Context: What if we stopped using the terms “diversity” and “accessibility” and started using the term “inclusion” instead? Or what if we started using “inclusion” in addition to the other terms? One reason would be strategic, creating alliance among groups that might otherwise remain disparate. Another reason would be to move our conversations from discussions of abstract qualities (Is your field diverse? Are your resources accessible?) to discussions of concrete actions (What are you doing to include people? And what are you doing to exclude people?)
Environment Scan: I’m not the only one thinking about the importance of inclusion:
- In January of this year, THATCamp SoCal featured a session titled “Towards an Open Digital Humanities” (Some notes from that session are online as a Google Doc)
- The theme for the 2011 Digital Humanities conference is “Big Tent Digital Humanities“
- And for THATCamp CHNM 2011 this weekend, a number of Campers are interested in addressing topics that I would argue are about the issue of inclusion:
- James Neal would like us to have “an honest and open discussion regarding diversity in the digital humanities“
- Chad Black is concerned with “ethics, power, advocacy, technique“
- Cory Bohon suggests a talk about and a workshop addressing accessibility for people with disabilities
- Sheila Brennan asks us to consider how documentation–or the lack thereof–affects the core audiences for our projects
- Christina Jenkins turns our attention to the primary and secondary school environment
- Undergraduate research and the digital humanities is the concern of both Tonya Howe and Sarah Werner
- There are probably more session proposals that I’ve overlooked. (Please feel free to suggest more connections in the comments below.)
Clearly, it seems to me, there’s something in the water. . .
Proposal: I propose that we approach these issues in two ways.
- First, let’s yack about what the barriers to inclusion are so that we understand more fully what’s at issue. Several of the sessions already proposed are exactly the kind of yacking I’m thinking about.
- Second, let’s hack away at those barriers. And I use the term “hack” to mean “a good workaround” or “a good-enough solution.” Sometimes a “hack” will involve the use of technology, but sometimes it will not. A given hack could be put together during THATCampCHNM 2011 or it could be planned as an ongoing task/project with a life beyond this unconference.