Call for Papers: DH Benelux 2020, 3-5 June, Leiden

Dear colleague, with this call for papers we are very pleased to invite you to contribute to the DH Benelux 2020 Conference which this year will take place at Leiden University in the Netherlands, from Wednesday 3 June until Friday 5 June 2020. The seventh annual DH Benelux conference serves as a platform for the community of interdisciplinary Digital Humanities researchers to meet, present and discuss their latest research findings and to demonstrate tools and projects. This year the conference invites contributions on three themes that will constitute three parallel strands within this year’s program:

  • Theme 1: Beyond the Toolbox: The Changing Role of Digital Humanities Education 
  • Theme 2: Replication, evaluation and quantitative analysis in the DH era
  • Theme 3: True interdisciplinarity as a consequence of digital humanities – When 1+1 equals more than two

You can find the complete Call for Papers and descriptions of the themes below. We look forward to accepting your submission for consideration.

With best wishes,

The DH Benelux 2020 Organisers:

General program chair:

  • Sjef Barbiers (Leiden University)

Program co-chairs:

  • Antske Fokkens (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)
  • Christian Olesen (Utrecht University)

Local Organisers:

  • Angus Mol (Leiden University Centre for Digital Humanities)
  • Jelena Prokic (Leiden University Centre for Digital Humanities)
  • Rob Goedemans (Leiden University Centre for Digital Humanities)
  • Alison Carter (Leiden University Centre for Digital Humanities)
  • Laurents Sesink (Leiden University Libraries’ Centre for Digital Scholarship)
  • Erik Weber (Leiden University Libraries)

About the conference

The 7th DH Benelux Conference will take place on 3-5 June 2020 at Leiden University in the Netherlands. DH Benelux is an initiative that aims to further the collaboration between Digital Humanities activities in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

The call is open to all colleagues working in the humanities, the (social) sciences and heritage sectors with an interest and enthusiasm in the application and use of digital technologies. Submissions are welcome from researchers at all career stages. We particularly encourage early stage researchers (MA/PhD students and postdoctoral researchers) to submit abstracts. In addition, we welcome humanities scholars, developers, computer and information scientists as well as librarians, archivists and museum curators. The conference has a primary focus on recent advances concerning research activities in the Benelux as well as data- or research projects related to Belgium, The Netherlands, and Luxembourg. However, proposals from outside the Benelux are strongly encouraged as well.


We accept abstracts written in English and in any official language of the Benelux. Note that abstracts written and/or presented in any other language than English will likely limit the impact of your message.

Key dates

  • Deadline for submitting abstracts: Monday 11 March (23:59 CET)
  • Notification of acceptance: early April

Call details

We invite submissions of abstracts on any aspect of Digital Humanities: practical experimentation, theorising, cross- and multidisciplinary work, and new and relevant developments. This year the three central themes are:

Theme 1: Beyond the Toolbox: The Changing Role of Digital Humanities Education

In their relatively short history, computationally-driven humanities curricula have already seen a wide range of developments and challenges. One thing, however, has remained a constant: the idea, held by some people in the field and many outside it, that DH education is about teaching technical skills and computational tools, rather than providing students with new perspectives on human culture.

The perception of DH as toolbox-based education is both at odds with the humanist roots of the field and the diversity of DH educational content and forms. Indeed, DH education can and is providing its own and much-needed answers to the large issues brought about by the increasing digital entanglement of our educational systems and societies.

Papers in this strand will ask and answer such questions as:

  • How do you create support among non-digital specialists (staff and students) for DH training that goes beyond teaching ‘toolboxes’?
  • Should DH programmes engage with current societal developments, such as the ever-larger looming presence of tech giants, and if so, how?
  • Is the (predicted) advent of the post-digital university meaningfully changing DH education and, if so, how?
  • How do you teach groups of students with evermore heterogeneous interests and training in computational tools and thinking?
  • How can we teach a sustainable Digital Humanities?
  • Do we need to adapt DH pedagogy in order to get (more) students to investigate the nature of their ‘natively’ digital landscapes?

These are just some of the questions that shape the current role of the Digital Humanities beyond the toolbox. The organizers of this strand invite applicants to bring their own specific set of questions and challenges and present their own answers and opportunities. Papers will discuss insights gained through practice or showcase particular pedagogical strategies or course designs, yet present ideas, teaching advice, or tools that are of interest to a wide range of DH teaching situations

Theme 2: Replication, evaluation and quantitative analysis in the DH era

DH tools are developed for a specific purpose but can often be reused in different contexts or for different purposes. The appropriateness of tools depends on the research questions you have, the methods you use and the data it is used on, which requires evaluating those tools. Replication of research is important to establish how robust your findings are. Replication means redoing the initial research in an alternative, independent way. Some aspects of DH research can be replicated relatively easily, some require extensive documentation to be able to replicate and some are almost impossible to replicate. 

Proposals for this strand should describe how tools developed and used have been evaluated, i.e. whether this is done on the specific research data and in the context of the research questions of the proposal, or by others on e.g. standard benchmark data. In the latter case, proposals should describe how the evaluation setup relates to the research in the proposal. Moreover, we encourage proposals to describe and address what parts of the research can (not) be replicated and what the potential value of replication is.

Theme 3: True interdisciplinarity as a consequence of digital humanities – When 1+1 equals more than two

Digital humanities research often brings researchers from radically different disciplines together. This can result in challenges: venues focusing on digital humanities are very diverse and researchers often also hope for results that are interesting for their respective disciplines. But how to achieve results that receive recognition from researchers in a particular field? How to avoid that scientists with a technical background become tool builders? Or, for example, that a humanities scholar is not taken seriously when reporting on automatically extracted results? Ideally, the scholar’s research question requires solutions or analyses that yield relevant research questions for the scientist. In return, the scientist can further develop analytical tools and methods that provide new insights to the scholar. What we aim for is synergy: where combining expertise provides new insights, methods and questions, for individual fields that participate and beyond. This thematic strand of the 2020 edition of DH Benelux particularly welcomes contributions that reflect on aspects of synergy. It welcomes work that illustrates both how synergy can enrich several fields as well as discussions on current challenges for particular disciplines within digital humanities.


For DH Benelux 2020 we welcome six types of proposals: (1) long papers; (2) short project introductions; (3) round tables; (4) posters and; (5) application / tool demonstrations. Abstracts should clearly state the title and name and affiliation of the authors and presenters, if you have one please include your twitter username too. Also indicate for which presentation category (or categories) and thematic strand you are submitting your proposal. The word length is dependent on the proposal you submit, see details below. References and/or bibliography are excluded from the word count. Proposals may contain graphics and illustrations.

  • Long papers (abstracts of 1000 words, paper presentation 20 mins + 10 mins for discussion) are suitable for presenting empirical work, theorising, cross- and multidisciplinary work, research methods and concise theoretical arguments. The research presented in a long paper should be completed or in the final stages of development. The research its stage of completion must be clearly stated in the abstract.
  • Short papers (abstracts of 500 words, paper presentation 10 mins + 5 mins for discussion) are well- suited for reporting on early stage and ongoing research, as well as new project presentations, technical details and the results of practical experimentation and proof of concepts.
  • Round tables (abstracts of 1000 words) which bring together a group of practitioners/ researchers (ideally both) to discuss particular methodological and/ or epistemological challenges.
  • Posters (abstracts of 500 words) are particularly suited for detailed technical explanations and clarifications, and for the show and tell of projects and research alike.
  • Demonstrations (abstracts of 500 words) of prototypes, finished software, hardware technology, tools, datasets, digital publications and so forth.

The abstracts will be peer-reviewed by the DH Benelux 2020 Programme Committee and published on the DH Benelux 2020 website. Authors of accepted abstracts will be invited to submit a full research article for the DH Benelux Journal. A separate call for journal submissions will be made after the conference.

Submission procedure

You can submit contributions via EasyChair.