DH-IGNITE: a roadshow to build our digital humanities community

SADiLaR’s ESCALATOR programme is pleased to announce the DH-IGNITE regional events, which will take place across South Africa and reach out to all 26 public universities to learn more about and grow our digital humanities community.

Digital humanities (DH) is what happens at the intersection of computing or digital technologies and the disciplines of the humanities. As we become increasingly reliant on digital technologies for nearly all aspects of life, it is vital that humanities researchers have the necessary skills and tools to critique and contribute to these technologies so they work to the benefit of society, but also to use the technologies to enhance their own research and offer greater understanding of the world we live in. But at present, traditional humanities training does not include computational skills. SADiLaR’s ESCALATOR programme is working to remedy that through training humanities researchers and building an active community of practice in DH and Computational Social Sciences (CSS) in South Africa.

As part of our initiative to build this community we are pleased to announce the DH-IGNITE regional events which will be accessible to the humanities communities at all 26 South African public universities to raise awareness of the potential of DH and CSS and grow our national community of practice.

“The ESCALATOR programme kicked off at the height of the COVID pandemic,” says Anelda van der Walt, ESCALATOR programme manager. “This meant we were unable to engage closely with the community in the way we planned to. DH-IGNITE is the start of realising these original goals to connect directly with our community.”

Between August 2022 and May 2023 six regional events will be held. During each event students, researchers and librarians, among others, will have a chance to learn more about what resources, training, and infrastructures are available to support digital and computationally-enhanced research in the humanities and social sciences.

These events will also give the ESCALATOR programme organisers an opportunity to learn more about existing activities, opportunities for collaboration, and challenges related to the adoption of computational and digital practices faced by faculty, students and staff at public universities in South Africa.

The events will include presentations and lightning talks, poster sessions and exhibition booths, and plenty of opportunity for interactivity and discussions to connect for future learning and collaboration.

“While the intention of the events is certainly to bring the community face-to-face for interaction and relationship building, COVID-19 has also taught us of the value of hybrid events for inclusivity,” says van der Walt. “All regional events will therefore also be open for virtual attendance for those who cannot attend in person.”

To find out more and register to attend visit the DH-IGNITE website.