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Statement on the Fortier Prize from the Awards Committee

As Chair of the Awards Committee, it has in happier times been my honor on behalf of our entire membership to award the Paul Fortier Prize to the best long or short paper presentation by an early-career scholar at the annual Global Digital Humanities Conference. In this time of pandemic, we have experienced much loss and sacrifice – but I must unfortunately inform you of another such loss, as the ADHO Awards Committee have decided to decline to award the Paul Fortier Prize this year.

In more traditional years, our rigorous and time-consuming effort to select the Fortier winner was already daunting. Despite the continuing challenges of bias, diversity, ability and availability, the Committee members, appointed from each Constituent Organization, evaluated the range of submissions together to reach our decisions. Without fear of pandemic, we attended the nominated presentations together and based our decisions upon a shared set of assumptions, expectations and understandings of academic integrity and excellence.

This year, however, we faced severe challenges that made this impossible on numerous levels. Most importantly this year’s submissions comprised a range of submission formats, a volume and diversity that, while a most welcome evolution for DH scholarship, defy our traditional criteria and process. As the Committee attempted to make sense of this new virtual conference format and content it became clear that absent a clear and robust set of criteria upon which to evaluate your scholarship, any effort we made to select a single best paper would neither be fair, nor truly representative.

The Committee is dedicated to continuing its work with the ADHO leadership and conference planning groups to find ways to pave the way in evaluating and acknowledging the wide range of excellent scholarship that will be presented at future conferences (virtual and in-person). This year, the lack of a Paul Fortier Prize winner can instead serve as a marker for those losses and sacrifices that have already been demanded of us, and those which we must continue to endure and overcome together.

With wishes for our health and well-being and for us all to be together again soon,

Micki Kaufman (Chair)

Members of the ADHO Awards Committee:

  • Paul Arthur (AADH)
  • Frédéric Clavert (Humanistica)
  • Constance Crompton (CSDH/SCHN)
  • Victor Gayol (RedHD)
  • Maurizio Lana (EADH)
  • Laura Mandell (CenterNet)
  • Thomas Padilla (ACH)
  • Anusharani Sewchurrana (DHASA)
  • Tomoji Tabata (JADH)
  • Muh-Chyun (Morris) Tang (TADH)