The Community Engagement Working Group, chaired by Vicky Garnett and Eliza Papaki, successfully applied and received funding in 2017 through the DARIAH Working Group Funding Scheme to develop the project “Engaging Research Communities beyond DARIAH”. The focus of this 12-month funded project was on investigating new research communities that had previously not engaged with DARIAH, looking at how they could be introduced into this network, what barriers prevented them from doing so, and how these could be overcome.
In particular, the Working Group designed and performed the following activities:
In 2017, the Working Group hosted a webinar with 43 registered participants to identify the barriers to engaging with a Research Infrastructure and pathways of communication to non-DARIAH affiliated researchers. The participants varied from DARIAH experts to researchers who had not previously engaged with DARIAH, but could potentially benefit from this network. Equally, the invited talks varied from DARIAH experts who illustrated what is DARIAH and what are its benefits for the community to researchers that made use of the network for their own projects and research and had a positive experience to share.
2. MPhil programme internships
The Working Group offered its first student internship, in the context of the MPhil in Digital Humanities in Trinity College Dublin. The internship introduced the concept of Research Infrastructures, and specifically DARIAH, and was built around identifying a research community and exploring the communication pathways to reach this audience.
3. Participation in Conferences and Outreach Events
Among the planned activities was to identify, submit contributions and participate in various Digital Humanities Conferences with poster, roundtable and paper submissions. The aim was to present DARIAH, the Working Group and its undergoing research particularly in non-DARIAH audience, as was the case with a Baltic Environmental Humanities Conference (BALTEHUMS). For this, the Working Group also collaborated with the Geohumanities Working Group.
4. Travel bursary for Early Stage Researcher
The Working Group ran a travel bursary competition and awarded an Early Stage Researcher to be part of the BALTEHUMS conference, meet DARIAH and gain experience from participating, organising and capturing a roundtable discussion.
5. Report on Engaging Research Communities Beyond DARIAH
These planned and funded activities contributed to a detailed report documenting barriers, pathways and recommendations for DARIAH VCC2 and DARIAH-EU in general in engaging research communities beyond the traditional DARIAH ‘playground’. In addition to this, the Working Group will also publish part of this research as a book chapter in the Routledge Handbook of Digital Humanities in 2019 (Dunn and Schuster (Eds), Forthcoming).
The project “Engaging Research Communities Beyond DARIAH” managed to reach new audiences through all those activities, also by exploring discipline specific mailing lists to spread their events and calls and by introducing the concept of Research Infrastructures and DARIAH through postgraduate courses. As a result of this work, the Working Group has begun to look at smaller communities of researchers, in particular the Early Career Researchers and plan to continue this work in the future to look at the particular barriers that prevent ECRs from engaging with RIs, and trialling out some approaches such as internships and networking events.
This post is part of the Working Groups Stories series presenting results and outcomes from the Working Group Funding Scheme 2017-2018.