New Scholars’ Seminar (NSS) at University of Western Sydney

The NSS co-sponsored by centerNet, CHCI, and the University of Western Sydney took place June 29-30, 2015 immediately preceding the DH2015 conference at UWS.  At the Australian Digital Humanities Organization (ADHO)-centerNet business meeting a few days later, Kara Kennedy, one of the participants, offered the following summary of her experience.

Photo of New Scholars Tyler Fox, Amber Cushing, and Kara Kennedy (location is the Bavarian Bier Café, in Parramatta near the University of Western Sydney).

Hello. My name is Kara Kennedy and I¹d like to say thank you to those who helped make the New Scholars Symposium happen this year. I am working on my PhD in English at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand, and am new to Digital Humanities (only found out about it a couple months ago), so this was a great opportunity to meet other new scholars from around the world and share our experiences and challenges.

On Monday, we had an ‘unconference’ where we came up with our own topics for discussion. In sessions I attended I attended we talked about: learning DH; teaching DH; ethics around data collection, usage, and privacy/anonymity issues; straddling disciplines at the university; and how to do a lit review of such a diverse field.

On Tuesday, we had several guest speakers (Jeffrey Schnapp, Melissa Terras, Charles van den Heuvel, and Willard McCarty) who shared their expertise and allowed us to pick their brains for advice on: networking and jobs, setting up a DH center, which journals to look at and which ones not to look at, and issues of gender and who gets the credit for work in the history of technology of DH.

There is an eClass site which was set up before we arrived where we introduced ourselves, and where all the New Scholars have been posting. We have been putting up our notes and further questions and projects we might be able to help each other out on in the future.

Some things I learned from this Symposium are: it¹s about embracing an entrepreneurial spirit; laws are far behind when it comes to questions of ethics and who controls our data and uses it (this also varies by country); a digital portfolio could be used as an incentive for Humanities students to take DH classes so they will be more employable; and infrastructure is probably already there--it¹s just over in ‘enemy territory’ (i.e., Computer Science or STEM labs).

But forming relationships with other New Scholars and having access to Melissa Terras in a small group has been a priceless experience for me. She is making things happen in DH, and she¹s a great role model for those of us who are new. Overall, this was a wonderful collaborative environment before the DH conference, and I am very appreciative for the opportunity to have participated. I hope you will continue to support New Scholars with events like this in the future. Thank you.

Pictured are Vejune Zemaityte, Tyler Fox, Kate Holterhoff, Sayan Bhattachariyya, Benjamin Laird, and Grant Wythoff, on the Parramatta-Sydney ferry.


The participants, who were chosen by a committee representing all three sponsors, were as follows:

  • John Battye (University of Alberta-Drama / Kule Institute for Advanced Study):  Intermedial Studies and Digital Technology in Performance
  • Sayan Bhattachariyya (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign-School of Library and Information Science / Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities): Exploring Fundamental Issues Concerning Textuality in the Context of Digital Libraries and Corpora
  • Amber Cushing (University College Dublin-Information and Library Science / UCD Humanities Institute): Development of Digital Cultural Heritage Beginning with Personal Digital Collections
  • James Deavenport (University of California San Diego-Latin American History / UCSD Center for the Humanities): The Chicano Park Project
  • Tyler Fox (Simon Fraser University-School of Interactive Arts and Technology / University of Washington Simpson Center for the Humanities): Transductive Praxis in BioArt: Relational Ontology and Aesthetics of Nonhuman Experience
  • Robert Gallagher (King's College London-Humanities and Cultural Studies / King's College London Arts & Humanities Research Institute): Ego Media Project - The Impact of New Media on Forms and Practices of Self-representation
  • Kate Holterhoff  (Carnegie Mellon University-Literary and Cultural Studies / The Humanities Center at the Carnegie Mellon University): Visual Haggard - The Illustration Archive
  • John Montague (University of Alberta-Humanities Computing / Kule Institute for Advanced Study): Visualization as a Tool for Exploration and New Knowledge Discovery
  • Rebecca Roach (University of Oxford-English Literature / King's College London Arts & Humanities Research Institute): Ego Media Project - The Impact of New Media on Forms and Practices of Self-representation
  • Grant Wythoff (Columbia University-English and Comparative Literature / Heyman Center for the Humanities, Columbia University): Experimental Methods in the Humanities

Australia/New Zealand Participants:

  • Rosalie Atie (University of Western Sydney):  The Poetics, Performatives and Politics of Spoken-word Slam Poetry in Western Sydney
  • Susan Ford (Australian National University-Classics): Text Editions for Education, Museology and Collection Digitisation
  • Kara Kennedy (University of Canterbury, Christchurch-English): Digital Humanities and Science Fiction
  • Benjamin Laird (RMIT University Melbourne-Media and Communication): The Code of Things - An Investigation into Biographical Poetry in Print and Programmable Media
  • Christine Lee (University of Western Sydney):  The Effects of Online Abuse in the Lives of Australian Women
  • Jen Li (University of Western Sydney, Institute for Culture and Society): Reading infrastructures in the Contemporary City: A Study of Three Public Libraries in Sydney
  • Peita Richards (University of Western Sydney, School of Policing - Identity Formation in Right Wing Extremists within the United States of America, focusing on implications for law enforcement
  • Vejune Zemaityte (Deakin University-School of Communication and Creative Arts): Only at the Movies? Mapping the Contemporary Australian Cinema Market

--Contributed by Sylvia K. Miller, Senior Program Manager, CHCI