DHSI 2016: a great community!

The week I spent in Victoria for the DHSI has been an amazing experience. The Digital Humanities is a field of studies which is developing really fast, and I was curious to get closer to these innovative approaches to literary studies. The summer school has been a breath of fresh air for many reasons: I learned a lot about digital stylometric analysis of corpora, I developed new skills in text encoding, I got better in the planning and the development of digital projects. But beyond all these “technical” aspects (which gave me a lot to think about in order to develop my research), there are some other things that made that week in Victoria very special.

The feeling I had from the very beginning was to be part of a young and dynamic community. At the DHSI the possibilities to start each day discovering something new are endless. For me, as a young scholar in Italian studies, it has been very interesting to start conversations about the most different topics with people coming from all over the world and with different backgrounds. It is amazing to discover how close and similar each experience, both from a professional and human point of view, can be. And it is even more amazing to feel how many things you are actually learning by sharing your experiences, your impressions and your feelings with colleagues that you can meet only in events like the DHSI.

For me, “Sharing” has been the key word of the week. I have seen an aspect of the academic world that sometimes is not that evident, especially when you are caught in stressful teaching semesters or in the writing of papers and thesis. Or, even worse, when you are in the middle of your job hunting for the so called “next step.” Every person I met at the classes, at the canteens, at the parks was willing to share their experiences, their advices, their point of view on how to improve that one project which is still a work in progress, or even to begin a collaboration. In other words, it has been possible for me to see the potential a collaborative network can have. It has been an intercultural, multidiscplinary journey that allowed me to be in contact with international scholars every day.

Before the DHSI, I was convinced that the future of the humanities will have to pass trough the digital approach. After the DHSI, I am persuaded that the future of the humanities is in good hands. I came back home with a whole new baggage of knowledge and the awareness of having taken part to something really special. In conclusion, the most precious thing I got from DHSI is a renewed enthusiasm, which I will treasure to improve my ongoing projects and to enlarge my perspectives on my career, in order to be ready to face the new challenges research and teaching will bring. And this, in my opinion, is what being a scholar is all about: looking at the future by developing, and not forgetting, the past.

By Andrea Penso

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