2016 Lancashire Promise Award: Jenna Townend

Jenna Townend and Ian Lancashire. Image courtesy of Jason Boyd.
Jenna Townend and Ian Lancashire. Image courtesy of Jason Boyd.

It is with great pleasure that the CSDH/SCHN executive introduces Jenna Townend, PhD student in the Department of English and Drama at Loughborough University and winner of the 2016 Lancashire Promise Award. Her paper “The Network of George Herbert’s Imitators: A Quantitative Approach” traced the ways that phrases from George Herbert’s devotional poetry were taken up by his contemporaries. The judges were unanimous in their praise of her delivery, her comfort with her material, and her ability to engage with audience questions. Jenna did an excellent job situating her experience, methodology, and outcomes in the context of both DH and seventeenth-century studies. The judges were particularly impressed by her ability to follow through on her ambitious plan of research.

The judges also noted how close the rankings were and commend this year’s excellent graduate scholars — thank you all for such a great week together.

New Members to the CSDH/SCHN Executive

We are pleased to announce the results of our election of three new members to the executive and the selection of two new ex officio members.

Congratulations to Constance Crompton, who was elected Vice President English, Kim Martin, who was elected Member at Large, and Catherine Nygren, who was elected Graduate Student Representative.

Congratulations also to the new appointees to our advertised volunteer positions, who will serve ex officio on the executive: Milena Radzikowska, who has been selected as Web Administrator, and Alicia Capello, who has been selected as Communications Officer.

We very much appreciate all who let their name stand in nomination and who applied for these positions. Thank you all!

Call for Applications: Web Administrator and Communications Officer

CSDH/SCHN Web Administrator position description

The Canadian Society for Digital Humanities/Société canadienne des humanités numériques (CSDH/SCHN) seeks a webmaster whose primary responsibility will be maintaining and developing the society’s website in close consultation with the society’s Communications Committee. Tasks will include making updates to and backups of the website; managing authorizations and potential security risks; making recommendations for improvements in the site’s design and functionality; troubleshooting and implementing fixes as needed.

A prospective webmaster will have a reasonable degree of comfort with managing WordPress websites and plugins, and a willingness to educate themselves further in relation to WordPress, listserv management, and the ConfTool conference management system. Initial orientation will be provided and backup assistance with more advanced technical problems is available should it be required. Bilingualism is an asset, though not a requirement.

This is a volunteer position. An honorarium of $500/year is available to top off the professionalization skills acquired through this role.

To apply, submit a CV and a cover letter describing your interest in the position and your related experience to Brent Nelson, secretary of CSDH, at brent.nelson@usask.ca no later than April 29, 2016.

CSDH/SCHN Communications Officer position description

The Canadian Society for Digital Humanities/Société canadienne des humanités numériques (CSDH/SCHN) seeks one graduate student enrolled at a Canadian university for the position of communication officer. The job entails insuring a social media presence for the society via various networks such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as occasional blog entries (at least once a month) on the site and overseeing the automatic aggregation of other Canadian DH blogs. The Communications Officer will also serve on the Communications Committee.

This is a volunteer position. A bursary of $500/year is available to top off the professionalization skills the student would acquire. Bilingualism is an asset, though not a requirement.

To apply, submit a CV and a cover letter describing your interest in the position and your related experience to Brent Nelson, secretary of CSDH, at brent.nelson@usask.ca no later than April 29, 2016.

#DiverseDH: Help CSDH/SCHN build a Inclusivity and Diversity Statement

Recently, There have been announcements by several digital humanities societies of their own statements or policies regarding diversity and inclusivity amongst members. As representatives of the Canadian Society of Digital Humanities/Société canadienne des humanités numériques the executive board has decided to ask for the help of the larger DH community in initiating thoughts on what diversity and inclusivity mean within the context of digital humanities.

In the first stage of this process, we are taking to Twitter to ask digital humanists to let us know their thoughts on this topic, and asking them to include the hashtag #DiverseDH in order for us to keep track of their contributions. The second stage will see a subcommittee of the exec analyse and rework these thoughts into a comprehensive statement, which will then be made publicly available for comment in a Google Doc. The third stage will see these comments taken into consideration, and the subcommittee will once again rework the statement to submit for approval at the CSDH/SCHN AGM in Calgary this June.

We thank each of you who participates in the process. There are links to several recent statements below, to help generate ideas for your own 140 characters!

ADHO’s Conference Code of Conduct

EADH Diversity and Inclusivity Statement

DHSI Statement on Ethics and Inclusion

Here’s to making DH a comfortable, generous, and safe space for all involved,


                                       The CSDH/SCHN Executive

2016 Elections for Positions on the CSDH/SCHN Executive

We are pleased to present the candidates for thee positions on the CSDH/SCHN executive: Vice President (English), Member at Large, and Graduate Student Representative.

We are also very pleased to announce that Susan Brown has been acclaimed to a second term as President of the Society. Members of CSDH/SCHN can look forward to receiving directions for voting in the next week or two.

VP English

Constance Crompton

I am an Assistant Professor of Digital Humanities at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan Campus, and a member at large of the CSDH/SCHN executive. I direct UBCO’s Humanities Data Lab, and two of its DH projects, and serve as the associate director of the Digital Humanities Summer Institute. My work has been published in several edited collections as well as the Victorian Review, Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies, The UBC Law Review, Digital Humanities Quarterly and is forthcoming in DS/CN. I’ve been involved in several DH projects in the last decade, including The Yellow Nineties Online, The Social Edition of the Devonshire Manuscript, and, most recently, the Lesbian and Gay Liberation in Canada project (which I co-direct with Michelle Schwartz of Ryerson University). I’ve been a CSDH/SCHN member since 2011. If granted the position, I would be very glad to continue the CSDH/SCHN executive’s good outreach, support, and championing of Digital Humanities work in both Canadian and international contexts. I am very glad to be considered for the CSDH/SCHN VP English position. UBC Okanagan supports the time involved in a service commitment of this kind.

Diane Jakacki

My ongoing association with CSDH/SCHN – through my participation on the program committees for DH2015 and DH2016, as well as chairing the program for DH2017 – has been an extremely positive experience, and one that I would like to continue more formally by participating on the executive committee. Although my employment is in the U.S., my research activities are firmly rooted in universities across Canada. I am on the Executive Board of the Records of Early English Drama, am Technical Editor of the Internet Shakespeare Editions, sit on the editorial and pedagogical advisory committees to the Map of Early Modern London project and am an Assistant Director of DHSI (as well as several other collaborative projects in various stages of development, including the collaborative Early Modern Social Networks project you are shepherding). My experience with the program committee over this past year has made me realize how important the constituent organizations are to the health and stability of DH, and I would like to be part of supporting what I see as the Canadian Society’s strong influence in DH internationally as well as within Canada.


Member at large

Kim Martin

Kim Martin has recently taken up the Michael Ridley Postdoctoral Fellowship in Digital Humanities at the University of Guelph, after completing her PhD in Library and Information Science at the University of Western Ontario. Her research interests include: serendipity in the historical research process, the role of gender in makerspaces and digital humanities centres, and the use of social media by academics. Kim is also a co-founder of the DHMakerBus, and spends much of her free time working with her local community to promote digital literacy skills and access to technology. She is currently the Graduate Student Representative for CSDH-SCHN, and would be thrilled to be able to continue her work on the executive, providing a close link between LIS scholars and digital humanities research.

Lai-Tze Fan

Lai-Tze Fan is completing her PhD in Communication and Culture at York University and Ryerson University. During her time as a graduate student, she has regularly participated in academic service in such positions as President of her Graduate Program’s Student Association and President of the Graduate Caucus of ACCUTE (English). Currently, she is a member of the 2015-2016 CSDH-SCHN Program Committee. Fan seeks a position as member-at-large for the CSDH-SCHN executive committee in order to further her work in advocacy and DH community building, with the larger goal of mobilizing her experiences as a proactive mediator among students, contingent faculty, permanent faculty members, and interdisciplinary departments.


Graduate student representative

Chelsea Miya

I’m a PhD student in English at the University of Alberta where my research explores the relationship between technologies of datafication in the mid-19th century and the structure and form of poetry from the American Literary Renaissance. I’m also part of the research team at the Canadian Writing Research Collaboratory and oversee user testing and documentation for the Humanities Visualizer (HuViz), a network visualization tool. I recently led a demo of HuViz at the 2016 INKE New Knowledge Models conference, and I will be presenting a conference paper on best practices in user testing at DHSI 2016. In addition to my research work, I’m also the founder and co-President of Digital Scholars of the University of Alberta, an interdisciplinary student group whose mandate is to provide a space for students to learn about digital tools and techniques.

Catherine Nygren

Digital humanities informs my past and current research and the communities in which I participate. Since my undergraduate and Master’s degrees at the University of Saskatchewan, where I worked on several DH projects such as the Grub Street Project, I have begun work on my dissertation, in which I am text-mining eighteenth-century British travel writing. My experience as a digital humanist has been varied – sometimes, surrounded by others doing similar work, and at others, being the only digital humanist in the department. I have also worked on projects ranging from digital-historical mapping and best digital practices for libraries to game design and text-mining. As a result, I deeply understand and appreciate the value of DH communities, including CSDH/SCHN, DHSI (which I have attended several times), and Twitter, and their particular value for grad students and those new to the field. In my roles as Social Chair and on the Professional Development Committee for my English graduate association, in my last term as Graduate Representative for the Canadian Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, and in my work for the Institute for the Public Life of Arts and Ideas’ Track, Report, Connect, Exchange project, I have provided multiple resources and mentorship for other students. I hope to bring the same energy to CSDH/SCHN.

Gurpreet Singh

As a graduate student at the University of Lethbridge in Individualized Multidisciplinary Masters of Arts, I work in Digital Humanities at the cross section of Philology, Textual Criticism and Editing, (3D) Cultural Heritage, Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning. At the same time, I am working as project manager for the Visionary Cross project. I have been actively involved in DH through DHSI, DH conferences since 2012. I have received Compute Canada scholarships for attending DHSI – 2015 for active engagement with Compute Canada in our DH initiatives. Also, I received scholarship for NEH Summer school in Advance Challenges in 3D. I have been involved in several DH initiatives like Global Outlook:: Digital Humanities (GO::DH), South Asian Digital Humanities (SADH) and Digital Cultural Heritage (DigiCultH). I was actively engaged in DH White Paper consultations for Compute Canada and in past I’ve served as the VP-Finance at the University of Lethbridge GSA. Since my Masters in Artificial Intelligence in 2007, I have worked as PG researcher in NLP, Machine Learning and Text Classification and taught as Assistant Professor in India. Coming from pure computational background and now working/studying in more humanities oriented fields, I know the perils of inter-disciplinary field like DH, especially from a student perspective, and that too from a global perspective. This will be one of the key focus areas for me, if selected as Graduate Student Representative on the CSDH/SCHN.






Compute Canada SPARC II White Paper

BILINGUAL-CC-WEB-LOGOBelow is CSDH/SCHN’s whitepaper written in response to Compute Canada’s SPARC II call. It builds on CSDH/SCHN’s 2014 paper which responded to the first SPARC call. This second whitepaper, like the 2014 whitepaper, results from a call for input from the DH community at large. It focuses on staffing and training; allocation processes; and sustainability, data management, and long-term storage. Humanities and social science scholars make up one of Compute Canada’s fastest growing user groups and so we are glad to have the opportunity to work together with Compute Canada to support the community’s advanced research computing needs.

Whitepaper presented by the Canadian Society for digital humanities / Société canadienne des humanités numériques (CSDH/SCHN) in response to Compute / Calcul Canada’s Call for Whitepapers for Sustainable Planning for Advanced Research Computing Phase II (SPARC2 2016)

DHSI@Congress Workshops: Thursday June 2nd and Friday June 3rd at the University of Calgary

Are you looking for a little more DH after the CSDH/SCHN conference is over? We are pleased to announce that DHSI@Congress, a series of 2.5-hour workshops for scholars, staff, and students interested in a hands-on introduction to DH tools, techniques and methods, will be returning to Congress for its third year.

The DHSI@Congress workshops, which run on Thursday June 2nd and Friday June 3rd at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Calgary, are built on the community model of the Digital Humanities Summer Institute at the University of Victoria (to find out more about the DHSI in Victoria, now celebrating its 17th anniversary, please visit http://www.dhsi.org/). The DHSI@Congress sessions, facilitated by established scholars and emerging leaders in the field, introduce a wide range of Digital Humanities methods and methodologies from project management to DH pedagogy, from theoretical issues to the command line (and more!). We invite interested Congress attendees to register for any and all workshops that engage their interest at http://www.dhsi.org/events.php#DHSI@Congress. Continue reading DHSI@Congress Workshops: Thursday June 2nd and Friday June 3rd at the University of Calgary

Call for Candidacy on CSDH/SCHN Executive Committee

The renewal committee of the Canadian Society for Digital Humanities / Société canadienne des humanités numériques invites nominations and self-nominations from candidates interested in one of the following positions:

  • President, 2016-2019.  Susan Brown is standing for re-election.
  • Vice-president, English, 2016-2019
  • Member-at-large, 2016-2018
  • Graduate student representative, 2016-2017

Please contact Dr. Brent Nelson (brent.nelson@usask.ca) no later than 6 pm EST on Wednesday 23 March 2016 with a short paragraph indicating your interest in running.



Le comité de renouvellement de la Canadian Society for Digital Humanities / Société canadienne des humanités numériques invite des candidatures de chercheurs intéressés pars l’un des postes suivant:

  • président, 2016-9. Susan Brown se représentera.
  • vice-président, Anglais, 2016-2019
  • un membre, 2016-2018
  • représentant étudiant, 2016-2017

Merci d’envoyer un court paragraphe détaillant votre intérêt à être mis en nomination pour l’un de ces postes à Dr. Brent Nelson (brent.nelson@usask.ca) avant 18h EST le mercredi 23 mars 2016.

Who’s Doing DH in Canada? Lai-Tze Fan

In an attempt to meet more of the people involved in DH in Canada and to help connect the community, we are going to run a series of blog interviews with members. Our first interviewee is Lai-Tze Fan. Lai-Tze is the CSDH/SCHN recipient of the 2015 Lisa Lena Opas-Hänninen Young Scholar Prize, an award sponsored by the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations (ADHO). Below are the questions we’ve asked of participants with Lai-Tze’s answers. You can find Lai-Tze on her website or on twitter.

Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you come to find yourself working within Digital Humanities?

My name is Lai-Tze Fan and I’m a PhD Candidate (ABD) in the joint Communication & Culture Program at York University and Ryerson University. My dissertation negotiates the ontology, representation, and orthography of digital media with that of other media forms, specifically the contemporary print novel, in the context of a non-linear media history. For the 2015/2016 academic year, I’m a visiting Instructor and Researcher at Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, Germany.

I began to work in the digital humanities when I started my PhD. There’s only so much research one can contain in a dissertation before related side projects spring up: I became fixated on an old passage by Lev Manovich in which he expresses “surprise” that narratives still exist in a cultural age dominated by the database, and I compared this idea to text analysis by Matthew Jockers and Franco Moretti, for instance, that uses computers to analyze narrativity. In effect, I sought to examine where we can locate and benefit from narratives—indeed, where their reflexive frameworks are necessary—in DH literary research. My foundational work in this area produced the paper for which I was honoured to receive the ADHO’s Lisa Lena Young Scholar Prize, and which I’m now developing into a postdoctoral project.

How do you define Digital Humanities?

When considering the broad spectrum of analyses, projects, and disciplines that the digital humanities could encompass, DH is more inclusive and community-based than a traditional humanities made up of independent scholars, and it also more readily anticipates the critical contextualization of media technologies within sociocultural environments than some technological research. I tend to favour Alan Liu’s description of himself as participating in a critical digital humanities, by which I believe he means a DH that most responsibly approaches the exciting pragmatics of developing technologies and their larger shifts through the humanistic hermeneutics and reflexivity of the humanities. That’s the kind of DH I too wish to participate in.

What are you working on at the moment?

Currently, I am developing a postdoctoral research project that takes the research questions of my dissertation in a different direction by experimenting with digital mediations (qualitative, quantitative, and encoded) of narrative ontologies. It proposes narrativity—through elements of storytelling, figurative language, modes and materialities, and so forth—as a theoretical framework for micro-level analysis in literary texts and as a complement to macro-level text analysis.

A third project that I’m working on examines the use of digital tools for research on spatial practices in urban spaces. I’m examining the ways in which locative media applications and platforms complicate how we understand material space and media materialities relative to digital media. For instance, I argue that mobile and locative media use the interface to foreground the user’s physical surroundings, such that they feel more rather than less connected to the material spaces that they explore and through which they move.

Is there anything else you would like to say about DH?

I attended a great conference in October 2015 that could have answered the question, “How many digital humanities pioneers can you gather in one room?” This international group offered insight into the long history of humanities computing, from Father Roberto Busa to recent WikiLeaks reveals, showing me that DH has been around for a long time—and that it is also still figuring out what it is.

It has been exciting to hear about the exponential rise in attendance at global DHSIs each year, and to witness firsthand the respective development in DH communities in North America and parts of Western Europe. While more scholarly involvement sometimes means less individual attention, I don’t think this needs to be the case for DH: its multi-faceted environment in fact distinguishes it as a collaborative and, ideally, inclusive field for conversation. The efforts of this growing collective will hopefully contribute to the DH developing and re-developing robust objectives and practices of responsible work.

Thanks so much to Lai-Tze for responding to our questions and for getting the conversation started. Remember that you can find Lai-Tze on her website or on twitter

If you would like to be highlighted in an interview, please send a message to csdh.schn@gmail.com.