In a few days the Annual AIUCD Congress (19-22 January) will start. I did not took part in the last one or two, but this time I am in. Thanks to Covid, it will be entirely online, and therefore experimental. I think this will add a special flavour to the event. I believe it was not an easy one to organize but also one that might change long lasting habits that, in my view, needed an update. I am very excited for that.
The theme of the Congress is particularly well suited for the moment we live in, focused as it is on the social and political issue at stake involving the digital. This is something we need to address if we want to create meaningful research and teaching, otherwise Digital Humanities will be only some kind of technical navel gazing and/or a new form of shining ivory tower, so to speak, or even worst, a new kind of latinorum for a new kind of elite. And a latinorum that is much more invisible and (apparently at least) friendly than the older one.
Browsing on the program, I found many stimulating paper that I am eager to listen to, mostly the ones in which political and/or rhetorical and epistemological issues are involved. I will keep reading abstracts in the few days before the actual congress begins, and if I find interesting ideas I will probably write something on it. Stay tuned.
Among the workshops that are always part of Digital Humanities meetings, I am particularly interested in
Narrativa e divulgazione scientifica delle DH: l’esperienza dei QUARANTIP, organised by KRINO and aimed at “fostering a critical debate about ways, strategies and approaches to disseminate Digital Humanities”.
as well as
Aldina (Archivi Letterari Digitali Nativi), a roundtable focused on the situation of literary native digital archives, an issue I am particularly interested in.
The most interesting change, in my opinion, is the fact that the papers will not be read in the traditional way but in a double step discussion: first a sort of panel interview in which a chairman will ask questions about the session papers (questions prepared in advance, together with each speaker), followed later on by an open debate in a different session. In addition to that, material can be downloaded before hand from the website, allowing the public a better understanding of the arguments. This will address, and hopefully solve, the issue of Zoom fatigue that emerged clearly during this long year spent in lockdown.
Personally I would recommend this to become an habit also for future conference in presence from now on, but I know that not everyone agrees with me on this.
Let’s see what the future of academic conferences will be.
Whiel you wait, let me add that a few videos of presentation are already available online, in Italian, on youtube, if you are interested.
You can also watch a Survival Video explaining how to participate, in which some of the new approaches thought for the occasion.