Eric Meyer visit

We were delighted to welcome Professor Eric Meyer back to the University of Canterbury for a brief visit over the past two days. Eric previously visited the UC Digital Humanities programme as a Visiting Canterbury Fellow in 2014, and was back in New Zealand to speak at the National Digital Forum in Wellington earlier this week. He very kindly added a Christchurch leg to his trip, so we were able to hear him speak yesterday about work arising from his book Knowledge Machines (with Ralph Schroeder, published in 2015 by The MIT Press), then this morning we attended his workshop entitled “Metrics and Measurement: The Impacts of Digital Resources and Collections”.

The workshop stimulated some broad ranging discussion that moved from ways of measuring impact into exploration of data collection tools and methods of data analysis in various fields of research. A number of our Media & Communications postgrads took the opportunity to ask Eric about possibilities and limitations of using social media data, which led to some interesting debate.

Thank you, Eric & Michelle, for making the trip down to see us in Christchurch – we wish you safe travels for the journey home. And thanks National Digital Forum for inviting Eric to speak and getting him over to our part of the world!


Eric Meyer speaking at the University of Canterbury on 24 November 2016.

Professor Eric Meyer of the Oxford Internet Institute addresses UC staff and postgrads

Breaking the Silicon Ceiling: Empowering women with technology

Breaking the Silicon Ceiling

On Saturday, Lucy-Jane presented at the 3rd Annual FemSoc Feminist Conference on Digital Humanities and empowering women with technology. The talk was well attended but we thought we would share it here for others.

Breaking the Silicon Ceiling (1)

Despite early involvement in the development of computers, women have largely been absent from the field of Computer Science for decades. This is something that most people are aware of, but I thought I would share some statistics to show just how large this gap is. If we look at education statistics from the U.S. there is a rapid decline in Computer Science degrees awarded to women since the mid 1980s, despite a steady increase in Mathematics, Engineering, and Physics degrees and an increase in percentage of degrees awarded to women as a whole.

It is quite hard to find statistics about Computer Science in NZ, but using data from Education Counts I was able to work out that women earned just 32% of Computer Science qualifications at all levels in 2006 (Data gathered from Provider-based Enrolments: Predominant Field of Study.xlsx). Another website I read claimed that this figure is closer to 20%, though it did not cite a source for this statistic (absoluteIt (2015), Is NZ’s gender gap in tech as bad as we think?).

Breaking the Silicon Ceiling (2) Statistics from 2001 and 2006 show that in New Zealand women hold just 25-26% of ‘professional’ computing roles and 29-37% of ‘technical’ computing roles. Because women are more likely to work in these technical roles, they also likely to make less money than men, with professional roles earning $45 – 48,000 compared with $30 – 37,000 for technical roles (Hunter, A (2012), Locating women in the New Zealand computing industry)
Breaking the Silicon Ceiling (3) With increasing need for technological skills in the workforce, there are obvious employment advantages to working in the IT industry, but the importance of gender diversity in computer science goes beyond employment. As technology becomes more integral in how we interact with each other and live our lives, it is important that technological developments meet the diverse range of needs that are present in society. If women are not part of the development of technology, it is likely that technological products will not meet their needs. Furthermore, as technology continues to wield influence over people and to shape culture and society, the power that comes from developing technology will remain in the hands of men, reinforcing the current system.
Breaking the Silicon Ceiling (4) There is much debate about what exactly it is that prevents women from studying Computer Science or working in IT. Issues that people cite include: the lack of computer science related toys for girls; the geek factor present in high school which seems to affect girls more than boys; and the absence of female role-models for girls in Computer Science. I have personally found taking Computer Science courses daunting as they often involve walking into rooms full of people that don’t seem to look or act like me (especially since I like to wear heels and glittery dresses). It becomes very hard to ask for help or guidance when you feel that you need to prove you have a right to be there in the first place and it can be very hard to make friends when you see yourself as an outsider.
Breaking the Silicon Ceiling (5)

Increasingly, education providers and IT companies are attempting to encourage more women to enter the IT industry. Google, for example, has poured $50 million dollars into the Made with Code programme which provides mentors, tools, and resources for girls in high school to learn to code . They also created the Anita Borg Scholarship which provides funding and opportunities for women to study Computer Science.

IT companies have also begun to change their practices in order to become more welcoming to women. Again, another Google example, but they have done a lot of work to examine the kinds of unconscious biases that exist in their teams and products and have offered workshops to their staff in order to educate them about bias and how it can affect the decisions they make.

These are wonderful initiatives but they tend to target the next generation of women, ignoring women who are currently outside of the tech industry who could still be empowered by technology.

Breaking the Silicon Ceiling (6)

My own journey into coding is reflective of the statistics I mentioned earlier in this talk. Despite being surrounded by computers from an early age, and having a father and brother with an avid interest in computing, I managed to pass through both primary school and high school without ever studying computing. At university, I studied Arts, with a particular focus on English, while my brother undertook a degree in Computing Engineering.

It wasn’t until I picked up a Digital Humanities paper in my third year that I discovered a passion for technology. I began by learning the TEI, a set of guidelines for how to create electronic scholarly texts. As part of the course, I scanned and transcribed letters from a Cantabrian soldier in Gallipoli, and then worked with my classmates to mark them up with the TEI (You can visit the website for the project here:

Breaking the Silicon Ceiling (7)

Due to my experience in my Digital Humanities course, I landed a job at CEISMIC when I graduated with my honours degree. Some of you may have heard of CEISMIC, but just in case, CEISMIC is the Digital Archive for the Canterbury earthquakes. Since 2012 we have been gathering social and cultural data about the quakes in an effort to provide a long-term resource for researchers and future generations to learn about the 2010 and 2011 Canterbury earthquakes. Today the archive has over 100,000 items from a range of different cultural heritage organisations around New Zealand, as well as from our own University repository of earthquake data.

When I started at CEISMIC my role was primarily focused on content gathering – approaching people around Canterbury to gather earthquake-related material, before describing it, organising it and adding it to the archive. But as time went on I began to be exposed to the more technical side of archiving. The admin tools we had available for the archive were never very good so I began to write queries which would pull data from the back-end of the system using documentation our IT people had given us.

Breaking the Silicon Ceiling

Encouraged by my manager, I started learning Python and Javascript through online tutorials so that I could help him with a web app that he had written. The app included several tools: a address search which searched through addresses in our system; a history page which outlined recent updates to the archive; and a map showing the spread of our content across Christchurch (all created by Christopher Thomson). Over the next year I added two more tools: a manifest creator and a manifest checker. These allowed us to automatically create and check the spreadsheets that we used to ingest material into the archive (which we call manifests), a task that was previously time-consuming and prone to errors.

I also worked with my colleague Jennifer Middendorf to create a simple photo-describing app which is now used by our volunteers to add captions to folders of photographs without having to use the complex and often confusing manifests (You can download a copy here). This app has been vastly improved by our two volunteers, Aidan Millow and Brad McNeur.

Last year, as part of the UC Staff Tertiary Study Assistance Scheme, I took my first Computer Science course in Relational Databases, and this year I am studying Artificial Intelligence as part of COSC 367. Studying these courses alongside my full-time job has been hard work but hugely rewarding.

Breaking the Silicon Ceiling (8)

This year, my job has undergone a massive transition as our office has evolved from CEISMIC to the UC Arts Digital Lab (of which CEISMIC is a major project). This has partly been a move towards longevity as the Canterbury earthquakes are not obviously going to be relevant forever, but it also because of the expertise and knowledge that we have built in the office. Essentially the aims of the Digital Lab are to enable digital research in the College of Arts by pairing the digital expertise in the lab with the subject knowledge and research experience of UC Arts academics and students.

In my new role I have begun to collaborate with researchers on papers, to develop software and tools for student projects, and to supervise interns and summer scholars. With the number of new programming languages, tools, and research projects that I have taken up I have come to confidently call myself a Digital Humanist and to feel that if I ever wanted to, I could transition from Arts into an IT field.

Breaking the Silicon Ceiling (9)

When I think about my journey to computing, I sometimes wonder if I would have been better off studying Computer Science, instead of undertaking the Humanities education that I did. But the truth is that there were things about English that I was drawn to that I don’t think Computer Science would have ever satisfied. This is where Digital Humanities comes into the picture.

I’ve thrown around the term Digital Humanities a few times now so I should probably explain what it is. Digital Humanities is a relatively new field of study in the Humanities and Social Sciences. It is considered an interdisciplinary subject as it tends to work in collaboration with other subjects, almost like an umbrella over the Arts. Digital Humanists use computational methods to answer existing Humanities questions and to pioneer new approaches in social and cultural research. The goal of Digital Humanities is to realise the possibilities that technology poses for the arts and to fully integrate technology into the activities of humanities researchers.

Breaking the Silicon Ceiling (10) As an intersection between Arts and technology, I think that Digital Humanities is well suited to women. I feel that women gravitate towards things that allow them to communicate and connect with the world which is why so many women study the Arts. With Digital Humanities, technology is seen as more of a tool than the focus of our study. We are interested in culture, people, and society, and use technology to investigate these interests.
Breaking the Silicon Ceiling (11) Furthermore, Digital Humanities has a hacking culture. This does not mean we like to take down banking systems, but more that we are happy to use tools or practices we are familiar with or have access to. Generally Digital Humanities have come from Humanities and Social Science background and have cobbled together digital skills from online tutorials or osmosis. This makes it more accessible to people who don’t have backgrounds in IT but who may want to learn.
Breaking the Silicon Ceiling (12) And lastly, because DH is still a relatively new field there is still plenty of room for different kinds of people with new and interesting ideas. The University of Canterbury’s Digital Humanities teaching programme, for example, has only been around for three or four years and it is the first of its kind in New Zealand. Similarly, the UC Arts Digital Lab is breaking new territory in New Zealand and we are doing it not as trained IT professionals, but as people with a passion for technology and a willingness to learn.
Breaking the Silicon Ceiling (13)

I am proud to say that our office is made up primarily of women and that most of our interns and students are women too. Because we have nearly all come from Humanities and Social Science backgrounds, there is a vibe of collaboration and support in the office – we do not expect those who enter to know much about computers but hope to share our expertise and knowledge so they know a little more when they leave.

Almost unintentionally, I feel that we have created a female friendly space on campus to learn about, develop, and experiment with technology. I hope we can continue to diversify the kinds of people we have in the office so that it can be a hub for other underrepresented voices in Computer Science too.


Digital Humanities Infrastructure Workshop: Part Four

Today I finish my series on the Digital Humanities Infrastructure Workshops held in November last year, by discussing my own perspective on cyberinfrastructure. But before I do this, I thought that I should outline my background in Digital Humanities and my role at CEISMIC in order to put my thoughts in context.

I was introduced to the Digital Humanities in the third year of my English degree when I took the University’s first DH paper, Electronic Scholarly Editing. This paper was run by Prof. Paul Millar, with the help of Dr Christopher Thomson as a tutor. It aimed to critically examine digital texts and equip students with the skills to create their own, namely through the TEI (a set of guidelines which specify methods for encoding machine-readable texts ). Over the next two years, I worked on two projects digitising manuscripts using the TEI. The first is a collection of World War I letters from a member of the Canterbury Mounted Rifles (which you can view at, and the other a memoir in letter form from New Zealand doctor Stanley Aylward. As well as teaching me how to encode texts with the TEI, these projects opened my eyes to the opportunities that digitisation offers the Humanities, and the intensive work that goes into it. In both projects, the manuscripts required more complex and nuanced analysis than computers were capable of giving and had to be encoded by hand – a common requirement for many Digital Humanities projects.

My position at CEISMIC has further highlighted this requirement, as I work daily to gather, organise, and describe large quantities of earthquake-related data. CEISMIC’s focus has always been on social data, with an aim to collect as many stories and documents about the earthquakes possible before they are forgotten or lost. Today we have over 100,000 items in the archive – a fantastic achievement, but not an easy one since we described and annotated every item by hand. On average, our team estimates that it takes us six minutes to describe and geolocate a photograph, a number which doesn’t sound too bad until you extrapolate it over the 46,447 photographs we currently hold in QuakeStudies (adding up to 276,682 minutes, or 4645 hours, or 580 days). And that’s just the photographs – we have also archived hundreds of stories (such as with our QuakeBox project), academic research, community data (such as newsletters and artworks), newspapers, and much, much more.

Given my experiences, it would be easy for me to agree with Paul Arthur that investing in the digitisation (or in our case archiving) of social data may be the most valuable form of infrastructure for the Humanities. However, I would argue that this process is not possible without people with the skills and knowledge required.  Often I hear Humanists and people from the GLAM sector comment that they need more people who have skills both in the Humanities and the digital, and yet there are very few programmes in existence training people in both skills. As readers of this blog are likely aware, the University of Canterbury offers Digital Humanities courses at honours and masters level, and is offering a Digital Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities minor to undergraduate students for the first time next year. However, we are the only university in New Zealand that has a Digital Humanities programme, and the impetus for this came from within the College of Arts and the University. As of yet, there is no national strategy in New Zealand for the training of Digital Humanists.

Moreover if the Digital Humanities, as Alan Liu argues, is tasked with critiquing academic infrastructure and its relation to larger society, this critique needs to represent the diversity in society.  My problem with the current ‘lightly antifoundationalist’ model and ‘hacking’ is that it can only be achieved by Humanists that have digital skills. As I have already discussed, people with these skills are usually in the minority, but they also tend to come from certain groups in society – e.g men and people from high socio-economic backgrounds who have had access to computers from a young age. The problem with this is that these tools are potentially being created by one group in society, and any critique that they allow is potentially coming from one perspective. If we want our cyberinfrastructure to reflect the diverse needs and values of society, then I would argue that we need to ensure that a wide range of people are participating in the field.

Perhaps this naive, but if, as Liu claims, the shaping of academic infrastructure can have a bearing on other organisations and the community at large, then perhaps training more people in the Digital Humanities will have a factor too. I personally would love to see a world where the tech industry held equal numbers of women and men, where there was more ethnic diversity, and where the average Humanities student graduated with some technical nous. In some ways this could be seen as a form of infrastructure – training people with the skills and sensibilities to critique digital culture both in their work, but also in their wider environs. It’s my hope that doing so would widen the pool of ideas, revealing new and innovative solutions, and more nuanced critiques of infrastructure.

Digital Humanities Infrastructure Workshop: Part Three

Digital Content Analyst Lucy-Jane Walsh, continues her discussion of the UCDH Cyberinfrastructure with a summary of Alan Liu’s talk:

Against the Cultural Singularity: Digital Humanities & Cultural Infrastructure Studies ­– Alan Liu

Alan Liu began his talk with a quote from Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen: “Always design a thing by considering it in its next larger context”.  With this in mind, he chose to focus on Digital Humanities cyberinfrastructure as a sub-domain of Humanities infrastructure, and to look at how Digital Humanities can support traditional Humanities fields.

Liu argued that the Digital Humanities has a tradition of critiquing infrastructure, which is not only unique to the field, but the best mechanism for supporting traditional modes of criticism. This is because infrastructure has the same impact on individuals and communities as culture – it makes up our environment and how we interact with each other. Liu used dystopian films as an example, pointing out that whole cultures in these films are dominated by the infrastructure that is available to them. In Blade Runner, for example, flying cars make up the environment, where as in Mad Max the world is driven by fuel. Today culture could be said to be shaped by smart phones, social networking, and big data. By critiquing these systems, Digital Humanists can add to the larger debates surrounding culture while remaining in the digital sphere.

According to Liu, the current style of Digital Humanities critique is “lightly anti-foundationalist”. He cited James Smithies, Michael Dieter, Bruno Latour, Ackbar Abbas, and David Theo Goldberg as examples of this, arguing that while Digital Humanists believe in the potential for known and trusted digital tools and methodologies to provide new insights in the field of humanities, they are also distrustful of them. This is evident in Digital Humanists’ tendencies to ‘hack’ – where hacking in this context means using the skills and tools one understands and has at hand rather than investing in more formal forms of infrastructure. To Liu ‘hacking’ gives the Digital Humanities a unique perspective: it allows the field to be efficient and flexible, and to get close enough to systems to understand their weaknesses without being vulnerable to them.

In order to move forward, Liu suggested that Digital Humanities should adopt what he calls ‘Critical Infrastructure Studies’, the formal study of academic infrastructure in its relation to larger society, which he sees as the Digital Humanities’ mode of cultural studies.  Liu suggested two approaches to Critical Infrastructure Studies: the Neoinstitutionalist approach to organizations in sociology, which explores how institutional structures and norms influence the decisions and actions of individuals in the institutions; or Social Constructionist (especially Adaptive Structuration) approaches to organizational infrastructure in sociology and information science, which would investigate how the interactions and connections between people can construct beliefs and understandings of the world, and how these interactions can affect our perceptions and use of particular technologies. Liu believes that these approaches would help Digital Humanists to create new academic programmes and roles, and to advocate for the creation of national collaborative infrastructures, opening up research data to wider audiences.

Revisiting the quote from the beginning, Liu suggested that the work that Digital Humanists put into shaping academic infrastructure will have a bearing on other organisations and the community at large. This is where Liu’s title for this talk – Against the cultural singularity – comes into focus, for he argues that the current neoliberal capitalist thinking is creating a ‘cultural singularity’. He defines this as an environment where all parts of cultural are capitalized and brought under a corporate framework.  Liu argues that society would be stronger if institutions adopted their own metrics of value and success, and used these metrics to make decisions about infrastructure. He believes that by critiquing infrastructure, Digital Humanists can resist the neoliberal model and offer alternatives.

Digital Humanities Infrastructure Workshop: Part One

Today we have a guest blogger, Lucy-Jane Walsh, Digital Content Analyst at the CEISMIC Programme, talking about her impressions of a recent seminar held by the UC Digital Humanities Programme:

A few weeks ago I attended an afternoon of short seminars about Digital Humanities cyberinfrastructure held by the Digital Humanities Programme at the University of Canterbury. Speakers included Dr James Smithies, Director of the UC Digital Humanities Programme and Co-Director of the UC CEISMIC Programme; Dr Alan Liu, Professor in the English Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an affiliated faculty member of UCSB’s Media Arts & Technology graduate program; and Paul Arthur, Professor and Chair in Digital Humanities at Western Sydney University. The aim of the workshop was to begin an informal discussion on national and international Digital Humanities cyberinfrastructure – what tools and resources exist presently; how can we better leverage and improve them; and how can we advocate for their funding and development?

I must admit that I had not come across the notion of ‘cyberinfrastructure’ before this seminar series and I tend to associate the term ‘infrastructure’ with Engineering (buildings, roads, power lines). However the need for people, funding, computers, and software in the Humanities – particularly in regards to digital research and project development – is not news to me. As a Digital Content Analyst at the UC CEISMIC Programme, I not only rely on this infrastructure every day, but am also in the business of creating it. Over the next few weeks, I intend to summarise the points made by Smithies, Liu, and Arthur during the cyberinfrastructure workshop in a series of blog posts, before adding my own thoughts to the conversation. I begin with James Smithie’s talk today:

Towards a Global Systems Analysis of the Humanities – James Smithies

James Smithies was actually the last to speak at the event, but I felt that his talk was a good introduction to the topic of Digital Humanities cyberinfrastructure, so I have decided to reverse the order in my blog posts. His talk was drawn from the first chapter of his upcoming book, The Digital Modern: Humanities and new media for Palgrave Macmillan.

Smithies began the talk by discussing the politics of cyberinfrastructure. He identified Our Cultural Commonwealth – a report by the American Council of Learned Commission (ACLS) on Cyberinfrastructure for the Humanities and Social Sciences – as one of the initial attempts to charter opportunities for computationally intensive Humanities research. This report, like many early models for DH infrastructure, borrowed much of its mode of thinking from the STEM fields. It stated that, “computers should be used by scholars in the Humanities, just as microscopes should be used by scientists” (Our Cultural Commonwealth, 2006: i). In other words it is as important to invest in infrastructure in the Humanities as it is in Engineering, Maths, and Science.

Smithies argued that this STEM-based model caused tension in the Humanities, as many digital projects were given large amounts of money over more traditional projects. When these digital projects failed to deliver their promises, this infrastructure model began to generate criticism. Patrick Svensson, for example, argued that the allocation of space and the ability to collaborate with people in and outside the Humanities department is as important to Digital Humanists as computers and information systems. Feminists also called for more inclusive data models which would take into account gender and ethnic inequalities.  Susan Leigh Star argued that infrastructure should be evaluated in ethnological terms, in that it does not only represent tools or resources that we can use, but also the values and norms of the culture that created it. She argued that infrastructure is created to serve particular types of people and practices – in essence, infrastructure is political in nature and it is the task of Digital Humanists to challenge the preconceived notions of what infrastructure is and can be.

The problem with challenging the status quo is that the Digital Humanities community does not currently have a strong concept of what that is. Smithies suggested that the first step in analysing and critiquing Digital Humanities infrastructure would be to identify the cyberinfrastructure that already exists. He suggested using a systems analysis approach, borrowed from the STEM fields, to provide an initial overview of the current state of global cyberinfrastructure.

Smithies further argued that Humanists’ investigation of infrastructure should go right down to how the tools are made and whether they mirror Digital Humanities values such as openness and net neutrality. Eventually, he hopes that systems analysis will move from a model to a genre – a collection of approaches for analysing systems which reflect a multitude of values and perspectives.

Walsh will continue her discussion on these workshops next week.

Medieval and Early Modern Digital Humanities: Postgraduate Seminar at the University of Canterbury

This Wednesday 18 November the Australian and New Zealand Association of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (ANZAMEMS) is holding a Postgraduate Advanced Training Seminar (PATS) at the University of Canterbury. Organised in conjunction with UC’s Festival of Digital Humanities, the seminar will focus on digital research methods for scholars in Medieval and Early Modern history, literary studies, and musicology.

The full-day event will take place in Undercroft 101. It will be compered by Tracy Adams (Associate Professor of French, University of Auckland), and feature keynote presentations by Prof. Patricia Fumerton (University of California Santa Barbara) and Prof. Lyn Tribble (University of Otago). There will also be a hands-on session. In this, Professor Fumerton will give an overview of the English Broadside Ballads Archive, a multi-million dollar project funded by the U.S. National Endowment for the Humanities that has been digitising, transcribing, reconstructing music and songs, and creating scholarship for many thousands of early modern ballads (the “ephemeral” new media of the time), and James Smithies (UC Digital Humanities) will guide participants on how to write a digital project scope document. The day will conclude with a panel discussion by James Smithies, Chris Jones (UC History), and Joanna Condon (Macmillan Brown Library), chaired by Anton Angelo (UC Library Research Repository).

The PATS will bring 15 postgraduate students from around New Zealand and Australia to UC for the day. It will also be live-streamed on YouTube and simulcast in universities across Australasia. Archive versions will be available on this site afterwards.

The full schedule is as follows:

9.00                 Welcome
9.15–10.30      Keynote by Professor Lyn Tribble, followed by discussion
11.00–11.30    Morning tea
11.30–12.45    Keynote by Professor Patricia Fumerton, followed by discussion
12.45 – 1.45    Lunch
1.45 – 3.00      Behind the scenes at EBBA / How to write a digital project scope document
3.00 – 3.30      Afternoon tea
3.30 – 4.45      Panel discussion by Anton Angelo, James Smithies, Chris Jones, and Joanna Condon
6.00                 Dinner

PATS Poster_Final_sml









The Frontiers of DH: Humanities Systems Infrastructure

This Thursday 12 November the UC Digital Humanities programme is hosting an afternoon of short seminars, followed by a workshop, centered on humanities systems infrastructure. Please note the venue has changed to Undercroft 101. The time is still 1pm – 5pm.

The goal is to start thinking about what humanities systems infrastructure is, what it might become, and what values and goals should be used to develop it. The workshop is low-key but might be of interest to researchers interested in digital research and the politics of infrastructure, GLAM and university professionals with responsibility for digital strategy, and IT professionals with interests in the cultural heritage and research sectors. Speakers have been allocated 45 minutes but we’ll take a relaxed approach to timing. Input is strongly encouraged from all attendees.

1.00 – 1.15: Introduction by Dr. James Smithies, University of Canterbury Digital Humanities Programme.
1.15 – 2.00: Prof. Alan Liu, University of California at Santa Barbara, ‘Against the Cultural Singularity’.
2.00 – 2.45: Prof. Paul Arthur, University of Western Sydney, ‘Smart Infrastructures for Cultural and Social Research’.
2.45 – 3.30: Dr. James Smithies, University of Canterbury, ‘Towards a Systems Analysis of the Humanities’.
3.30 – 4.00: Afternoon tea.
4.00 – 5.00: Group discussion: ‘What is humanities cyber-infrastructure? Do we want it or need it, and if so how do we build it?’

The session will be followed by an open meeting on Friday 13th November, 10am – 12pm in Karl Popper 414, to discuss possible actions and outputs.

The 3 keynote seminars will be videoed.

Seminar+workshop_brighter poster







Dr. Tim Sherratt: Towards a Manifesto for Tactical DH Research Infrastructure

A video recording of Tim’s seminar at UC on Wednesday 21 October.

Key Trends in DH & their challenge to the idea of the Humanities

events-liuTo kick off a 6-week Festival of Digital Humanities, our visiting Fulbright Specialist Professor Alan Liu (University of California, Santa Barbara) is presenting the first in a series of seminars and workshops, tomorrow (Wednesday 28 October) at 4pm.

Professor Liu is a highly distinguished figure within Digital Humanities circles, and we are privileged to have him at UC as a Fulbright Visiting Specialist, thanks to the generous support of the Fulbright Scholar Program.

Key Trends in Digital Humanities: how the digital humanities challenge the idea of the humanities

Wednesday 28 October, 4 – 5.30pm
Undercroft 101

How do such key methods in the digital humanities as data mining, mapping, visualization, social network analysis, and topic modeling make an essential difference in the idea of the humanities, and vice versa? Using examples of digital humanities research, Alan will speculate on the large questions that confront the humanities in the face of computational media – most importantly, questions about the nature and function of interpretive “meaning”.

Special Guest Seminar: Dr Tim Sherratt

Coming up this Wednesday 21 October is a seminar by special guest Dr. Tim Sherratt.

tim.sherrattDr. Sherratt is well known in the field of digital humanities, and recently received a standing ovation for his keynote presentation at DH2015, the annual international conference of the Alliance of Digital Humanities.

In his own words, Dr. Sherratt is a historian and hacker who researches the possibilities and politics of digital cultural collections. He has been creating online resources relating to archives, museums and history since 1993, and is currently an Associate Professor of Digital Heritage at the University of Canberra, while also co-managing the National Library of Australia’s Trove database. Sherratt is a member of the THATCamp Council, an organiser of THATCamp Canberra, and a committee member of the Australasian Association for the Digital Humanities.

Details of the seminar are below:

‘A Manifesto for Tactical DH Research Infrastructure’

Wednesday 21 October, 1-2pm
Undercroft 101, James Hight

Digital research infrastructure is typically understood as big and expensive, but some of our most valuable tools live in the GitHub accounts of individual coders. Investment in digital infrastructure and coding education tend to be framed in the language of innovation and large-scale ‘disruption’, and yet DH offers a more critical and reflexive path based around small-scale interventions.

DH encourages us to share, to do our work in public, and yet…these are not simply matters of policy or strategy. They are real moments of uncertainty in the lives of individual DH practitioners. How do we help? How do we build an infrastructure aimed not at lofty national goals, but at supporting people who want to do things differently?