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PKU Digital Humanities Forum 2018

SimonMahony28 July 2018

When we think about Digital Humanities from our base here at UCL, it is all too easy to think about the anglophone world and the predominance of Western Europe and North America, and particularly the UK, USA and Canada. So, it was good to see this year’s ADHO conference being held in Mexico City at UNAM (DH2018) as a move to a more global digital humanities. With its theme, “PUENTES/BRIDGES”, it was also pleasing to see to that the organisers had taken a multi-lingual approach with proposals, presentations and conference material in languages other than just English. This was the first ADHO conference in Latin America and the global south.

I was very pleased to be able to visit UNAM,  Isabel Galina Russell and the National Library last year and so I was not too disappointed in not being able to attend DH2018 – although I did miss networking and catching up with many DH friends and colleagues. Instead, two weeks earlier, I took the opportunity to move beyond the anglophone world myself and presented a paper at the main DH event in China, held for the third time at UCL’s strategic partner Peking University (PKU).

The official Forum audience photo

The official Forum audience photo

The 3rd Peking University Digital Humanities Forum had the theme: ‘Incubation and Application: How Digital Humanities Projects Cater to Academic Needs’. I had the full experience of what it must be like to attend an English speaking conference if you do not speak the language – everything was in Chinese with no translations. I was the only ‘foreigner’ (non-Chinese) at the Forum which also had several speakers from Taiwan and Chinese scholars based in the USA.

Although mine was the only non-Mandarin presentation, there were a surprising number of familiar words in many of the others (metadata, big data, linked data and several others, again pointing to the dominance of the English language in our field). My presentation was in collaboration with my Chinese PhD student, Jin Gao (who could not attend as she was presenting her work at DH2018), and benefited from her translations to enable bilingual (English and Mandarin) slides to aid the audience.

On the podium at the PKU DH Forum 2018

On the podium at the PKU DH Forum 2018

I was not alone and so all was well; there were many friends there and hosts from my earlier networking visits to Beijing, Shanghai, Wuhan and Nanjing – I was not short of company. In addition, the day before the Forum I had been invited to give a presentation to the DH group at Renmin (The People’s) University in the School of Information Resource Management, following their visit to UCL DIS last year.

Renmin University, School of Information Resource Management

The delegates from Renmin very kindly picked me up from my hotel and dropped me back after dinner – always worrying that this ‘foreigner’ might get lost. I explained that I was a seasoned traveler (and sailor) so there was no problem, except perhaps crossing the road! Renmin is not far from PKU and I had strategically picked a hotel midway on the road that linked the two. PKU is a large and sprawling campus and so I was very grateful for being so well looked after. For anyone wondering about visiting China, their hospitality is exceptional and they are very welcoming to foreign visitors.

There was, in addition, a DIS student from the Information Science programme at the Forum and a PhD candidate from King’s Department of Digital Humanities who between them, together with their phone camera translations of the slides, updated me with what was being said.

The visit to PKU was rounded off with a talk in the PKU Faculty of Social Sciences.

The prize winning poster from my talk

The prize winning poster from my talk at Renmin – now on my office wall

 

Speaking and being interrogated at Renmin

Speaking and being interrogated at Renmin

And, of course and as always, the Beijing visit was completed with a dinner in the warm company of former students.

Revival of Chinese Intangible Cultural Heritage

SimonMahony9 July 2018

I was very pleased to be able to accept an invitation to speak at the 2018 World Historical & Cultural Cities Expo in Nanjing in May. The organisers (Traditionow – Xihan Action) have a strategic partnership with UNESCO to protect the World historical & cultural cities and their cultural heritage. Xian Action is an NGO working on the protection and promotion of intangible heritage, especially handcraft technique, knowledge and recreation.

2018 World Historical & Cultural Cities Expo

2018 World Historical & Cultural Cities Expo

There is a danger that in an industrialised and fast developing society that traditional crafts and skills will be lost. This two-day event, Forum of Dynamic Inheritance of Intangible Cultural Heritage, had presentations from academics, craft practitioners and entrepreneurs, all interested in cultural heritage and its preservation. I was able to draw on UCLDIS colleagues’ oral history research, emphasising the importance of talking to craft practitioners to protect the skill’s memory; I used the traditional craft of paper-cutting as a case study and specifically the unusual ‘black paper cutting’ from the Nangou Village where the older inhabitants live in caves decorated with their work.

Black paper cutting at Nangou Village

Black paper cutting at Nangou Village. Image copyright Kong Qiongpei (China Academy of Art) and used here with permission.

As part of the event, there was a really inspiring exhibition of traditional craft work, which also included modern interpretations of traditional design work.

Traditionow

Traditionow

This trip allowed another opportunity to enjoy the hospitality of Nanjing University and the Digital Humanities research group there. This included a guest lecture to staff and students in the Faculty of Arts and Cultural studies as well as meetings in their Institute of Advanced Studies of Social Science and Humanities to discuss possible future collaborations and further visits.

Poster for Nanjing University guest lecture

Poster for Nanjing University guest lecture

More DH networking in China

SimonMahony6 February 2018

Recently, I have been very pleased to be able to accept more networking and speaking invitations from the ever-growing number of DH groups in China. In November I was an invited speaker for the DH strand at the Cross-cultural, Cross-group and Comparative Modernity Conference in Fudan University Shanghai along with delegates from many different nationalities; interestingly (and fortunately for me) all the presentations were in English.

Conference banner

Banner for the conference at Fudan University Shanghai

December took me to Shenzhen, via Hong Kong, and the University Town Library there for the International Conference on Library and Digital Humanities. They had speakers, on a range of themes, from the UK and USA as well as China, and interestingly mostly from libraries where DH centres in China and the USA are usually found; my slot was in the Higher Education and Digital Humanities strand which enabled many conversations and new connections to be made.

Shenzhen conference photo

International conference at the University Town Library, Shenzhen

One new such connection was with DH researchers at the Library of Shanghai, a public as well as an academic and research library with a strong and committed DH team. In January of this year I was greeted there with a magnificent lunch, a tour of their preservation and research labs, and introduced to their research projects involving both genealogy and the historic local built environment.

Shanghai Library

Shanghai Library

The January visit to Shanghai was enabled by funding from the UCL Global Engagement Fund that I received to support networking and research into interdisciplinary and cross-cultural education. Some of this funding was marked for the translation of teaching material for an undergraduate workshop at the China Academy of Art, Shanghai Institute of Design (that I have visited several times now) and as a follow up to the workshop I ran there in January 2017.

Workshop in Shanghai Institute of Design

Workshop in Shanghai Institute of Design

This is a design institute and the students are great at producing videos but have no background in the Internet or the web and so this workshop mostly covers the coding of webpages along with the all important usability and accessibility built into the design. I, of course, have a translator but this helps with their English language learning too.

Group photo of students at the workshop

Group photo of students at the workshop

Remember when giving talks to Chinese students, always allow extra time at the end for group photos and selfies.

UCL’s Global Engagement funding covered the flights for the Shanghai visit and money to pay a student to help with translating the teaching materials which will go into a collection to later be released under an open licence as Open Educational Resources. Accommodation and hospitality was generously provided by the host institution.

Papers aplenty

Lucy JStagg28 April 2017

We’re very busy here at UCLDH, delivering papers and promoting our wonderfully diverse portfolio of research

Martin Zaltz Austwick, our Associate Director and Senior Lecturer in Advanced Spatial Analysis and Visualization, has been reporting on the Survey of London: Whitechapel project at the annual meeting of the American Association of Geographers in Boston, at a seminar for Geospatial Innovations in the Digital Humanities in Lancaster, and at a workshop on Visualizations and other digital possibilities at Birkbeck, London.

Duncan Hay, Research Associate at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, spoke at an event for World Poetry Day, organised by the Digital Scholarship team at the British Library.

Andreas Vlachidis and Antonis Bikakis will be presenting their paper on “Semantic Representation and Enrichment of Cultural Heritage Information for Fostering Reinterpretation and Reflection on the European History” at the ITN-DCH Final Conference on Digital Heritage, on 23-25 May 2017.

Pete Williams will be giving a paper at the IJAS International Conference for Academic Disciplines in Venice, on 20- 23 June 2017.

Technology meets Scholarship

Chris JDillon28 January 2016

Hessian State Archives, Marburg

Hessian State Archives, Marburg

Between 19-21 January I attended Technology meets Scholarship, or how Handwritten Text Recognition will Revolutionize Access to Archival Collections in Marburg, Germany.

During the first day of the conference, the outside temperature was -10. It was, however, a really warm group of people.

Some of the sessions I found most interesting were on the Stasi archives. There were brief sessions in English, but fortunately my listening skills were just up to understanding the longer sessions in German. They were measuring Stasi files in units of the Berlin Television Tower, e.g., they had 3 television towers of documents on …

Recordings of most sessions will be available online: http://coop-project.eu/event/first-international-coop-convention/?instance_id=3167

I was surprised to find people who knew Bernhard Eversberg, the developer of the “allegro” database, who retired recently. The software was used in the UK from 1995 until recently for importing Chinese and Japanese catalogues and adding local holdings. Some of the software has been made open source: www.allegro-c.de/allegro-2016.pdf (German)

크리스.딜런@핸드폰.삼성

Chris JDillon3 March 2015

Much interest in Universal Acceptance at ICANN‘s recent meeting in Singapore.
Universal Acceptance means getting all domain names to work, however long they are and whatever script they’re in.
Traditionally most Top Level Domains have been ASCII three digit if generic names (e.g. .com) and two digit if country codes (e.g. .uk). Now more or less anything goes and there will be extensions such as .versicherung and .삼성 (Samsung). And so the title of this article could be an email address: Chris.Dillon@handphone.Samsung. “Handphone” is Konglish (Korean English) for “mobile phone”.
Incidentally, if your browser does not display the hangul in this article correctly, you have a Universal Acceptance issue.

ICANN London

Chris JDillon16 July 2014

Iimg: ICANN London meeting logoI attended ICANN‘s 50th meeting which was held in London recently and brought together 3,400 international stakeholders from government, business, civil society, technical organizations and research institutions to discuss the development of the Internet’s addressing system. It was ICANN’S largest ever meeting by far.

Over 300 of the new generic Top Level Domains for which UCL did the linguistic checking have now been delegated.

img: C. Dillon on card40% of the world’s population is now connected to the Internet. In 1999, in the early days of ICANN, only 4% were connected and half of those were in North America. It is expected that 60% of the world’s population will be connected by 2020 and many, in China, India and elsewhere, do not use the Roman alphabet. Facilitating this internationalization of the Internet is the great long-term opportunity for UCL as the world’s leading centre of linguistic expertise.

One development that came to light is that Google is making good progress with internationalized email addresses. I want one! – something like 克里斯@谷歌.在线 perhaps. In Chinese, Google is written with characters meaning “valley song”.

I have a nice souvenir – I made the meeting’s deck of playing cards.

Affect, Audience Experience and the Digital Humanities

VasileiosRoutsis12 December 2013

Affective Experiences

Authors: Christina Kamposiori & Vasileios Routsis

Monday 9th December 2013 saw our conference ‘Affective Experiences: media art, design & research’ which took place at the Parasol Unit: foundation for contemporary art. This conference was a great opportunity to close the conversations we started on February on the context of the AHRC funded project ‘New Media, Audiences and Affective Experiences’.

Professor Ernest Edmonds

The project aimed to establish a platform for creative dialogue and collaboration for doctoral students from City University London, Kings College London, Middlesex University, New London Graduate School (NLGS) and University College London in the academic fields of Creative Industries and Practice, Art and Design and Digital Humanities. In this context, we were honoured to represent UCLDH as a distinguished partner of this collaborative effort. During the lifetime of the project, we organised three seminars that took place at the City University London, discussing research methods in the direction of understanding audience engagement and cultural experience through digital technologies.

Lars HoeghThrough our one day conference we aimed to bring together artists, PhD students and established academics and researchers from a variety of disciplines, including art and design, cultural and creative industries, media studies, museum studies and the digital humanities. Participants presented their research and discussed new developments on understanding and measuring affect and audience experience in the digital age.

Professor Melissa Terras presenting Textal

In particular, our keynote and panel speakers addressed issues from a wide and diverse spectrum of perspectives, ranging from the theoretical aspects of affect and perception in relation to audience experience to the more practice-based ones. For example, we had the opportunity to hear from artists and museum professionals on the innovative ways they used to engage with audiences, such as interactive installations, experiments and digital applications. In addition, we looked on methodologies and applications for furthering audience/user related-research; that is also when Professor Melissa Terras presented Textal.

Professor Lisa Blackman

Concluding, this conference was a stimulating experience and we hope that the end of this project will be a start for new collaborations and discussions on the issues of affect, audience/user experience and digital technologies in the Arts & Humanities and Culture.

Acknowledgements

Special thanks to Irida Ntalla, PhD Candidate at City University London (project’s principal co-ordinator), Marianne Markowski, PhD Candidate at Middlesex University (programme committee member), Anastasia-Yvoni Spiliopoulou, UCL Digital Humanities MA Graduate (conference volunteer) and Kathianne Hingwan (conference volunteer) for the great collaboration!

Dawn of a new era as New gTLDs delegated

Chris JDillon4 December 2013

img: Eva Perón amid jacaranda trees

Eva Perón amid jacaranda trees

I atttended the recent ICANN meeting in Buenos Aires. It was upbeat as the first New gTLDs (generic Top Level Domains), e.g. .游戏, .онлайн, .みんな and .today have been delegated.
The New gTLDs Program is widely regarded as a success and many are predicting that the new addresses will increasingly displace the old .com addresses.

Further information: ICANN
UCL A&H’s role in all this: UCL press release

At the airport on the way home, it turned out that my passport was somehow unsullied by an entry stamp and so I was lucky to be able to persuade Immigration I wasn’t an illegal in time for the flight.

CFP: 2014 OCWC Global Conference

SimonMahony26 October 2013

The 2014 OCWC Global Conference is being held in Ljubljana, Slovenia. One of the local organisers is a completing MA/MSc DH student, Davor Orlic.

The 10th annual OpenCourseWare Consortium Global Conference will be held in Ljubljana, Slovenia, on April 23-25, 2014. The OpenCourseWare Consortium and the Knowledge for All Foundation are jointly organizing the event whose special theme is Open Education for a Multicultural World.

Submissions of papers are invited on all topics related to open education for the conference proceedings, and proposals for workshops.

The conference will be organised around four tracks:

  • Research and Technology
  • Open Educational Policies
  • Pedagogical Impact
  • Project Dissemination

Submission deadline: December 1st 2013.

Full details are on the conference website and downloadable as a PDF.