2021 ACH Conference in Houston, TX

The Association for Computers and the Humanities (ACH) is pleased to announce that the location of its next conference, scheduled for the summer of 2021, will be Houston, Texas!

In the last decade or so, as many in the digital humanities (DH) community are aware, Texas has emerged as a productive hub of DH activities, with programs, projects, centers, and initiatives in progress at institutions such as the University of Houston, Prairie View A&M, Rice University, and Texas A&M.  The selection of Houston as the next venue is in recognition of these flourishing endeavors and the competitive application from the local bidding committee. ACH also made it a priority to locate the conference in a region different from the last gathering, which took place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  

“Ten Houston-area institutions came together to offer a powerful vision for a 2021 conference,” says ACH Conference Coordinating Committee Chair Scott B. Weingart, “and in a trove of compelling bids, Houston’s stood out as an exemplar of collaborative effort. The ACH is excited to work with them to build bridges within and beyond Houston’s diverse communities.”

The Local Committee for organizing and planning the conference for ACH 2021 in Houston will be co-chaired by Gabriela Baeza Ventura, Associate Professor of US Latino Literature, University of Houston—who is also Executive Editor, Arte Público Press and a co-founder of US Latino Digital Humanities—and by Santi Thompson, Head of Digital Research Services at the University of Houston Libraries.  Members of the committee include:

  • Taylor Davis-Van Atta (University of Houston)
  • Ruben Duran (Houston Community College)
  • Lorena Gauthereau (University of Houston)
  • Bonnie Lucero (University of Houston – Downtown)
  • Laura Mandell (Texas A&M)
  • Sarah Potvin (Texas A&M)
  • Christal Rene Seahorn (University of Houston – Clear Lake)
  • Marco Robinson (Prairie View A&M)
  • Lisa Spiro  (Rice University)
  • Toniesha Taylor (Texas Southern University)
  • Carolina Villarroel (University of Houston)
  • Claude Willan (University of Houston)

Local Committee co-chairs Baeza Ventura and Thompson note that hosting ACH 2021 in Houston will contribute to, and broaden, the ongoing conversations that have developed at UH and the bidding institutions, as well as in the larger Texas Digital Humanities Consortium.  “We look forward to hosting a conference that will celebrate, interrogate, and expand upon topics driving DH conversations, including: histories of underrepresented communities, preservation of cultural heritage, DH for social justice, community archiving, disaster response preservation, personal digital archiving, DH pedagogy, multilingual DH and critical DH.”

The University of Houston is one of only three R1 Hispanic-Serving Institutions in the nation, and its 45,000 students reflect the multicultural community of metropolitan Houston and the nation. As an institution, UH has been active in promoting the development of digital humanities programming and education by supporting DH projects and enterprises in various departments and through the creation of the Digital Research Commons (DRC) at UH Librariesand the US Latino Digital Humanities program at Arte Público Press.

ACH revived its conference format to provide the DH community with a North American biennial alternative during the years when the Digital Humanities Conference is held abroad.  In July 2019, the Association held the conference in Pittsburgh, an occasion that drew more than 425 registrants for participation in workshops and concurrent session tracks, including panels, short and long papers, and a digital art performance.  In place of a closing keynote, ACH 2019 offered a set of lightning presentations reflecting the community’s dynamic engagement with DH tools and methods. 

“ACH2019 was a watershed moment for the Association for Computers and the Humanities, instantiating a vibrant new conference that foregrounded issues of justice and equity in digital humanities work,” says ACH President Matthew K. Gold. “We could not be more delighted that ACH2021 will carry on that project and look forward to joining with our Houston hosts for what promises to be another amazing conference.”

By Tanya Clement

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