System/Système D: Improvising Digital Scholarship
On May 18, 2018, the Lewis & Ruth Sherman Centre for Digital Scholarship, McMaster University hosted System/Système D: Improvising Digital Scholarship, the inaugural graduate student conference on digital scholarship. This conference brought together a community of graduate students whose research moves beyond the traditional boundaries in academic fields, artistic settings, and industrial applications.
Digital scholarship brings new ideas and novel technologies to the table, and, as a result, unexpected challenges often arise. The ability to improvise, therefore, is an essential skill in the digital scholar’s repertoire especially when navigating uncharted waters and searching for innovative solutions. Emerging digital scholars are thus driven to connect, engage, and share their accomplishments in order to stimulate the creativity needed to tackle these problems.
Conference attendees found a social and inclusive environment that encouraged participation and fostered interdisciplinary collaboration. Attendees were expected to respect the race, gender, sexual orientation, and dis/ability of all participants. Pronoun tags were made available at the event. A quiet room was located near the conference space.
The conference welcomed bilingual submissions (English and French) and was structured to encourage diversity of formats, including but not limited to posters, podium talks, exhibitions, and demonstrations. This format was intended to provide a unique opportunity for graduate students to showcase both the research successes and setbacks they encounter throughout the journey.
As the field of digital scholarship often slips between the cracks because of its interdisciplinary nature, it is important to provide a space for digital scholars to network, learn, and draw inspiration from ongoing projects. Furthermore, the establishment of a dedicated digital scholarship conference showcased McMaster’s active research community by engaging in the growing momentum of digital scholarship in Canada.