Category Archives: Seminars


Professor Alan Liu, Visiting Fulbright Specialist: a 6-week festival of Digital Humanities in Aotearoa-New Zealand

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The University of Canterbury Digital Humanities (UCDH) Programme is excited to announce six weeks of Digital Humanities activity, anchored by the visit of Professor Alan Liu from the University of California Santa Barbara. Professor Liu will be visiting as a Fulbright Visiting Specialist from October 19 to November 29, with the generous support of the Fulbright Scholar Program.

Professor Patricia Fumerton (UC Santa Barbara) will also stay with us as a Visiting Scholar in Residence, for the last two weeks of Alan’s visit. Patricia’s research interests centre on Early Modern culture and literature, and she will lead a trans-Tasman workshop on Early Modern digital humanities during her stay. We’re also delighted to have two Australian visitors who will be contributing to our conversations during this period: Assoc. Professor Tim Sherratt (University of Canberra, Trove), and  Professor Paul Arthur (University of Western Sydney). Dr. Sydney Shep, Reader in Book History at Wai-te-Ata Press, Victoria University of Wellington, will participate in our discussion on cyberinfrastructure on November 12th. Details of these talks are listed in the schedule below, and we’ll be posting more about our visitors soon.

Background on Alan Liu


Alan is a 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. Previously, he was on the faculty of Yale University’s English Department and British Studies Program.

events-liuHe began his research in the field of British romantic literature and art. His first book, Wordsworth: The Sense of History (Stanford Univ. Press, 1989), explored the relation between the imaginative experiences of literature and history. In a series of theoretical essays in the 1990s, he explored cultural criticism, the “new historicism,” and postmodernism in contemporary literary studies. In 1994, when he started his Voice of the Shuttle web site for humanities research, he began to study information culture as a way to close the circuit between the literary or historical imagination and the technological imagination.  In 2004, he published The Laws of Cool: Knowledge Work and the Culture of Information (University of Chicago Press). He also published his Local Transcendence: Essays on Postmodern Historicism and the Database (University of Chicago Press) in 2008.

Everyone is welcome to attend our series of seminars and discussions, which will take place at the University of Canterbury, the University of Otago, and Victoria University of Wellington. Come prepared to extend both your own thinking, and ours!

See below for details of the upcoming events. Please note, time and location for some events are yet to be confirmed.

Date / Room Title Description Location
Wed. 21st October, 1-2pm

Undercroft 101

A manifesto for tactical DH research infrastructure A seminar by Assoc. Prof. Tim Sherratt, U. Canberra / Trove. University of Canterbury, Christchurch.
Wed. 28th October, 4-5.30

Undercroft 101

Key Trends in DH & their challenge to the idea of the Humanities A public lecture by Prof. Alan Liu, UC Santa Barbara. University of Canterbury, Christchurch.
Wed. 28th October, 1-3pm

Seminar Room, Ground Floor, Science Library

Digital Interventions A seminar by Assoc. Prof. Tim Sherratt, University of Canberra / Trove. University of Otago, Dunedin.
Thurs. 5th November, 3-5pm

Undercroft 101

The Future of the Humanities A workshop led by Prof. Alan Liu, UC Santa Barbara. University of Canterbury, Christchurch.
Thurs. 12th November, 1-5 pm

James Hight 210

Alan Liu, ‘Against the Cultural Singularity’, James Smithies, ‘Towards a Systems Analysis of the Humanities’, Paul Arthur ‘Smart Infrastructures for Cultural and Social Research’ followed by workshop The Frontiers of DH: Humanities Systems Infrastructure: Alan Liu, Paul Arthur, James Smithies followed by workshop discussion. University of Canterbury, Christchurch.


Fri. 13th November, 10am-12pm

Popper 413

Open meeting Follow-up from Humanities Systems Infrastructure workshop University of Canterbury, Christchurch.
Wed. 18th November

Undercroft 101

Early Modern DH: A Trans-tasman Conversation A workshop led by Prof. Patricia Fumerton, UC Santa Barbara. University of Canterbury, Christchurch.
Thurs. 26th November

Time & Place TBC

Broadside Ballads and Tactical Publics: ‘The Lady and the Blackamoor,’ 1570-1789 A public lecture by Prof. Patricia Fumerton, UC Santa Barbara. University of Otago, Dunedin.
Fri. 27th November, 2-3 pm.

Place TBC

Literature+ A conversation about Alan Liu’s Literature+ course. University of Otago, Dunedin.
Fri. 27th November, 5.15-6.15 pm.

Place TBC

What Everyone Says – 4Humanities A public lecture by Prof. Alan Liu, UC Santa Barbara. University of Otago, Dunedin.
Tues. 1st December, 1-2:30 pm

Stout Centre, Kelburn Campus

Key Trends in DH & their challenge to the idea of the Humanities A public lecture by Prof. Alan Liu, UC Santa Barbara. University of Victoria at Wellington
Tues. 1st December, 3-4:30 pm

Stout Centre, Kelburn Campus

Samuel Pepys and “Greensleeves”: A DH Perspective A public lecture by Prof. Patricia Fumerton, UC Santa Barbara. University of Victoria at Wellington


Taping off the Radio: memory and identity in the RDU archive

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The tenth seminar in our digital research series is a joint effort by Dr Zita Joyce (Language, Social and Political Science) and Erin Kimber (Macmillan Brown Library). Please note the different day and venue for this one!

“This seminar will use the RDU archives – donated to the Macmillan Brown Library in 2012 – to explore some of the broader issues of collecting and digitally preserving archives, both from a technical and cultural viewpoint.

The archive of RDU, the former UCSA radio station, contains a mix of photographs, business records, and cassette tapes; a fascinating glimpse into Christchurch’s social history. However, the collection is not without challenges. How do you preserve something which is inherently ephemeral? Is it really that easy to link a distributed archive in the digital world? Does the archive need to reflect the changing tastes and practices of its audience, or is it fixed and static? Has the digital world changed the way we listen? In the future, will anyone remember what it was like to sit next to the radio and press record?”

When: Tuesday 20 October, 11am-12.30pm
Where: Psyc/Soci 252

Digital Research Seminar#10 poster







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