Honoring our Experience as Rationale for Cancellation
The annual Digital Humanities Showcase and Electronic Literature Competition is the culminating moment of DH@SDSU’s academic year. Part celebration of the DH projects faculty and students create in diverse classes across campus, part celebration of our DH staff and their year long labors, our showcase is all celebration. We come together– hundreds of us– in the DH Center to share, learn, and be together.
But, these are strange times.
When Covid hit, we were forced to cancel our 2020 showcase.
A year later, we now make the deliberate decision to cancel our 2021 showcase.
While we are eager to celebrate the wonderful DH work that our community undertook during the pandemic, the virtual cannot replace the joy of coming together face-to-face in the DH Center. Moreover, we want to hold tight to our guiding principle of the year: work less, care more.
As the global pandemic continued, we experimented with creative ways to maintain our DH work and community. We created teachdh.sdsu.edu to support faculty teaching online with a curated collection of pedagogical resources; we organized virtual book talks and tools workshops to continue learning together; we expanded our social media presence to spotlight our community and foster communication. And, yes, we considered holding an online showcase (a virtual event or series of virtual pop-ups, perhaps) in lieu of our in-person party.
After careful thought, we have decided that the way to honor our community is to not ask more of our weary faculty; not to ask our students to take the lesser option once again. Instead, we acknowledge the continued and cumulative effects of pandemic anxiety, Zoom fatigue, and the myriad of life stressors this past year has wrought.
We will postpone our 2021 showcase and hold a huge, glorious three-year (2020, 2021, 2022) celebration next spring wherein we will invite recent alum and current students to gather, in person and online, to share their work in ways that honor our collective experiences and renew our community, taking steps towards a better future.
Jessica Pressman & Pam Lach, DH@SDSU Co-Directors