In 2015-2017, CHCI and centerNet partnered to organize a pre-conference seminar, right before the annual Digital Humanities conference.
The Kule Institute for Advanced Study at the University of Alberta organized this seminar on behalf of CHCI and centerNet. Rachel Hendery (Senior Lecturer in Digital Humanities, Western Sydney University) and Geoffrey Rockwell (Director, Kule Institute for Advanced Study, University of Alberta, Canada) convened the New Scholars Seminar.
In 2017, the New Scholars Seminar took place on August 8th, in Montreal, where DH2017 took place. CHCI and centerNet had arranged for support for up to 15 scholars to help with the costs of transportation, accommodation, mentoring, and a day-long unconference.
What is the New Scholars Seminar?
In 2017, the NSS was an unconference event on Sunday 8th August preceding the DH2017 conference. There was also an optional ‘lightning talks’ event on the evening of the 7th, for participants who were able to arrive in time. The NSS was for new scholars to meet and develop research collaborations in the digital humanities. The agenda for the unconference events was set by the participants. Participants in the NSS were matched, where possible, with senior scholars in their area as a ‘mentor’ during the rest of the DH2017 conference. This was a great opportunity for new scholars to meet and discuss their work with an international leader in their discipline. For the purposes of this seminar a "new scholar" was defined as someone who was either a graduate student or someone who has received their PhD within the last 5 years (or longer if a case is made for career interruption). Postdoctoral fellows and people in alternative academic positions were welcome to apply. Participation will be by reviewed application and accommodation/travel support will be limited to 15 people, who must be affiliated with a CHCI or centerNet member organization. In addition up to 5 local participants will be selected in collaboration with the conference organizers.
New Scholars Seminar Program
The program for the seminar was be developed by the selected participants and coordinated by the Kule Institute for Advanced Study. The idea was to empower new scholars to develop their own research directions and collaborations. There was therefore two phases:
- Before the on site portion of the Seminar, participants shared their Statements online and negotiated what would happen during the seminar. The clusters of research interests that emerged formed the intellectual backbone of the Seminar. KIAS coordinated an online conversation that encouraged leadership to emerge from within the group so that the actual structure of the on site days was primarily organized by the participants. This was also the time at which participants could peruse the conference program and notify the organizers of their preferences for who they would like to be paired with for the mentorship activity.
- The on site portion of the Seminar took place on the evening of the 7th August (for lightning talks) and from 9-4:30pm on 8 August. The program included discussions led by participants addressing issues identified in online discussion and unconference activities.