Keynote Speakers

Chao Tayiana Maina

History is hiding – Digital humanities and the formulation of historical empathy in archival practice

The process of historical inquiry provides researchers the opportunity to ask, locate and analyse history through multiple lenses. Within this inquiry emerges the central role of empathy within historical practice. The ability to not just relate with a person, event or circumstance but rather to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for the circumstances and context surrounding a particular event or period in time.

When working with archives, particularly colonial archives this process of inquiry and empathy formulation is inextricably linked to unpacking the colonial gaze. Ethiopian author Maaza Mengiste describes these archives as “their own versions of history; they are preserved memories, but what exactly did they preserve and what were they trying to force us to overlook or forget?”

As more and more institutions and audiences gravitate towards sharing and accessing archives online, how do we go beyond the obvious to extract from these records that which is unseen and unsaid but still there in plain sight? More so, can widespread digital access, digital dissemination bring with it a more critical approach to analysis of archives from the colonial period. History is hiding everywhere – This talk will explore the ways in which digital tools can shape the process of historical inquiry and by so doing formulate pathways towards historical empathy and critical analysis of colonial archives.

Chao Tayiana Maina is a Kenyan digital heritage specialist and digital humanities scholar working at the intersection of culture and technology. Her work primarily focuses on the application of technology in the preservation, engagement and dissemination of African heritage.

She is the founder of African Digital Heritage, a co-founder of the Museum of British Colonialism and a co-founder of the Open Restitution Africa project. All of which are online initiatives seeking to  encourage a more critical, holistic and knowledge-based approach to the design and implementation of digital solutions within African cultural heritage.. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, Reuters, BBC news, BBC Arts, Ntv, KBC and 3Sat.

She holds an MSc International Heritage Visualisation (distinction) and a BSc Mathematics and Computer Science. Her research work explored the possibilities of embedding intangible histories in 3D digital environments.  She is also a recipient of the Google Anita Borg scholarship for women in technology.

Gimena del Rio Riande

Equity in Digital Access and Digital Humanities in Latin America

Over the past ten years, and due to many different reasons, we have witnessed the emergence of a global community interested in the Digital Humanities. But, what do we mean when we say ‘global’? Global and globalization belong to the same word family: the term ‘global’ refers both to the processes and to the results of globalization, and what we call globalization is always the successful globalization of one particular localism (De Sousa Santos, 2012). Evidently, at the same time something global expands, it excludes. In the Digital Humanities, conferences, maps, programs and publications aim to establish a global community, using technology as a key element capable of bringing together researchers from different latitudes. A techno-utopic discourse, in which technology is neutral and can itself unilaterally solve many social problems (Mboa 2020), has been part of the development of DH tools and projects.

However, a weighted reflection on who holds the power in the scholarly communications ecosystem and how it can reinforce cognitive capitalism (Moulier Boutang, 2007) is still needed: Digital Humanities replicate these inequities. Sharing standards, such as the Text Encoding Initiative, or multilingual tools, such as Voyant Tools, are a very good start for building community, but this does not imply equity in access to education, research or technology. Furthermore, the situated element –the use of a language to communicate science or the different disciplinary traditions– stains any global perspective with different local colors.

How can we fairly define the Global Digital Humanities? Is there a difference in defining the Global Digital Humanities from North or South? How do we build a local field and, at the same time, collaborate with the world? This talk looks at the Global Digital Humanities from a Latin American perspective. It focuses on discussing Latin American based practices and experiences of open scholarly production and knowledge exchange that can collaborate with strategies for positively transforming and opening Digital Humanities on a global scale.  

Dr. Gimena del Rio Riande is an Associate Researcher at the Instituto de Investigaciones Bibliográficas y Crítica Textual (IIBICRIT-CONICET, Argentina) and Professor at the University of Buenos Aires. She holds a MA and PhD in Romance Philology (Universidad Complutense de Madrid). Her main academic interests deal with Digital Humanities, Digital Scholarly Editions and Open Research Practices in the Humanites.

She is the director of the Laboratorio de Humanidades Digitales HD CAICYT LAB (CONICET), director of the first Digital Humanities postgraduate course in Argentina (UCES) and co-director of the Master in Digital Humanities (UNED, Spain). She is one of the DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals) Ambassadors for Latin America and co-director of the first Digital Humanities journal in Spanish (Revista de Humanidades Digitales, RHD). She is the president of the Asociación Argentina de Humanidades Digitales (AAHD), and co-founder of the Laboratorio de Innovación en Humanidades Digitales (LINHD, UNED) and the Red Argentina de Educación Abierta (AREA).