Last week at Digital Humanities Benelux 2022, I had the pleasure of working with colleagues from the Digital Humanities Climate Coalition and Historians for Future to run a workshop on ‘Greening DH’. It was a productive and generative session, and I thank all attendees for their contributions and reflections. Towards the end of the workshop, Lea Beiermann asked us to consider actions we would commit to taking one week, one month, and one year from the workshop.
This post is my ‘one week’ and ‘one month’ commitments rolled together: to share in public the reading list for my Data Environmentalism module, and to collect together my DH climate actions in one blog post (as for my one year commitment, that is to mention the Digital Humanities Climate Coalition in every talk I give – which I think I’m on track for!).
So, my DH related climate actions thus far, in roughly chronological order, have been:
- Working with former colleagues at the Sussex Humanities Lab to develop and publish an environmental strategy and a report on climate crisis oriented work in the Digital Humanities.
- Co-authoring ‘Digital Humanities and the Climate Crisis: a manifesto’, winner of the 2021 DH Award for ‘Best Exploration of DH Failure/Limitations‘
- Jointly organising a ‘Greening Digital Humanities‘ workshop in November 2021.
- Co-founding the Digital Humanities Climate Coalition and leading the Information, Measurement and Practice Group. The first output from this group was published in April 2022:
- DHCC Information, Measurement and Practice Action Group. (2022). A Researcher Guide to Writing a Climate Justice-Oriented Data Management Plan (v0.6). Zenodo. doi: 10.5281/zenodo.6451499
- Proposing and designing the module ‘Data Environmentalism’ as a new elective module at University of Southampton. The reading list for this module (which will run for the first time in Autumn 2022) is available here.
- At Southampton Digital Humanities, supervising two student intern projects that explore the intersection of information technologies and climate crisis. The first, led by Samuel Pegg, led to the publication of Small Scales and Large Impacts, an interactive storytelling experience – playable at the Southampton DH Hub and on itch.io – that seeks to empower the small-scale decisions we make about the environment that have the potential to have large impacts. The second, led by Marta Bania, culminated in another creative output: a small plant ‘dressed’ in 3d printer waste to foreground our awareness of the link between digital technologies and resource extraction/proliferation.
- Supporting Luke Aspland, our Digital Humanities Technician at University of Southampton, in developing our ‘Equipment Purchase Policy: Sustainability and Resource Cost’ in March 2022. This policy embeds Sustainability Performance Indicators into our decision making for equipment purchases. As many of the technologies at Southampton Digital Humanities were purchased prior to the development of the policy, we are gradually auditing those historic purchases, and are using this process to inform future decision making.