Linguistics, Philology and Phonetics
Director of User Involvement, CLARIN ERIC

martin.wynne at it.ox.ac.uk




--[2]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Mon, 16 Sep 2013 17:38:48 -0400
        From: Dean Rehberger <deanreh at gmail.com>
        Subject: Re:  27.344 learning from the DHO
        In-Reply-To: <20130916052015.3143F3092 at digitalhumanities.org>


I don't think this is a particular problem of DH but the fate of many small academic units that are usually start and run through the enthusiasm of one or two faculty members (centres, programs, units, journals).

I have seen many different things close down DH centers.  Faculty members leave or move up the food chain, or return to their departments.  Administrations change and/or change focus.  Initial funding is not renewed.  Corrosive battles erupt.  Things fall apart.

When asked to council new centres, it is best to run lean at first, build a sustainability plan, monitor strengths and build networks.  The first wave of DH centers (at least in the states) tended to have key faculty members (with strong vision and cornerstone projects) but the ones that continue to survive for the long haul seem to have strong networks of faculty and administrative buy-in from across the campus.

Best

Dean
______________________
Dean Rehberger
Michigan State University
http://matrix.msu.edu

rehberge at msu.edu
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