In 2020, DARIAH selected two streams of funding as part of the Theme funding call, ‘Arts Exchanges’ and ‘Arts, Humanities and COVID-19’. The call attracted a high number of well articulated and competitive applications, mainly addressing, perhaps not surprisingly, the topic of ‘Arts, Humanities and COVID-19’.
With an overall budget of 87.920 €, DARIAH funded nine projects for a year (December 2020 – December 2021). This series presents their results with a special focus on each of these projects.
DH in Transition: A mixed approach and a hybrid publication on the effects of COVID-19 in DH research and practice
Coordinators: Agiatis Benardou, Vicky Dritsou, Maria Ilvanidou (Digital Curation Unit, Information Management Systems Institute, Athena RC)
This project explored the ways the Digital Humanities ecosystem was shifting amidst the COVID-19 pandemic by organising a Twitter Conference called “DH in the Time of Virus” in 2020, a follow up digital workshop in 2021 called “DH Goes Viral” and a final survey monitoring the impact of the pandemic on DH research and practices.
Twitter Conference: DH in the Time of Virus
“DH in the Time of Virus” was an experimental endeavour, inspired by a Public Archaeology Twitter Conference held entirely on Twitter in 2019. The focus of this event was on Digital Humanities in a time of a highly contagious, potentially life-threatening virus. The topics of the Twitter Conference were the following:
- Distance education / e-Education
- Remote research / e-Research
- Defeating isolation: digital tools, methods and platforms
- Digital History / Philology / Archaeology of Disease and Epidemic
- Medical / Health Digital Humanities.
“DH in the Time of Virus” invited speakers were renowned Digital Humanities experts, both academics and practitioners, as well as Digital Research Infrastructures and Initiatives from across Europe. The event was successfully held on April 2, 2020, with hashtags really going viral. The hashtag #DHgoesVIRAL became a trending topic in Greece during and after the event while it is estimated that more than 2.8K users engaged in conversations during and following this event, from all over the world, Europe, the US, China, India and Australia
DH in the Time of Virus was voted 1st runner up as best DH response to COVID-19 in the 2020 DH Awards. More information on the speakers and the set of tweets can be found here: https://www.dariah.eu/2020/05/07/reflections-on-the-twitter-conference-dh-in-the-time-of-virus/.
Digital Workshop: DH Goes Viral and Web Survey
The project team designed a mixed-methods approach to monitor and document both the ephemeral nature of the pandemic and its potential long-lasting effect of DH research. This mixed methodology included a follow-up workshop and a web survey. The digital workshop was organised on April 26, 2021, to monitor how the community was coping with the ongoing pandemic a year later. Participants were mainly researchers and practitioners who had also participated in the Twitter Conference.
The digital workshop was organised around three pillars, the digital research initiatives, individual research and the online questionnaire designed by the project team which aimed at collecting basic qualitative evidence on the impact of COVID-19 on Digital Humanities research and practice. The final pillar, the online questionnaire, can be found here. The questionnaire was administered to speakers and responses served as the basis for the final discussion of the digital workshop. Following the workshop, the survey was widely disseminated to capture the new emerging practices of the wider DH community.
For the course of the pandemic and until late May 2021 when the survey was effectively closed, the vast majority of respondents worked from home, and at longer hours than before. They attended new types of events (conferences, workshops, lectures, even birthday parties were held online), and they were trained in, or employing, new digital methods, while at the same time training non-digitally literate colleagues themselves. While funding opportunities remained the same – indeed, funding bodies were slower in reacting to the changing landscape – projects and research initiatives were cancelled or re-visited in the light of the pandemic, while new, unexpected ones were emerging.
* DARIAH Theme is an annual thematic priority set by the Board of Directors of DARIAH-EU. The aim is to stimulate activities and events related to an important topic of research in the digitally enabled arts and humanities by issuing a call for funding.