‘Winter Institute in Digital Humanities’ formally inaugurated today at IIT Gandhinagar

Gandhinagar: ‘Winter Institute in Digital Humanities’ (WIDH) – an international workshop jointly designed and offered by the Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar (IITGN) and the University of Saskatchewan (USask) was formally inaugurated today morning at IITGN campus. About 40 scholars, postgraduate students, researchers in Humanities & Social Sciences, media professionals, and freelancers from all over the country are participating in this fortnight-long workshop to deliberate and reflect on various aspects of digital studies.

Prof Arnapurna Rath, a Faculty Member Humanities and Social Sciences at IIT Gandhinagar, and Organiser of this workshop welcomed the guests and the participants and gave a thematic introduction of the Winter Institute. She presented the philosophy that drives a complete interdisciplinary approach that combines technology with humanities, social sciences, and media related questions.

Prof Jim Clifford, a Faculty Member in History at the University of Saskatchewan, and Lead Collaborator of WIDH gave the context of the workshop and explained how everybody has become digital scholar now, with the enormous use of Google, internet archives, all kinds of digital tools and databases.

Prof Raj Srinivasan, a Faculty Member in Mathematics & Statistics, University of Saskatchewan, and Mentor for WIDH workshop said, “IITGN is one of the proudest international partners of University of Saskatchewan. It is a great accomplishment for IITGN as a technical institution to organise institutes on topics such as global health, social justice, and now digital humanities.”

Speaking as the Guest-of-Honour, Dr Prachi Kaul, Director, Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute, SICI India Office said, “The idea and nuances of digital humanities that are going to be discussed in these two weeks’ time will build up young minds, integrate arts, humanities and social science, help the participants take this knowledge forward, and open opportunities in life.” She encouraged participants to understand and be open to the diverse range of thoughts emerging from different academic perspectives. She congratulated both the institutions for organising this kind of workshop.

Prof Sudhir K. Jain, Director, IIT Gandhinagar, and Patron of Winter Institute in Digital Humanities, Chaired the session. Giving his inaugural speech, Prof Jain emphasised on the fact that how IITGN as a young institution has focused on its core strengths such as youth, ambition, hope and opportunity to create something new. “Interdisciplinarity, breaking silos, transparency and inclusivity have been guiding values at IITGN. This winter school encompasses all the things that IITGN believes in. It is focused on students, it is interdisciplinary, and inclusive of a diversity of students from across the country.” He encouraged students to learn digital humanities from global faculty and 23 speakers from across India.

The Winter Institute is slated to function from December 8 to 22, 2019. It is supported by the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute and Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) Government of India. The focal areas of this workshop are textual scholarship, social media and ethics, theories of digital media, network society, digital archiving, open-access digital scholarship, digital tools, project management, diversity and digital humanities, text encoding initiatives, Geographic Information System (GIS), and Spatial Humanities.