Digital Humanities Australasia 2012: Building, Mapping, Connecting - Conference Report

The Humanities Research Centre hosted the inaugural conference of the Australasian Association for Digital Humanities, on the theme of 'Building, Mapping, Connecting', 27-30 March 2012, at the Shine Dome, Australian Academy of Science, and the Sir Roland Wilson Building.

Shine Dome, Australian Academy of Science, Canberra

The Australasian Association for Digital Humanities was formed in March 2011 to strengthen the digital humanities research community in the region and to work with other international associations within the field. The professional association acts to support and extend links between digital humanities researchers, improve professional development opportunities and provide international leverage for local projects and initiatives, and is a member of the international Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations (ADHO).

Over 250 delegates attended the conference from Australia and New Zealand, as well as the United Kingdom, Europe, Asia and North America. Convened by Paul Arthur and Katherine Bode, the program featured papers as well as posters and a day of workshop sessions. Keynote speakers included:

  • Alan Liu, Professor and Chair in the English Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he teaches in the fields of digital humanities, British Romantic literature and art, and literary theory. He has published three books: Wordsworth: The Sense of History (Stanford University Press, 1989), The Laws of Cool: Knowledge Work and the Culture of Information (University of Chicago Press, 2004), and Local Transcendence: Essays on Postmodern Historicism and the Database (University of Chicago Press, 2008).
  • Julia Flanders, Director of the Women Writers Project, part of the Center for Digital Scholarship in the Brown University Library. Julia is one of the founding editors of Digital Humanities Quarterly, and has served as President of the Association for Computers and the Humanities and as Chair of the TEI Consortium. Her research focuses on digital text representation and editing, digital scholarly communication practices, and the politics of digital work in the humanities.
  • Harold Short, Director and Head of Department in the Department of Digital Humanities (formerly Centre for Computing in the Humanities) until retirement in September 2010. Harold helped develop the three MA programmes in DDH: Digital Humanities, Digital Culture and Technology, Digital Asset Management, and worked with Willard McCarty and other colleagues in developing the world’s first PhD programme in Digital Humanities.
  • Peter Robinson, Bateman Professor of English at the University of Saskatchewan. He is developer of the texual-editing program Collate, used by many textual editing projects worldwide, and of the Anastasia electronic publishing system. He is active in the development of standards for digital resources, formerly as a member of the Text Encoding Initiative and as leader of the EU funded MASTER project, and currently as a member of the InterEdition project.
  • John Unsworth, Vice-Provost for Library and Technology Services and Chief Information Officer at Brandeis University. He moved to this post from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he was Dean of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS) at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign from 2003 to 2012. During the ten years before coming to Illinois, from 1993-2003, he served as the first Director of the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, and a faculty member in the English Department, at the University of Virginia.

The event was made possible with the major sponsorship of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, and the ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences and Research School of Humanities and the Arts. The Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London, provided generous support for workshop and conference presenters and a workshop grant was also received from the Association for Literary and Linguistic Computing. 

Feedback from conference delegates indicated that the conference achieved its goals of raising awareness of digital humanities work in Australasia, building new communities of interest, creating opportunities for new research collaborations, and showcasing research in our region to an international audience. The general quality of papers was extremely high. The final selection followed a stringent review process involving a full committee with members drawn from the executive committee of the Australasian Association for Digital Humanities. The efficient running of the conference was due in large part to the work of Leena Messina, and the convenors also wish to thank the many volunteers who gave their time to make it such a success. 

Dr Paul Arthur and Dr Katherine Bode, Conveners.

Dr Paul Arthur
Australian Dictionary of Biography, Research School of Social Sciences
The Australian National University, ACT 0200 Australia

Dr Katherine Bode
Head, Digital Humanities Hub, Research School of Humanities & the Arts,
The Australian National University, ACT 0200 Australia


Updated:  4 September 2012/Responsible Officer:  Head, Centre/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications