Understanding the 'Capacity' of the Digital Humanities: The Canadian Experience, Generalised

panel / roundtable
  1. 1. Ray Siemens

    University of Victoria

  2. 2. Michael Eberle-Sinatra

    Université de Montréal

  3. 3. Lynne Siemens

    University of Victoria

  4. 4. Stéfan Sinclair

    McMaster University

  5. 5. Susan Brown

    University of Guelph

  6. 6. Meagan Timney

    University of Victoria

  7. 7. Geoffrey Rockwell

    University of Alberta

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Michael Eberle-Sinatra, “Understanding
Academic Capacity: A Charge from our
Funding Agency”
Lynne Siemens, “Developing Academic
Capacity in Digital Humanities: Thoughts
from the Canadian Community and Beyond”
Ray Siemens, “DH Training Capacity:
Established Curriculum, Institutes, Camps,
and Beyond”
Stéfan Sinclair, “Building from the Ground
up: Training Digital Humanities Scholars as
Susan Brown, “Hidden Capacity (in DH-
impacted disciplines)”
Meagan Timney, “Transitions: Emerging in
the Field”
Geoffrey Rockwell, “Cyberinfrastructure for
Research in the Humanities: Expectations
and Capacity”
Panel Description: In a recent report from
Council of Canadian Academies,
The State of
Science & Technology in Canada
(2006, p.
) humanities computing
was identified as an “emerging field” with
“significant strength,” alongside several other
science-oriented “transdisciplinary fields ...
for which future prospects are seen to be
more significant than currently established
strength.” Concomitant discussions with our
chief research funding agency, the Social Science
and Humanities Research Council of Canada
(SSHRC), yielded a need to understand, better,
the ‘capacity’ of this community in Canada and
beyond, in part to gauge the potential future
impact of our interdiscipline which, itself, has
been generously supported for a decade with
dedicated programs such as SSHRC’s Image,
Text, Sound Technology program and research
infrastructural programs such as the Canadian
Foundation for Innovation (CFI). Manifest in
a report commissioned by SSHRC, our panel
discusses the results of and reactions to the
activity of attempting to understand our field’s
capacity, both within the national context
that spawned the study and the borderless
environment occupied by the field.
The panel consists of several very short
presentations, followed by discussion.
’s presentation will discuss
specific aspects of the report itself, among
them the field’s history of interrelationship with
supporting programs, societies, and initiatives;
how the field presents itself to, and intersects
with, the larger humanities community; the
field’s notable successes, notable contributions,
and chief projects; and what is anticipated
to be needed next to enable excellent and
timely research across the humanities, from
the perspective of the field – all through the
lens of the fields enabling possibilities via
methods, tools and cyberinfrastructure.
will juxtapose the growing acceptance
of digital humanities research and teaching
methods, technologies and resources with a
series of challenges that still face scholars,

especially new scholars, in developing their
work in the field, via the results of a recent
survey of digitally-impacted faculty, staff and
students in the Humanities and Social Sciences
(which yield a focus on funding, infrastructure
and leadership).
Ray Siemens
discusses the
crucial role of training, broadly construed,
a point which will be picked up on and
carried much further by
Stéfan Sinclair
, who
acknowledges that the training of humanists
with advanced programming skills is essential
to the digital humanities’ recognition of tool
conception and development as first class
scholarly activities, to the process of building
as a way of exploring and understanding,
touching also on important issues of peer-review
and professional recognition for innovative
work in tool-building.
Meagan Timney
a postdoctoral fellow in digital humanities,
discusses several issues specifically confronting
emerging scholars in the field of digital
humanities and
Susan Brown
will posit, from
the position of someone at a university that
has no formal digital humanities programs or
even dedicated courses in the calendar, that
there is considerable untapped capacity for
digital humanities training in the Canadian, and
other, higher education systems – highlighting
the fact that there are many people with
significant training or research experience in
the digital humanities area teaching across
the humanities where their work has as a
matter of course included the impact of
digital textuality but they would not identify
with our field by its name, the result of
underfunding of the traditional disciplines and
lack of institutional resources to create new
programs or organise existing offerings in new,
pertinent configurations.
Geoffrey Rockwell
will close by asking "what is infrastructure in
the humanities?" – presenting a model for the
research computing infrastructure we should
expect from our universities and suggesting
the capacity at Canadian universities to meet
this need as well as the politics of positioning
computing as infrastructure.

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Conference Info


ADHO - 2010
"Cultural expression, old and new"

Hosted at King's College London

London, England, United Kingdom

July 7, 2010 - July 10, 2010

142 works by 295 authors indexed

XML available from https://github.com/elliewix/DHAnalysis (still needs to be added)

Conference website: http://dh2010.cch.kcl.ac.uk/

Series: ADHO (5)

Organizers: ADHO

  • Keywords: None
  • Language: English
  • Topics: None