This is intended as a brief report on the ACH Annual General Meeting that took place during the Digital Humanities 2011 conference at Stanford.
The first notable aspect of the meeting was the astounding attendance: there were over 80 people present. In the past years the meeting has shifted from reporting the deliberations of the Executive Council (not always the most compelling content) to a summary of key points and a more open format of discussion and community-focused initiatives.
We began the meeting by recognizing the passing away of our friend and colleague Chuck Bush, who was the ACH Treasurer and served on its executive council for more than 20 years (see http://ach.org/charles-douglas-bush-1948-2011).
New members of the Executive Council were welcomed and outgoing members were thanked. A warm and sustained ovation was reserved for Julia Flanders, outgoing President extraordinaire.
Next we launched into the annual ACH Jobs Slam, a chance for prospective employees to introduce themselves (Ed Finn and Molly Des Jardin) as well as an encouraging range of job opportunities:
- Mellon Postdocs at Emory: http://bit.ly/disc-postdoc
- Research Professorship at BYU: http://bit.ly/jWu6EI
- Lecturer in Digital Information Studies at UCL: http://bit.ly/hFCaRH
- Assoc. Library Director of Digital Initiatives at McGill: http://bit.ly/kcD1gz
- Digital Humanities Academic Administrator at UCLA: http://bit.ly/iCQI4g
- Web Developers at NYPL: http://bit.ly/mRGKA0
We also pointed to two very useful lists of jobs: http://www.arts-humanities.net/jobs and http://www.hastac.org/forum/23 Finally, we reminded everyone of the ongoing ACH mentoring programme http://ach.org/mentoring We encourage thesis supervisors who have students finishing and looking for DH-oriented jobs to contact the Mentoring committee.
Following the Jobs Slam we covered some new and ongoing initiatives. In particular:
- the ACH has a completely revamped website! http://ach.org/
- we invited everyone to express interest to get involved in ACH committees
- we discussed the success of DHAnswers and invited colleagues to contribute http://digitalhumanities.org/answers/
Finally, we had two open discussion topics. The first was regarding a possible name change for ACH. The Executive Council recognizes that "Association of Computers and the Humanities" may not be as expressive of contemporary digital humanities scholarship and teaching as it might be. Some present pointed out the danger that the title may keep new people away. However, the overwhelming tenor of the discussion was that a change would present several logistical challenges and there was a certain attachment to the historical context that the ACH represents (much like the anachronistic sounding Association for Computing Machinery). Moreover, using the acronym ACH somewhat masks the details anyway.
Second, we discussed possibilities for the ACH to partner with local events to provide more continuous and more regional support and presence for the ACH constituency. A whole range of suggestions were offered and the ACH Exec will try experimenting with some of them and report back about this next year.
Thanks to all who were present and contributed!