Africa forum at DH2020

DH has been expanding almost exponentially over the past few years, with the DH2019 conference being the biggest conference to date with more than 1000 participants. Despite this large number, broad representation of a global DH community is still lagging behind, with North-America and Europe still representing more than 80% of the participants despite international growth elsewhere, especially in Africa.  

Africa has in recent years seen the emergence of associations such as DHAN and DHASA and collaborative projects promoting DH scholarship. Infrastructures and research centres have also been established such as the South African Centre for Digital Language Resources and the Centre for Digital Humanities at the University of Lagos. 

Growth in African participation was further supported at DH2019 through the organisation of a pre-conference workshop, Digital Humanities: the perspective of Africa and targeted scholarships for African scholars as well as a well-attended panel session. These brought together an interesting mix of African researchers and researchers working in Africa who are actively involved in DH projects (see the DH2019 special poster session and the various outcomes of the workshop). On the same occasion, a Network for Digital Humanities in Africa was established. 

This forum aims to build on this foundation as well as the work done by GO::DH and aims to further facilitate discussions around the theme of how we can promote global DH intersections, accessibility and participation not just for African DH scholars but any independent scholar. 

The forum will have three main elements:

  1. A pre-conference engagement with the DH community through existing GO::DH and other relevant networks such as the Network for Digital Humanities in Africa.
  2. A forum session at DH2020.
  3. Dissemination of forum results as part of an enhanced publication similar to what was generated by the participants of the DH Africa workshop

The following discussion points will be facilitated through multimodal asynchronous contributions before, during (streaming) and after the conference.  

Participants will be able to contribute by sharing reflections and ideas around:

  • What can be done to increase the participation of scholars of the DH community, and what can be done to ensure continuity of collaborations initiated during major DH events, such as DH2019?
  • What were the main barriers / are there still barriers to overcome to become a part of the DH community? How can these be removed?
  • How can we make DH for Africa and broader more inclusive by engaging with communities on their terms? 
  • Open data and ethics: perennial problem associated with digital data, but what can be done to minimize the negative effects of open data?
  • What more can we do to make the different stakeholders, such as language communities, benefit from the huge amount of digital data that has been produced for African and other languages?


Tunde Ope-Davies (University of Lagos, Nigeria)

Felix Ameka (Leiden University, The Netherlands)

Juan Steyn (SADiLaR, South Africa)

Sara Petrollino (Leiden University, The Netherlands)

Facilitators and collaborators especially from the GO::DH community will be added when applicable as part of pre-conference engagement

Video messages

Audio messages

Twitter campaign

Join us on zoom

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