Call for volunteers for ADHO Anti-racism Task Force

ADHO seeks to draw in and draw on the global DH community, with its strong commitment to and advocacy for social justice. We seek to engage community expertise and desire for change to help ADHO take action on the intersecting concerns articulated in our statement on Black Lives Matter, Structural Racism, and Establishment Violence.

ADHO seeks the help of the Anti-structural-racism Task Force to develop a strategy that will: 1) reach every component of the organization, with a focus on the ways in which ADHO activities and policies affect individuals; 2) engage the wider DH community through a range of channels; 3) seek pathways to gathering both experiential narratives and measurable data to identify problems that can be targeted and addressed over time, iteratively; and 4) work towards the commitments to action made in the statement. We recognize that not all of the tasks will be undertaken by the Task Force; that some may be undertaken by the EB, the COB, or in collaboration with the COs; and that they cannot all be achieved within the 2-year time frame.

Context

This ADHO initiative emerges from the Statement on Black Lives Matter, Structural Racism, and Establishment Violence issued on July 18, 2020. As noted in the recent general ADHO update, the attempt to contract with a consultant for the breadth of engagement perceived as necessary by the ADHO Constituent Organization Board to meet the terms of our commitment to the community was unsuccessful.

ADHO has decided to adopt an alternative approach to starting with an arms-length business-oriented audit involving mainly the organization’s Executive Board (EB) and Constituent Organization Board (COB). Via an Anti-structural-racism Working Group, the COB will invite members of the broader DH community to form a Task Force to initiate a broader conversation beyond the EB/COB and help decide how best to use funds for external expertise or assistance.

The Task Force will be asked to draw on the Resources and Tools for Nonprofits offered by Anti-Racist Organizational Change offered by the nonprofit group CommunityWise, as well as other such resources suggested by community members, to devise a plan for emergent change based on community engagement and on the expertise already held amongst members of the community in areas such as social justice work, survey-making, and community engagement.

ADHO Anti-structural-racism Working Group

 

Membership:

The ADHO Working Group is comprised of Susan Brown (ADHO COB President-Elect, co-ordinator), Kathleen Fitzpatrick (ACH representative), Isabel Galina (ADHO COB President, ex officio), Fatiha Idmhand (ADHO COB Secretary, ex officio), Hannah Jacobs (ADHO Communications Officer), and Cecily Raynor (ADHO Multilingualism and Multiculturalism Committee Chair).

The initial term of membership is two years from September 2021, with the possibility for renewal no more than once to ensure turnover in the Working Group. Newly added COB members are welcome to join the Working Group, and may take the place of existing members.

 

Roles and responsibilities:

The ADHO Working Group will support the work of the Anti-Structural Racism Task Force.

The Working Group will review volunteer expressions of interest in serving on the Anti-Structural Racism Task Force with a view to being inclusive and to creating a Task Force that is compact enough to be functional. In the fortunate event that there are many volunteers, the Working Group will form a larger Advisory Committee alongside a Task Force, in the hopes of engaging all volunteers. Should selection for the Task Force be necessary, the Working Group will consider the diversity of background of the volunteer, the depth and nature of past involvement in DH as an academic pursuit (not favouring those with past involvement in ADHO activities or events), and past involvement and expertise in EDI (equity, diversity, and inclusion), anti-discrimination, or social justice work. In the event of a shortage of expressions of interest, or in order to achieve greater diversity among Task Force members, members of the Working Group may approach individuals and encourage them to apply.

The Working Group will liaise and advocate on behalf of the Task Force with the Constituent Organization Board (COB) on policy matters, and with the Executive Board (EB) on practical matters. It will work to provide necessary background and context--for instance regarding ADHO’s governance structure, the relationship between ADHO and the Constituent Organizations (COs), and the roles associated with the annual Digital Humanities conference--and to provide access to any non-confidential information requested by the Task Force.

The Working Group will facilitate processes with respect to communications via ADHO channels, the allocation of funds to support Task Force activities, and the governance steps needed to make changes to processes and policies. It will seek to enlist the assistance of COB representatives in liaising with the Constituent Organizations themselves who are the most common point of contact with individual members of the ADHO community.

The Working Group may change its name to parallel that of the Task Force, if the latter adopts a new name, to indicate their relationship. The initial term of the Working Group will be two years, at which time, taking into account the recommendation of the Task Force, the ADHO COB will decide whether to extend the Working Group’s term or take some other action, such as converting it to a standing committee or disbanding it. These and the above aspects of the Working Group may be modified in response to the support framework requested by the Task Force.

Anti-Structural Racism Task Force

The initial term of the Task Force will be two years, at which time, taking into account the recommendation of the Task Force, the ADHO COB will decide whether to extend its term (if Task Force members are willing) or take some other action such as converting it to a standing committee or disbanding it.

 

Mandate of task force

The Task Force is mandated to help ADHO devise a plan for moving forward on the 9 commitments made in the Statement on Black Lives Matter, Structural Racism, and Establishment Violence, as outlined above at the start of this call.

This mandate does not preclude hiring consultants. The process may involve compensating individuals for additional time and energy, for instance hiring a student fellow to assist with a specific initiative or activity. Possible initiatives include devising a survey of the DH community to inform the Task Force’s priorities, or organizing workshops or training that would include working group members alongside the EB and COB so there is a common frame of reference and basis for discussions going forwards. Because existing structures are implicated in the problem, the COB does not want to be overly directive, and invites the Task Force to establish its own parameters and mode of going forward, in dialogue with and relying on the Anti-Structural-Racism Working Group to the extent that it chooses.

The Task Force will:

  • Operate with relative independence from the ADHO EB and COB, which will provide information, support, and consultation as the task force requests but will not manage its operations
  • Reach beyond current ADHO members
  • Decide on roles and responsibilities within the task force
  • Decide on whether to adopt a new name
  • Decide its scope, bearing in mind the limitations of ADHO’s own scope of operations as an international professional organization of professional organizations
  • Decide its modes of engagement and reporting
  • Operate in a transparent manner, reporting to the Working Group and to the ADHO community quarterly on activities
  • Operate for two years, after which it should be extended, disbanded, or reshaped.

 

Budget

The Task Force will have a working budget of 7,000 Euros.

These funds may be allocated for the following purposes:

  • To hire consultants to provide workshops for the Task Force, and/or Working Group, COB, EB, or the general ADHO community.
  • To hire consultants or students with appropriate expertise to produce, execute, and analyze surveys or interviews.
  • To provide assistance in preparing reports and recommendations.
  • Other purposes as determined in consultation with the Working Group.
  • The Working Group will approve the allocation of funds as decided by the Task Force.
  • Requests for additional funds will require approval of the ADHO COB as part of the 2023 budget.

 

Proposed Timeframe

  • December 2, 2021: Call for volunteers for Task Force, followed by selection by Working Group, including potential follow up communications to prospective volunteers
  • January 10, 2022: Expressions of interest sent to edi@adho.org
  • January 31, 2022: Task Force announced
  • February 2022: Task Force meetings commence
  • March 31, 2022: Task Force terms of reference established and listening process commenced
  • May 2022: Task Force report to the community on initial outcomes of the listening process and progress to date. Listening process may continue alongside other activities.
  • June 2022: Task Force proposes a plan to accomplish the remaining action items from the Statement and shares with COB and EB for review and discussion
  • July 2022: Open panel discussion of Task Force plan at DH2022; proposed Task Force plan forms major component of ADHO COB agenda to establish commitment, resources, and order of priorities

Call for volunteers

The Anti-structural-racism Working Group therefore calls for volunteers who are committed to helping ADHO address matters of structural racism.

  • We are seeking members who are demonstrably involved in the DH community as students, scholars, or professionals.
  • You need not be a member of an ADHO Constituent Organization to participate.
  • We ask that you write a brief statement of about 100 words indicating why you are interested in contributing to ADHO’s anti-structural racism efforts, and what skills, background, or contribution you would anticipate being able to make.

We ask interested volunteers please to respond by 10 January 2022 to edi@adho.org.