Category Archives: Events


Number Made Audible, Made Digital: An introduction to digital musicology

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Coming up in our Digital Research Seminar Series: a talk by Dr. Francis Yapp, Lecturer in Music.

It is often said that music is the last of the arts to adopt new stylistic trends. In a similar vein, the discipline of musicology has been relatively late in adopting digital methodologies. However, the inherently mathematical nature of music makes it naturally suited to digital encoding and analysis. In recent years, a number of new methodologies, approaches, and projects have arisen, which use digital technologies and computational tools to answer long-standing musicological questions, as well as allowing scholars to pose new ones. In this seminar, Dr. Yapp will explore key developments in digital musicology, including the Music Encoding Initiative (MEI), and examine several ongoing projects based in Denmark, the UK, Canada, and Australia. This seminar will both shed light on what digital musicology can offer its sister disciplines in the humanities, and explore what it can learn from them.

When: Monday 12 October, 11am-12.30pm
Where: Psyc/Soci 151

Digital Research Seminar#9 poster

Parsing Parliament: Parliament’s proceedings as speech, text and data

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The next talk in our digital research seminar series is by Political Science PhD candidate Geoff Ford. Geoff will discuss construction of a corpus of New Zealand Parliamentary Debates, what can be learned from the corpus about Parliament’s proceedings, and how political parties are using Parliament. He will discuss and illustrate a range of ways of approaching analysis of the text of parliamentary speeches (including basic programmatic parsing, techniques from corpus linguistics, and topic modelling) and some of the associated problems. Geoff will also reflect on his transition from working as a software developer to PhD candidate and the importance of remaining critical when the rhetoric of new technology combines with the rhetoric of academia.

Time: Monday 5 October, 11am-12.30pm

Place: Psych/Soci 151

Digital Research Seminar#8 poster

Print Past. Digital Present. Predictable Future? Where will digital technology take the college of arts in the 21st century?

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Next week’s digital research seminar is being given by our Head of School, Professor Paul Millar.

Paul will discuss his involvement in Digital Humanities activities going back to the early 1990s, and outline the often unpredictable trajectory of some of the projects he has been involved with. He will argue that the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities are equipped to offer a unique and vital perspective on the digital zeitgeist, but that responding fully to the opportunities and challenges faced by connected 21st century societies requires that these disciplines develop a more-than-superficial understanding of the digital.

When: Monday 21 September, 11am – 12.30pm
Where: Psyc/Soci 151

Digital Research Seminar#7 poster







Using Omeka Collections for Teaching and Research: Case Studies from Art History

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Our next upcoming seminar will describe two Omeka projects, developed by the Art History Department and supported by Digital Humanities. Barbara Garrie will describe her use of Omeka for teaching, and Richard Bullen will provide an overview of his Omeka research archive, which supports his Marsden funded project ‘China, Art, and Cultural Diplomacy’. James Smithies will explain the role Digital Humanities had in setting up and helping maintain the two projects.

Time: Monday 14 September, 11am-12.30pm
Place: Psych/Soci 151

Digital Research Seminar#6 poster

From Acetate Disc to Annotated Digital Archive: Tracking Sound Changes Through The History of NZ English

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We are delighted to announce that at our next seminar Professor Jen Hay (New Zealand Institute for Language, Brain and Behavior), winner of the 2015 University of Canterbury Research Medal, will give a talk about the LaBB-Cat software created at UC for managing and researching large annotated collections of transcribed audio. As usual, the talk is on Monday (31st August) in Psyc/Soci 151 at 11am – 12.30pm.

Digital Research Seminar#4 poster

Access, Description and Digital Presence / Steampunk Aestheticism

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Next week’s seminar is in two parts. In part one, Dr Joanna Cobley (History, UC), Caroline Sydall (Macmillan Brown Library), and Melissa McMullan (UC Arts Intern) outline a project to arrange, describe and assess the Macmillan Brown Library’s Theatre & Concert Programme Ephemera Collection. In part two, Joanna will describe her current project investigating the virtual and lived experiences of women Steampunk creators and consumers situated in post-apocalyptic Christchurch.

Digital Research Seminar#3 poster

A Conversation with Professor Harold Short, April 8th 2014

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The UC Digital Humanities Programme is pleased to announce ‘A Conversation with Professor Harold Short’, Professor of Digital Humanities at King’s College London and the University of Western Sydney. This is an excellent opportunity for anyone interested in the Digital Humanities to discuss the present and future of this exciting field with one of the most experienced and respected practitioners in the world. All welcome.

When: April 8th, 2014, 3.30 – 4.30 pm.

Where: University of Canterbury, History Building, room 508.

Harold Short is Professor of Humanities Computing at King’s College London, and a Visiting Professor at the University of Western Sydney in the newly established Digital Humanities Research Group, which is based in the School of Humanities and Communication Arts. At King’s, Professor Short founded and directed the Centre for Computing in the Humanities, now the Department of Digital Humanities, of which he was the Head until his retirement in 2010.

He is a former Chair of both the European Association for Digital Humanities (formerly the Association for Literary and Linguistic Computing), and the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organisations in which he has a continuing role in supporting the development of digital humanities associations world-wide. He is a general editor of the Ashgate series <Digital Research in the Arts and Humanities>.

During his time at King’s he was involved in the development of three MA programmes in the Digital Humanities: Digital Humanities, Digital Culture and Society and Digital Asset Management. He worked with Willard McCarty and other colleagues in developing the world’s first PhD programme in Digital Humanities, launched in 2005.

At King’s he also played a major role in a number of large-scale inter-disciplinary research projects, and his continuing research focus is on the collaborative space at the discipline boundaries. He is also keenly interested in the institutional structures to support such collaborations, and in the development of a truly global community of digital humanities scholars and activities.

Visiting Fellow, Dr. Eric Meyer, Oxford Internet Institute

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The UC Digital Humanities Programme and School of Humanities and Creative Arts is pleased to welcome Dr. Eric Meyer, from the Oxford Internet Institute. Eric is staying with us as a Canterbury / Erskine Fellow. See below for his open lectures.

Dr Meyer is a Senior Research Fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford. His research in the field of social informatics focuses on the changing nature of knowledge creation across the sciences, social sciences, arts, and humanities as technology is embedded in everyday practices. His research has included both qualitative and quantitative work with marine biologists, genetics researchers, physicists, digital humanities scholars, social scientists using big data, theatre artists, librarians, and organizations involved in computational approaches to research.

His work has been published in a variety of journals, books, and conference proceedings, most of which are available on his website ( He is also a frequent speaker at conferences around the world, including keynote addresses in Florence, Aberdeen, Prague, The Hague, Leeds, and elsewhere, and has given invited lectures at universities including Harvard, Cambridge, King’s, Edinburgh, Chalmers, Borås, Dalhousie, Rensselaer, Sheffield, Bath, Southampton, Canterbury New Zealand, and others.

Dr Meyer’s research has received funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the European Commission, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Jisc, Nesta, RIN, and others. Dr Meyer earned his PhD in information science, specializing in social informatics, at Indiana University, where his award-winning dissertation examined how marine biologists who rely on photographic evidence to identify individual marine mammals have seen significant changes in their everyday work practices as they switched from film photography to digital photography.


21 March, 12.00 – 1.00 pm, Psych-Soc 252: ‘Big Data and Democracy’

The big data rush is on, in academia, in business, and in government. In recent years, news articles, trade magazines, workshops, conferences, and talks about big data have accelerated into a constant barrage. However, it is important to look beyond the early hype around the promises and perils of big data to start to ask more probing questions about how big data enables new approaches to knowledge creation and discovery, what new methodological challenges arise, and what are the limits beyond which big data can become too comprehensive? Using data from an ongoing project funded by the Sloan Foundation that has interviewed over 125 big data specialists, Meyer will discuss what big data means for policy experts, industry, academia, and the public, and highlights the opportunities and risks of big data in research and in society.

26 March, 2.00 – 3.00 pm, Psych-Soc 151, Knowledge Machines: Digital Transformations of the Sciences and Humanities

Based on a forthcoming book (The MIT Press) of the same name, this talk looks at changes in the way research is done when computational approaches are applied to research. There is a fundamental change taking place in the world of research: digital tools and data shared via electronic networks are having far-reaching effects. From ‘big science’ physics experiments like the Large Hadron Collider, which is using distributed, high-performance computing to analyze massive amounts of data, to humanities scholars who digitize large volumes of text to uncover changing patterns of language use, networked digital research is having profound effects on the practices of researchers. From the Grid, to the Cloud, to Big Data, research practices are ever more tightly coupled to computing. These changes can be understood on a number of levels, including organizational changes, changes in knowledge production, and in the communication of research. And although these changes take place in different ways in different disciplines, my colleagues and I argue that, like ripples in a pond, the changes add up to a broader transformation of the landscape of research.

1 April, 10.00 – 11.00 am, KE07, Computer Programming for the Arts Graduate: To what extent is being able to code part of literacy in a digital world?

Language literacy has always been seen as a relevant tool for a variety of disciplines, but literacy in computer languages has only relatively recently been viewed as an essential skill outside of computer science. With the continuing growth in demand for digital humanities specialists, data scientists, and people skilled in digital social research, arts graduates who can learn both the specialist languages of disciplines as well as the languages and potential of computation will set themselves up to fill the increasingly important role as ‘bridgers’ in academia and in business. This talk will include examples from post-graduate student work in particular to demonstrate how coding skills can be applied to interesting questions across a variety of fields.

4 April, 12.00 – 1.00 pm, Central Library 210, Web archives: The future of researching the Internet’s past

Web archives have been collected by organizations such as the Internet Archive since the mid-1990s, but only recently have there been advances in how to actually make use of them for research. In this talk, I will focus on the born digital public content held in web archives, and the challenge of using these data for research purposes.  My research group has written several reports and papers in recent years on research engagement (or lack thereof) with web archives, and has highlighted the fact that one of the biggest disconnects at the moment is that while archives of the web are being increasingly preserved, the tools and methods for doing research from these archives is less well-developed than doing research on the live web.  I will argue that the range of partners who should be involved in preserving web archives needs to extend far beyond the preservation community – into the community of researchers (such as sociologists, political scientists, communications scholars, and information scientists) who are the natural researchers of such materials, but also into the newly developing areas of ‘big data’ where efforts to mine the streams of data being generated on the web are being seen to hold massive value both for understanding society but also for generating economic benefit. This talk also highlights some recent advances, and presents new data demonstrating how web archives can be mined for meaningful data.