ADHO Announces New Steering Committee Chair

On November 11, John Nerbonne tendered his resignation as ADHO Steering Committee Chair in order to make way for new leadership.

John was unanimously elected Chair of the Steering Committee (SC) at our Lausanne meetings in the summer of 2014, while serving as Chair of the Conference Coordinating Committee.  The minutes of that meeting note that John's brief words of acceptance focused primarily on his goal of bringing new and diverse communities into ADHO, a cause for which he has worked tirelessly and on many fronts.

The record of the SC over the past several years reflects John's numerous and important contributions to ADHO. Among his many other accomplishments during his tenure on the SC was the hard work he did to formalize the formation of the ADHO Foundation as a legal entity in the Netherlands—a crucial step in the organization's evolution—and his dogged pursuit of all the reforms envisioned as part of ADHO’s multi-year strategic planning process.  Just a few weeks ago John convened a small but important summit to move that process forward yet again.

We look forward to his continuing collegial presence in Digital Humanities, of course as a member of the informal fellowship of past SC Chairs that does so much to inform our work, but also in an advisory capacity for the complex reforms now underway. And above all, we would like to thank John for his long service to ADHO and the Digital Humanities generally.

A new chair was elected on November 20: Karina van Dalen-Oskam. More about her can be found on Below goes her first message to all involved in or interested in ADHO.

Dear fellow digital humanists,

I have just been informed that I have been elected as the new Chair of the ADHO Steering Committee, to serve for the remainder of the current term, ending at DH2016 in Krakow. I will try to serve ADHO as best as I can as interim Chair.

What I love about ADHO, and Digital Humanities in general, is that all people involved share the wish for innovation and collaboration. Innovation in our research, through collaboration with others – and best of all, with more and more diverse others. We want to draw everybody in, and want to make everybody feel welcome. That is a good thing. However, in the last few weeks, we found out the hard way that we deal with significant cultural differences in our ever-growing world-wide organization. Communication strategies that work well in one culture can be harmful and counterproductive in others. The good thing is that we have representatives of many different cultures in our midst, who can help in finding out the best ways to go forward.

The first thing I have asked the Steering Committee to do, is to establish a protocol or a set of rules/guidelines for dealing with these fundamental cultural issues. We will not be the only organization that runs into this kind of problems. I have asked all members of the Steering Committee to do some research, and I would welcome input from others as well. Can you find guidelines that we could adopt/adapt for ADHO? Do colleagues from other international organizations have suggestions based on their own experience? Are there policy makers who can help? Please send your material and your own suggestions to me personally at I will gather all information and together with the Steering Committee decide on which rules to follow for the remainder of my term. When we have selected a proper set of guidelines we will return to dealing with our daily business – and with a much better chance of success. I’d like to receive your ideas on Monday November 30 at the latest.

You can mail me in the following languages (in order of preference): Dutch, English, German, Afrikaans, French. I will answer you in Dutch or English. I wish I had the time to add more of your languages to my short list. As you know, I am not a native speaker of English. This means that if you read something strange or funny in my messages, that is probably due to my non-native English. And if you would feel insulted by my words – then something has really gone wrong language-wise and/or culture-wise! In that case, please contact me personally, so I can take away any worries or explain in a better way what I meant.

I am very much looking forward to collaborating with all of you.

Yours sincerely,

Karina van Dalen-Oskam