DHN – Digital Humanities in the Nordic Countries – was supposed to have its 4th International Conference and Annual Members’ Meeting in beautiful Riga/Latvia in March 2020. Then COVID-19 happened and the conference was postponed to late October 2020 – and with it the Members’ Meeting and the announcement of the results of the Board election and the election of the officers of the Board.

Nevertheless, work for the Board did not stop – with very short notice, serious and long-sighted decisions had to be made in times of great uncertainty, stress, and worry. So, it was without the appropriate festive framing and severity that we said farewell to our retiring Vice-Chair and long-standing Board member Bente Mægaard who had substantially shaped DHN and chaired the DHN2019 conference in Copenhagen/Denmark last year. And it was under equally modest circumstances that we welcomed our new Board member, Costanza Navarretta, and to welcome our re-elected Board members Olga Holownia and Ditte Laursen for three more years. Due to Bente’s retirement, the office of Vice-Chair had become vacant and the election of officers by the Board members was to be held during a virtual meeting, too.

I have been on the Board of DHN since its foundation on April 23, 2015, in Oslo/Norway. I had been one of the small group of people who had been working on getting the first Nordic DH conference going and who came to the assumption that it would be good to have an association officially backing a conference of that scale and to serve as a meeting place for all the disparate Nordic digital humanities scholars and ‘alt-acs’.

During the 5 years of serving DHN, I have been serving as deputy treasurer, then as treasurer and helped consolidating DHN financially and in this capacity also helped organising the membership management. I have been the EADH AO Forum liason and served in this role for more than two years. I’ve been handling a plethora of tasks as a Board member of a young association, and boy has it been a ride!

Since Monday, May 4, 2020, I have been elected as Vice-Chair of DHN! It was not an easy decision for me. I had stepped in as a deputy treasurer in 2017 and when I was officially elected as Treasurer in 2018, I set out to sort out DHN’s financial obligations, the membership management, the intricacies of DHN’s membership affiliation with EADH and the day-to-day business of a medium-sized, international association that has to handle a budget. My aim was to tidy up the workflows of the treasurer business and the membership management, to document tasks, and establish good routines. Even though I think I succeeded, it still feels like there is a lot to do. It’s no easy task if you are an association dealing with international membership and lots of cross-border payments (exchange rate fluctuations…) and the challenges that come with DHN being officially registered in Sweden but the treasurer is a German citizen living permanently in Norway.

So, when I was asked if I would consider becoming Vice-Chair of DHN, I felt that while I was acknowledged for my many contributions to DHN throughout the years and offered more responsibilities but also more visibility, that I was abandoning the treasurer office without having achieved everything I set out to do. Objectively, that is not the case. However, human nature is such that the person who has been working on a task long enough often only sees all the tiny threads they were not able to gather instead of the sturdy rope they have been twisting. I’m happy to be handing over the treasurer task to fellow DHN Board member Veronika Laippala whom I trust completely in that she will be doing an awesome job handling DHN’s account and membership obligations.

With this being said: I am proud to be now the Vice-Chair of the association that I helped bringing into life. I will be continuing the former Vice-Chair’s work on the DHN constitution and together with the other Board members shape DHN’s strategy and its short and long-term objectives. DHN-members should not expect anything less from me than passion, dedication, and excellence in fulfilling the office of Vice-Chair. It is my pleasure!

The attentive reader of this website will have noticed that I haven’t been publishing a blogpost since March – ouch! I have been busy doing other stuff, mainly finishing and handing in my doctoral thesis in analytic philosophy of edition philology, delivering an extensive descriptive bibliography of early modern prints of a famous book on etiquette, reviewing a 1000+ pages edition of the writings of Charlotte Schiller and reviewing the online resources in the Austrian Baroque Corpus. I have also been taking a postgraduate training in university pedagogy and did some teaching with the Software Carpentry initiative at University of Oslo.

I’ve had the pleasure to be invited to a workgroup on Digital Humanities teaching in the Nordic Countries in which I will continue my survey on DH at Norwegian higher education institutions. I went to the Nordic eInfrastructure Collaboration conference in Umeå, a presentation on virtual and mixed reality for industry in Oslo, the bi-annual conference of the Nordic Network for Edition Philology in Espoo, Finland and a small-scale Digital Humanities conference in Tromsø, Northern Norway (incl. northern lights) and will give a guest lecture at the University of Stuttgart in December. I’ve worked as a board member of DHN and as a representative of DHN at the EADH associated organisations forum with conceptualising and starting a journal metadata aggregator for non-english content digital humanities journals; in this capacity I have initiated the preparation and edition of the entire run of the first Norwegian ‘DH’ journal, Humanistisk informatikk (1973–1991).

For the next year plans have already been made: I will teach a master seminar at the University of Oslo on Digital Humanities within the European languages program and guest lecture in the master seminar Europe as a Knowledge Community. I will co-teach a full-day workshop in programming with Python and version control with Git at the DHN2018 conference in Helsinki. Apart from my teaching here in Norway I will give a talk in Frankfurt/Main at the bi-annual conference of the German Association for Edition Philology and introduce the newly established commission for DH and edition philology at the AG’s members meeting. I will also take part in the DHd2018 conference in Cologne and the IGEL (society for the scientific study of literature) conference in Stavanger in summer 2018. I’ve submitted abstract to two more conferences and – acceptance granted – present my research in Copenhagen and Prague, too.

I have four articles in the pipeline that are to be submitted in 2018 as well as the continuous work on my digital edition (including a collaboration with the Norwegian National Library’s digital scholarly edition series). I’m also working on an application for a research grant.

However, I have dialed back on my presence in social media (esp. Twitter) and deleted my Academia.edu account. I’m still maintaining my ResearchGate profile and sporadically post something to my Google+ account. I mainly disseminate my work via my website and the Greflinger weblog as well as the website for the master seminar.

24. March 2017 · Comments Off on Digital Humanities Higher Education in Norway – A Preliminary Survey · Categories: Digital Humanities · Tags: , ,

Last week, DHN had its 2nd conference in beautiful Gothenburg. With nearly 200 participants and 60 presentations, over a dozen posters and three keynotes it was as well received as the Oslo conference in 2016 and supports the initial idea, that the Nordic countries could and should join their efforts in making Digital Humanities (in the broadest sense) more visible, more integrated, and sustainable.

Before the the conference, DHN had invited to participate in a variety of pre-conference workshops and I decided to join the one on Higher Education Programs in Digital Humanities: Challenges and Perspectives, organized by Koraljka Golub from Linnæus University in Växjö, Sweden. – Shortly after enrolling, I was asked if I could report on the situation in Norway which I agreed to do: after all, I thought, there isn’t much to report on anyways but it will give me the chance to do some research on what is happening DH-education-wise in my country of residence!

My initial suspicion was quite true, though: At the present moment, there is no DH-study program in higher education in Norway. (A DH-study program would be called “Digital Humanities” or “Digital Humaniora” but also “Humanities Computing” / “Humanistisk Informatikk”, either on B.A./B.Sc. or M.A./M.Sc. level.) However, finding that there isn’t anything called ‘DH’ does not mean, that there is no such thing like ‘DH’. I expanded my search and attempted also a more systematic approach:

  1. Which disciplines are commonly meant when talking about ‘Humanities’ and what does ‘Digital’ (or the older term ‘Computing’) refer to in this context?
  2. What are the institutions of higher education in Norway?
  3. Where in Norway are institutions located that provide a DH or DH-like or DH-near education?

I created a spreadsheet with all the institutions of Higher Ed in Norway and the study programs (1-year-studies, B.A./B.Sc., M.A./M.Sc.) that would fit – in the broadest and most inclusive way – under the DH-umbrella. This list can be seen here (and comments are welcome!), however, it is not finished yet. In order to get something presentable and discussable, I was rather lax in my categories: I included almost anything related to computer science, data science, data engineering, ICT-teaching; media (and film) studies; interface design and digital design; digital culture; but also statistics, e-Health, e-Administration etc.

This resulted in a large number of study programs on all levels at almost all the institutions of higher education. I think this is actually an advantage: It is easier to delete something from a list after re-evaluation of the search criteria than adding something new. The presentation of my preliminary results can be accessed (and commented on) here.

Although there is very little that would intuitively be considered DH-studies, Norway has a strong focus on the digital / data driven / computational and ICT studies. Especially in its application for society, research, the medicine and health sector, governance and administration (incl. law), and teaching. Within the humanities, the focus seems to be more on the ‘digital’ as an object of study, not so much as a set of methods and approaches to deal with cultural, social, and artistic objects. Almost exclusively within media and cultural studies, digital humanities aspects can be found; especially at the University of Bergen and Norway’s Inland University (formerly University College in Hedmark).

I also discussed what this means for DH in the Nordic countries and DH in Norway specifically: DH in Norway are both young and old, the state endorses higher education (including the humanities) quite substantially, and has a strategic plan for ‘Digital’ Norway as one, if not THE, sustainable industry and (public) service of the future. Which all in all looks pretty promising for DH in higher ed. If this necessarily means that we have to establish DH-study programs (in the narrow sense), I am not sure about. Or if it means that the ‘digital turn’ in ANY field of study, including the humanities, is inevitable. And I believe this is a good thing.

I plan to expand my preliminary study a bit, especially in making a thought-through, transparent selection of criteria as to what counts as DH-proper and DH in a wider sense (in Norway at least) and what I consider to be a study program (perhaps excluding the 1-year-studies altogether) and an institution of higher education. I will also conduct comprehensive interviews with Norwegian academics who research and teach in DH-related programs and future plans and do a more in depth analysis of the strategic plans of the Ministry of Education and Research, The Research Counsil of Norway and other science and education policy institutions in Norway regarding the ‘digital’. So: stay tuned!

18. March 2016 · Comments Off on Digital Humanities in the Nordic Countries – 1st Conference, Oslo, March 15-17, 2016 · Categories: Conference Report, Digital Humanities · Tags: , ,

DHN2016_bag

I am exhausted but ever so happy that the first conference of the Digital Humanities in the Nordic Countries Association (DHN), held at the University of Oslo and the Norwegian National Library from March 15 to 17, 2016, was such a great experience and success at various levels! Let me say – again – a big THANK YOU to all the busy organisers and assistants, to my colleagues in the program committee and fellow board members of the DHN, to the keynote speakers and panelists, and not least to all of the 232 (!!!) participants that made this event into a truly memorable ‘kick-off’ of our Nordic collaboration and cooperation in the “meeting place” that Digital Humanities can and shall be.

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