I knew Melissa Terras’ plenary speech was going to be good, but I wasn’t expecting it to give the reaction I experienced. It shook me to my core. In places I had goosebumps. It made me immensely proud not only to be able to say I work with Mel, I work at UCL and I work in Digital Humanities. It made me proud to hear someone so passionately describe what they believe in, what they represent. And I agreed with every single word.
You may think, I’m biased because I know and work with Mel on a daily basis. I know I am privileged. I work with not one but two of what I consider to be the best people in the field. Both Claire and Mel are so passionate about what they do and what they want to achieve and it is such an inspiring place to be.
I was concerned at the beginning of the digital humanities conference that I didn’t really belong here, everybody else appeared to know each other, there were so many papers that I didn’t understand, and I didn’t think there was anything displayed in the programme that truly represented the work that I do. But it was an opportunity to get to know more about the diverse field that I am a part of, to see what else is out there. And boy is there a lot going on in DH. Trying to digest all the information that was presented was hard going. I don’t think I will ever really understand Computer Forensics in the Archive, Linked Data, or how do to do TEI. After a couple of days, I still didn’t know if this was for me. Everyone appeared to be so comfortable with these concepts that I had only ever heard of, and nodded and smiled at, in the vain attempt of pretending to understand. There were so many intelligent presentations and questions and the prospect of standing up in front of this crowd and presenting my research was absolutely terrifying. And then the time came, Claire provided me with the best ever prep talk, as self confidence is not one of my strong points. I stood up, and I presented to a packed lecture hall, its slightly disconcerting to see people sitting on the stairs because all the seats were already taken. And it was fine, I was welcomed, I was embraced, and it was wonderful. And then if I had any doubt left in me that this wasn’t for me. Mel’s plenary happened. She took to the stage stated she was nervous. And then blew everyone away.
So, today I am proud to say; I am a member of the DH community. I am a member of the UCL Centre for Digital Humanities and we will rock you.