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It’ll be all right on the night: DCU Library in the Digital Humanities

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From the 1–3 September 2015, DCU Library took a leap into the dark and hosted Digital Research in the
Humanities and Arts 2015, a prestigious international conference for those engaged with the digitisation of
cultural activity, resources and heritage. Having been awarded the conference following a tough competitive
process, the committee, consisting of three librarians, set about planning an event to combine weighty academic
presentations on a dizzying array of topics, cutting edge digital art installations, complex multi-media keynote
addresses, and a social programme designed to keep a motley bunch of artists, academics and digital pioneers
happy and engaged.
Leaving their comfort zone well behind, they were required to act as convenors, curators, mediators, reviewers,
technicians and stage hands. They liaised extensively with colleagues across DCU to beg, borrow and steal
anything from iMacs and PC monitors to projectors and HDMI cables. They could often be found hammering nails,
hanging drapes, dragging tables and eating on the run. There was never a dull moment! In the end, DRHA 2015
was a huge hit. They succeeded in putting DCU on the digital humanities map and shattered a few preconceptions
about the influence librarians can have on the academic and cultural landscape.

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It’ll be all right on the night: DCU Library in the Digital Humanities

  1. 1. Image Source: https://www.nyfa.edu/student-resources/stage-fright-examples-lessons-famous-sufferers/ It’ll be all right on the night: DCU Library in the Digital Humanities Smashing Stereotypes Librarians Get Loud LAI Academic & Special Libraries Conference |11-12 February 2016 Siobhán Dunne | @dunnesiobhan
  2. 2. Overview: What is DRHA ? Why librarians? Peer review + programming The design challenges The tech challenges Props, permits, & working men’s clubs Would we do it again?
  3. 3. So what exactly is DRHA?
  4. 4. academic conference digital art exhibition festival of performances . A Unique mix of:
  5. 5. T H I S P R I N C I P L E L AY S T H E F O U N D AT I O N F O R T H R E E K E Y S T R AT E G I C O B J E C T I V E S : June 2014: DCU wins competitive bid to host DRHA 2015 August 2014: DCU announced as 2015 hosts at Uni of Greenwich September 2014: local organising committee established
  6. 6. June 2014: DCU wins competitive bidding process to host DRHA 2015 August 2014: DCU announced as host for DRHA 2015 at University of Greenwich September 2014: Local organising committee established Core Conference Team Convenors: Chris Pressler | Siobhán Dunne | Peter Dudley Creative Advisor: Dr. Declan Tuite, Multimedia Lecturer, DCU Logistics Support: Keynote PLC Peer Review Panel: DRHA Standing Committee Main Stage Technician: Damian O Connor Installations Technician: AVCOM Web Design: Sean Tackaberry, Multimedia Student, DCU
  7. 7. Delegates from: Australia, Canada, Estonia, Georgia, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Poland, Singapore, Sweden, the United Kingdom and United States. 1st DRHA conference for 75% of delegates. 16% are students 78% are presenting new research and/or creative works. 56% hail from outside of Ireland Source: https://gencodegenes.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/numbers.jpg
  8. 8. Competitive application process to recruit a DCU multimedia student to help us build our website. Requirements: Many delegates very design savvy so had to be high spec. And had to house legacy content. http://www.drha2015.ie How did we attract a diverse international audience?
  9. 9. Crank up the Twitter machine @drha2015 #drha2015
  10. 10. The Unknowns Predicting delegate numbers to inform conference fee structure was complex and challenging Artists can find it difficult to secure funding (some assumed we would fund) Substantial outlays required for tech equipment + support Massive variation in attendance for previous years Were we promoting to the right people?
  11. 11. Locations Academic Papers: Library Keynotes + performances: Venue Installations: The Old Bar
  12. 12. Call for Submissions Speakers invited to respond to 5 grand challenges: Resolving Conflict | Cultural Freedom Urban Living | Climate Change Healthy Societies Peer Review Shared by DRHA standing Committee and convenors Ongoing debate between arts and humanities content
  13. 13. To turn this…. The Tech Challenge
  14. 14. Into this…
  15. 15. To turn this….
  16. 16. Into this…
  17. 17. Shared Set up - switch
  18. 18. To turn this…. The Design Challenge
  19. 19. Into this…
  20. 20. Unanticipated Challenges • Rig construction to support an installation • Public Liability insurance and permit to work applications • Adequate lighting for installation gallery
  21. 21. Curators Peer reviewers Technicians Interpreters Designers Promoters Improvisers Librarians
  22. 22. Irish librarians in Digital Humanities
  23. 23. Ways of Working • Worked unusual hours to avoid losing ‘flow’ • Challenging to combine everyday structured tasks with creative process Building Skills • Fun to collaborate on something a bit different • Significant opportunity for team building Gaining Perspective • Provided perspective for dealing with other ‘outside the box’ tasks Reflections
  24. 24. L I B R AR I A N S G E T T I N G L O U D N O T A C O N F E R E N C E F O R L I B R A R I A N S ? P E E R R E V I E W F A C I L I T A T I N G T E C H N I C A L R E Q U I R E M E N T S L I A I S I N G W I T H A R T I S T S C U R A T I N G A N A R T E X H I B I T I O N EDITING CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS BOOK
  25. 25. Thank You Questions?

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