[Humanist] 27.375 Panels at conferences? Polish poetry?

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Wed Sep 25 05:44:44 CEST 2013

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 27, No. 375.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

  [1]   From:    Alun Edwards <alun.edwards at it.ox.ac.uk>                    (8)
        Subject: Polish poetry

  [2]   From:    John Simpson <john.simpson at ualberta.ca>                   (10)
        Subject: Where are the panels?

        Date: Tue, 24 Sep 2013 13:03:59 +0000
        From: Alun Edwards <alun.edwards at it.ox.ac.uk>
        Subject: Polish poetry

Dear all,

At the First World War Poetry Digital Archive we are working with a British schools poetry project (whose figurehead is the former poet laureate Andrew Motion).

We are researching online resources from the First World War Poetry Digital Archive, Europeana 1914-1918 and other sources, which can be presented online for school teachers to use. As there is a growing Polish population in British schools, we are trying to discover if there are war poets or poems from the First World War which are recognised as "Polish", using the quote marks because until the end of the war Poland didn't regain its independence. Formerly the territory was part of the Prussian, Russian and Austrian empires. I'm aware of Nikolay Gumilev, but not really any of his works, is he regarded as a Polish writer?

Many thanks for all pointers, Ally

Alun Edwards, Project Manager alun.edwards at it.ox.ac.uk Education Enhancement team, Academic IT Services at 
University of Oxford

// Europeana 1914-1918 www.europeana1914-1918.eu/ | RunCoCo: How to Run a Community Collection Online http://runcoco.oucs.ox.ac.uk/ | The Great War Archive www.thegreatwararchive.com/ 

        Date: Tue, 24 Sep 2013 08:56:25 -0600
        From: John Simpson <john.simpson at ualberta.ca>
        Subject: Where are the panels?

Dear Humanist Subscribers,

After attending just over a year's worth of DH or DH-esque conferences---most of which have been top notch and both a joy and an intellectual boon to attend---I can't help but notice something of an absence in terms of the program line ups.  Where are the panels?

Don't get me wrong, we have things that we call panels (I've been on a few myself) and they are important and relevant and need to continue but these are of a very different character than what it seems (at least to me) that a panel should be.  What do we have instead of panels?  We have two things: super-papers and themed presentation blocks.

The super-paper happens when we bring together presenters, mostly from the same institution, mostly from the same project, and mostly of the same mind.  While this could result in many things, what it seems to result in almost every time is a block of time that allows each of the presenters a longer time to speak (and more space to write) than they would if they had all submitted a single regular track paper.  These are wonderful opportunities to explore large projects with much to contribute to the community but a panel they are not even though this seems to be increasingly what we are calling a panel.

About as often, we call panels what I consider to be themed presentation blocks.  Themed presentation blocks are like super-papers but without the common project underlying the papers presented.  The presenters each get time to speak and show their slides and there is some small time for questioning.  While this can turn into what I would consider a panel what it usually amounts to is an experience that closely resembles any other presentation block except there is clear overlap by the panelists along the common theme.  These blocks are valuable---especially for anyone with a target interest in a general area (semantic web, image analysis, etc.)---but they are not panels.

What does a panel look like?  I think it can take many forms, but at the core they take as principle motivation three things: salient/relevant/timely/contestable topics or themes; discussion about the topic by the panelists; a sustained opportunity for the audience to participate with the panelists in building the discussion.  It is the last two things that what are usually called panels seem to lack.

With these three principles as a guide a template panel might look like a group of subject matter experts with different views/backgrounds/skills/interests on some relevant topic gathered together to discuss that topic with the assistance of a moderator/host.  Each panel member gets a very short time to outline their position/background and then the panel is opened to them to discuss the issue back and forth.  After a time the floor is opened to probing questions from the audience.  While we might hope for a solution, what is more likely (if such a panel is done right) is clarity around the issue at a whole, what the sides and relevant factors are, and an important discussion-based contribution to an ongoing discussion in the broader community.  In some ways, a panel would be a lot like Humanist except with the benefit of real-time face-to-face interaction.  In this light what both the super-papers and the themed presentation blocks lack is the sustained cross-talk amongst the panelists while working through a contestable topic/question.

So, I guess my question to the community is this: is there agreement that effort to (re)introduce panels (or at the very least discussion panels) is warranted and relevant?  If so, how might we go about realizing this at the events we organize given that current conference adjudication and academic review practices put primacy on contributions that are much more paper-like than what I am suggesting here?

With thanks for any contributions to this topic that you take the time to make, 


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