My week at DHSI

[Editor’s Note: the ACH awarded Cammeron Girvin a student travel bursary to attend this summer’s Digital Humanities Summer Institute. The award came with an invitation to reflect on the experience in our blog.]

What a great time I had this week! With its sunny but pleasantly mild climate, Victoria was the perfect place to spend a week in the summer. And, of course, the constant learning experiences and my many enthusiastic co-participants really made the trip to DHSI worthwhile.

The course I chose this week was “Fundamentals of Programming/Coding for Human(s|ists).” While I entered the class with virtually no knowledge of computer languages except for some very rudimentary HTML, I felt a great sense of accomplishment in that, by Friday morning, I had a solid understanding of the basic functions and capabilities of Python. Our instructor was admirably patient and clear while escorting us down this “express lane” to basic coding literacy!

DHSI also proved a valuable opportunity to connect with and be inspired by interesting people from a variety of fields. While I work primarily on Slavic philology and folklore studies, I found that disciplinary boundaries were essentially irrelevant this past week. I enjoyed seeing some of the ways that scholars from history, sociology, English, and other fields were using technology in creative ways to enhance their research and presentation of their work. While I’ve used digital technologies in my own work primarily in the form of Drupal databases, I left with several ideas of new things I want to try out with my data.

And, as should be the case with any successful academic gathering, I departed with a renewed sense of inspiration to carry on with my current projects. I feel lucky to have been able to attend DHSI this week and am very grateful for the support from ACH!

By Cammeron Girvin

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