DHARTI Editors’ Gup

For the month of July, the Special Interest Group Coordinators of DHARTI reflect on their experiences of editing the DHARTI digital publication for the first cycle. They share their aspiration, thoughts and suggest ways to move forward. Stay tuned till the end for an announcement and Call for Submissions.

Sritama

When I was envisioning the space of the DHARTI Medium platform with my colleagues, the objective was to amplify voices that otherwise get left out of mainstream Digital Humanities conversations in India. We were committed to creating a safe space that will allow undergraduate and graduate scholars in India to articulate their thoughts about the digital humanities projects that they have been working on. Our beginnings have been fairly humble. We have covered an array of topics ranging from DH infrastructure to documenting education inequality in India. I have been inspired by the work of the contributors and the editorial work of my Special Interest Group colleagues. There’s always been a considerate amount of beyond the scenes activity, going back and forth about whom to commission an article, bouncing off article ideas, being flexible about article deadlines (because we are still living within a global pandemic) while remaining consistent in publishing at least one article a month. One of the reasons why we are speaking about our experiences of being involved with the blog is to make that labor visible.

On a more personal level, what I have enjoyed the most is working closely with contributors after receiving their first draft. As a managing editor, my work has largely been to identify where the energy of an article lies and help the author develop that section of an article. Since we were not able to pay our contributors, the minimum that we could do was to help them become better writers and grow as public scholars.

What I have observed from the contributions that we have largely commissioned for the blog is that they are inevitably focused on DH projects. Going ahead as a collective, we need to be mindful of a number of things, which I also see as possibilities for the expansion of the digital publication:

  1. To have contributions that focus on big picture questions and theoretical commitments of Digital Humanities in India rather than focusing on one-off projects. To be clear, a project-focused conversation also has its own value but we need to be able to envision a DH imaginary beyond a project based focus.
  2. To create more dialogue among the contributors themselves. One of the ways in which this can be achieved is through having article clusters on a specific topic, for instance: electronic literature in India. In order to ensure equity of labor, we could think of having cluster editors beyond the current group of editors. This could result in more visibility for the blog.
  3. Publishing articles in non-English Languages, keeping in mind DHARTI’s mission of multilingual DH and being attuned to the demography of our contributors in terms of caste, class, gender and non-urban spaces.

We would need all SIG members should find more avenues for further engagement from stakeholders.

Subhanjali:

Being a part of the DHARTI Blog Initiative has been rather interesting to say the least. While looking for writers, reading and exploring other’s interests have always been insightful. The blog can essentially serve as a space for speculations upon digital dilemmas. This in turn may double up as the base for the slack based interactions, wherein the discussions perhaps might lead to insightful research, be it in Digital Objects, or Marginalities or Intersectionalities. The very essence of the digital ethnography can be redefined by the deliberations devised via the interlinkages developed via simplified statings i.e. the blog posts.

To understand and expand the prospects and reach of the DHARTI blog initiative, we must as a team galvanise our passionate interests and dwell upon collaborative creations where thoughts can therefore birth. It would enable DHARTI to not just be a collective platform but be the parent of new and innovative initiations.

Sayantani:

I was the SIG — Feminist DH for the DHARTI medium blog as well as for the slack channel. Connecting with young scholars was an exceptional experience who works on gender and related domains. It was interesting to connect with them. Learning from them and interacting with them was a fantastic experience. I learnt a lot in this process; identifying the right people and then emailing the right people for the blog article was another task that helped me learn how to search for academicians uniquely.

Thank you, Sritama, for starting this out and taking the initiative and working the right way through this and posting and promoting for almost one year was really great. Finally, I am really excited to take over as the new Managing Editor of the DHARTI medium blog, and I am really looking forward to the work and editing articles.

Prakruti:

When it comes to any idea regarding content creation, I am a bit of a skeptic, knowing how much work and consistency is required. But it is kudos to Sritama that it has done so well, with posts and promotions undertaken as planned for almost a year.

I contributed to this early on, as part of my then role as SIG facilitator of the Regional Heritage channel on Slack.

What I liked was the freedom of format and subject matter; the interview format allowed me to learn as much about the Stepwell Atlas and DH and heritage management as it helped me contribute to the blog. In the process, I wrote more non-study related things than I had in a year, I interacted with a rather cool person, and ended up using it as a case study for a classroom discussion. The final piece was made much richer with Sritama’s nuanced understanding of what I was trying to put across, and her editorial insights during the drafts.

A couple of things I think could be done going ahead (besides the ones Sritama’s has suggested, I really like multilingual publishing):

  1. Use more pictures — the very nature of DH demands it, and I think writers, editors and all of us should be more conscious about it.
  2. Could we have excerpts of people’s papers and publications? I think that would add a lot of value, without too much effort

I think this is for all of us — we should spread the word more through some once-in-a-month effort like everyone tweets at the same time, or we send out a newsletter saying it’s been published.

Samya:

It has been a very interesting process for me as I have not handled anything like this before, that is leading the SIG on Digital Objects and Media. Therefore, the schedule of getting the write-up on time and then following it up to the eventual moment of publication has been a very good method for me to grow as well. I have always wanted to be a part of an organization like this and I am extremely fortunate for it. It has also helped me establish Electronic Literature India to help streamline the conversations a bit more. The blog also has proved to be an excellent showcase for the DH work that has been happening around the country being done by folks, often with not much institutional reach. The expressions of their research are informative and influential for me going forward. While the Slack channels prove to be more an archive of sorts for the streamlined resources and the conversations that take place, it can prove to be a good basecamp to use for our future conferences if that can be done. I am saying this because I see conferences use Slack on a huge level and I see the same possibility here. I would like to congratulate outgoing editor Sritama di for the amount of work she has put in. The formation of the monthly schedule in the initial days kept all of us going. Last but not the least, also congratulations to our new editor Sayantani. Here’s hoping we can do more interesting stuff together. Cheers!

Poonam:

It’s been a wonderful experience being the lead for Computational Analytics and Computational Humanities SIG. Discussions have involved the intersection of video games and literature, using Python for humanities projects, talks on text recognition technologies, and more. Thanks to the DHARTI blog I got the opportunity to work with Shanmugapriya and got introduced to Natural Language Toolkit (NLTK) through her fascinating article on “An Introduction to Natural Language Toolkit(NLTK): Experimenting with Indian English Short Stories”. Looking forward to more such detailed Introduction-type articles. Congratulations on this new role and all the very best, Sayantani!

Manasi:

It was an interesting and illuminating process for me! Sritama was a joy to work with, an absolute professional in the middle of some very challenging circumstances. I don’t think I would really do anything differently — I had to write about digital pedagogy, and I conducted interviews with three very different kinds of stakeholders, which was pretty fun. Perhaps a clearer overarching vision would have helped — each SIG facilitator obviously prioritizes what they feel to be most important, which makes the blog seem a little ad hoc in my opinion. But of course given the time/energy constraints of the group, I guess a little ad-hoc-ness is necessary. If I had to make a concrete recommendation, I think it would be the creation of a DHARTI manifesto and how it relates to each SIG. This would hopefully bring about more cohesion, because we’d be working towards the same goal.

New Announcement:

We now have a new SIG digital_economies. All the best to Mayank and Ishita!

Mayank Kapoor : kapoor.4@iitj.ac.in

Ishita Vyas : vyas.7@iitj.ac.in

This blog is currently lead by the coordinators of the DHARTI Special Interest Groups listed below under the guidance of DHARTI’s Interim Committee.

Outgoing Managing Editor of DHARTI Blog and Coordinator for Archives and Archiving : Sritama Chatterjee (src88@pitt.edu)

Digital Objects in Media : Samya Brata Roy (samyabrataroy@gmail.com)

Incoming Managing Editor and Coordinator of Feminist DH : Sayantani Saraswati (saraswati.2@iitj.ac.in)

Regional Heritage : Prakruti Maniar (prakruti@purplepencilproject.com)

Margins : Subhanjali Saraswati (ssubhanjali@gmail.com)

Pedagogy : Manasi Nene (manasinene42@gmail.com)

Computational Humanities and Cultural Analytics: Poonam Chowdhury (poonam.chowdhury1810@gmail.com)

Digital Economy: Mayank Kapoor (kapoor.4@iitj.ac.in) and Ishita Vyas (vyas.7@iitj.ac.in).

Open Call for Submissions:

As a team, we are actively seeking out articles on any of the areas mentioned above on DH in India. Please pitch us your articles in 100 words at dharti.medium20@gmail.com or to one of our Special Interest Group Coordinators. If we think that your pitch addresses one of the core thematic interests of DHARTI, we will invite you to submit a full-length article of about 800–1000 words which will go through a process of review and editing.

Blog of Digital Humanities Alliance for Research and Teaching Innovations(DHARTI), an initiative towards organising and facilitating digital practices in India