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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

UCLDH Susan Hockey Lecture 2018

Lucy JStagg22 June 2018

Recently we had the pleasure of meeting Professor Carlo Meghini, who came to UCL on 30th May to give the fourth Susan Hockey Lecture in Digital Humanities.

The aim of this annual public lecture series is to celebrate and promote work in Digital Humanities: the application of computational techniques within the arts, humanities, culture and heritage.  Prof Meghini spoke on ‘What can be said, can be said clearly? The role of ontologies in the Digital Humanities’.

The lecture was well attended, with over 100 people registered, and attendees had plenty to discuss afterwards over a glass of wine.

The lecture was filmed and is now available to view on the UCLDH website.

Event poster (detail)

Event poster (detail)

Digital Classicist, London Summer seminar series 2018 programme

SimonMahony4 May 2018

The Digital Classicist London 2018 seminar programme is now confirmed and published online. The seminar series this year addresses the tension between standardisation and customisation in digital and other innovative and collaborative classics research. The topic encompasses all areas of classics, including ancient history, archaeology and reception (including cultures beyond the Mediterranean). Seminars will be pitched at a level suitable for postgraduate students or interested colleagues in Archaeology, Classics, Digital Humanities and related fields.

Institute of Classical Studies

Fridays at 16:30 in room 234*, Senate House south block, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU
(*except June 1 & 15, room G21A)

ALL WELCOME

Seminars will be screencast on the Digital Classicist London YouTube channel, for the benefit of those who are not able to make it in person.

Discuss the seminars on Twitter at #DigiClass.

Jun 1 Zena Kamash (Royal Holloway) Embracing customization in post-conflict reconstruction (abstract) (G21A)
Jun 8 Thibault Clérice (Sorbonne) et al. CapiTainS: challenges for the generalization and adoption of open source software (abstract)
*Jun 15 Rune Rattenborg (Durham) Further and Further Into the Woods: Lessons from the Crossroads of Cuneiform Studies, Landscape Archaeology, and Spatial Humanities Research (abstract) (G21A)
Jun 22 Joanna Ashe, Gabriel Bodard, Simona Stoyanova (ICS) Annotating the Wood Notebooks workshop (abstract)
Jun 29 Monica Berti, Franziska Naether (Leipzig) & Eleni Bozia (Florida) The Digital Rosetta Stone Project (abstract)
Jul 6 Emma Bridges (ICS) and Claire Millington (KCL) The Women in Classics Wikipedia Group (abstract)
Jul 13 Elizabeth Lewis (UCL), Katherine Shields (UCL) et al. Presentation and discussion of Sunoikisis Digital Classics student projects
Jul 20 Anshuman Pandey (Michigan) Tensions of Standardization and Variation in the Encoding of Ancient Scripts in Unicode (abstract)
Jul 27 Patrick J. Burns (NYU) Backoff Lemmatization for Ancient Greek with the Classical Language Toolkit (abstract)

Networking event for the Enlightenment Architectures project

JulianneNyhan20 February 2018

UCLDH was happy to sponsor a networking reception at the British Museum on Thursday 15 March 2018. The event was organised in conjunction with Leverhulme-funded ‘Enlightenment Architectures: Sir Hans Sloane’s Catalogues of his Collections’ project (2016-19), a collaboration between the British Museum and UCL. The project is investigating Sir Hans Sloane’s (1660-1753) original manuscript catalogues of his collections. It is using Digital Humanities and Humanities methodologies to understand the highly complex information architecture and the intellectual legacies of this ‘meta-data of the Enlightenment’. The project is led by PI Kim Sloan, Curator of British Drawings and Watercolours before 1880 and the Francis Finlay Curator of the Enlightenment Gallery, British Musuem and myself, co-I Julianne Nyhan, Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) of Digital Information Studies, UCL and Associate Director of UCLDH.

UCLDH 'bar' poster

UCLDH ‘bar’ poster

The UCLDH sponsored ‘bar’, pictured above, provided welcome sustenance to attendees of the workshop that the Enlightenment Architectures project had convened that day, thanks to funding from the British Museum Research Fund. The workshop included presentations from the ‘Enlightenment Architectures’ PI, co-I and some project team members (including Research Assistants Victoria Pickering, Alexandra Ortolja-Baird and the project-based PhD candidate Deborah Leem). A number of eminent, international colleagues from Digital Humanities and Early Modern Studies acted as respondents to their papers. They included: Kalliopi Zervanou (Utrecht University); Arthur MacGregor (Journal of the History of Collections); Susanne Al-Eryani (SUB Goettingen); Jaap Verhuel (Utrecht University); Katherine McDonough (Stanford University). Needless to say, lively conversations characterised both the workshop and the networking event!

The second day of the workshop comprised four keynote presentations. Speakers were again drawn from a number of disciplines including the History of Science, Digital Humanities, Data Analytics and Library and Information Science. Keynotes were given by: Sachiko Kusukawa (University of Cambridge / Royal Society); Michael Sperberg McQueen (Black Mesa Technologies);  Paul Caton and Samantha Callaghan (Georgian Papers online, Kings Digital Laboratory KCL); and Stefanie Ruehle (SUB Goettingen). The workshop closed with a strategy and funding foresight seminar led by Martha Fleming, Senior Research Assistant to the Enlightenment Architectures project.

Bentham Hackathon, in partnership with IBM

Lucy JStagg2 January 2018

The Bentham Hackathon took place between 20-22 October 2017; a partnership between the Transcribe Bentham team and IBM, along with the support of UCL Centre for Digital Humanities and UCL Innovation and Enterprise. UCLDH Deputy Director Tim Weyrich (Professor of Visual Computing, UCL Department of Computer Science) opened the event.

Prof Tim Weyrich speaking at the opening of the Bentham Hackathon

Prof Tim Weyrich speaking at the opening of the Bentham Hackathon

6 teams worked together to explore how digital tools could help research Bentham’s work. As the Transcribe Bentham blog explains:

The Hackathon took place over one evening and two full days between 20 and 22 October 2017 and brought together coders, developers, computer scientists, digital humanists, humanities researchers and some of the volunteer transcribers from Transcribe Bentham.

IBM’s Simon Baker said:

We are very grateful to the Transcribe Bentham Project for enabling us to be a part of the UCL Bentham Hackathon. Our digital assets were made available for the developers to gain access via the IBM Bluemix platform writing applications, back-end services and web interfaces. Many of the team used Watson Natural Language Understanding for concept extraction. The event was excellently run by UCL Innovation and Enterprise and produced very innovative and practical outcomes from the participants.

The Transcribe Bentham project is a highly innovative and novel attempt to aid the transcription of Bentham’s work. A digitisation project provides high quality scans of the papers, whilst an online “crowdsourcing” transcription tool allows volunteers to contribute to the transcription effort.

The Transcribe Bentham team are now considering the next steps in redeveloping their website and transcription platforms.

Finnish Visitation, 4 October 2017

Lucy JStagg30 October 2017

UCLDH Academy of Finland Banner

UCLDH Academy of Finland Banner

On 4th October 2017 UCLDH were delighted to meet with over 15 delegates from the Academy of Finland’s DIGIHUM programme, with the aim of sharing the latest British and Finnish research in digital humanities, and strengthening collaborations between the two. DIGIHUM is a multidisciplinary four-year programme, described on their website as:

designed to address novel methods and techniques in which digital technology and state-of-the-art computational science methods are used for collecting, managing and analysing data in humanities and social sciences research as well as for modelling humanities and social science phenomena.

UCLDH presented on three projects:

DIGIHUM delegates gave presentations on the following projects:

Various shared areas of investigation came out of the meeting, including manuscript studies, text and analysis tools, big data and high performance computing, OCR challenges and the social aspects of digital humanities.

Prof. Tim Weyrich, UCLDH Deputy Director, speaking to the DIGIHUM delegates.

Prof. Tim Weyrich, UCLDH Deputy Director, speaking to the DIGIHUM delegates.

The E17 Art Trail

Oliver WDuke-Williams9 June 2017

Two UCLDH related events are picked out in local press coverage as highlights of the E17 Art Trail, 3 – 18 June 2017:

‘Painting with Light’ (9th June) is being delivered by Martin Zaltz Austwick and me, together with friends from CASA and Geography. In this workshop we will produce a series of images floating in space using an experimental device known as a PixelStick, while discussing the history of St Michaels Church and parish. The PixelStick produces images that are visible yet indecipherable to the naked eye, but are revealed when viewed through long-exposure photographs.

‘Invisible Numbers’ (10th June) is a collective of several artists; part of it is about a locally born (and UCL alumnus) computing pioneer, for which I’m doing a talk on early British computing.

Humanities Crowdsourcing on the Zooniverse Platform

DavidBeavan24 May 2017

UCLDH recently hosted a fantastic talk by Victoria Van Hyning, Junior Research Fellow at Pembroke College, and a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow. Entitled ‘Humanities Crowdsourcing on the Zooniverse Platform‘, Victoria took us on an in-depth tour of the many crowdsourcing projects delivered by Zooniverse, which started with Galaxy Zoo, ten years ago. Zooniverse has since then grown rapidly, now reaching out to an amazing 1.5 million volunteers with over 50 bespoke projects, and a free DIY project builder option too. We discussed what inspires volunteers to take part (answer: penguins), how crowdsourcing gives access to content not normally available and quality control. Victoria has very kindly agreed to share her talk with all:


Digital Classsicist London 2017 seminar programme

SimonMahony23 May 2017

Digital Classicist seminar logo

The Digital Classicist London 2017 seminar programme is now confirmed. Looking at the titles and abstracts, you will see that these are all Digital Humanities topics with many from international speakers and their relevance is not limited to the study of the ancient world. The full programme with abstracts is online on the DC website and listed below. The programme poster is available for download. No registration is needed.

Digital Classicist London 2017 Institute of Classical Studies

Fridays at 16:30
Room 234*, Senate House south block, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU
(*except June 16 & 23, room G34)

ALL WELCOME

Seminars will be screencast on the Digital Classicist London YouTube channel, for the benefit of those who are not able to make it in person.

Jun 2    Sarah Middle (Open University), ‘Linked Data and Ancient World Research: studying past projects from a user perspective’.
Jun 9    Donald Sturgeon (Harvard University), ‘Crowdsourcing a digital library of pre-modern Chinese’.
Jun 16*    Valeria Vitale et al. (Institute of Classical Studies), ‘Recogito 2: linked data without the pointy brackets’.
Jun 23*    Dimitar Iliev et al. (University of Sofia “St. Kliment Ohridski”), ‘Historical GIS of South-Eastern Europe’.
Jun 30    Lucia Vannini (Institute of Classical Studies), ‘The role of Digital Humanities in Papyrology: Practices and user needs in papyrological research’. Paula Granados García (Open University), ‘Cultural Contact in Early Roman Spain through Linked Open Data resources’.
Jul 7    Elisa Nury (King’s College London), ‘Collation Visualization: Helping Users to Explore Collated Manuscripts’.
Jul 14    Sarah Ketchley (University of Washington), ‘Re-Imagining Nineteenth Century Nile Travel and Excavation for a Digital Age: The Emma B. Andrews Diary Project’.
Jul 21    Dorothea Reule & Pietro Liuzzo (University of Hamburg), ‘Issues in the development of digital projects based on user requirements. The case of Beta maṣāḥǝft’.
Jul 28    Rada Varga (Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca), ‘Romans 1by1: Transferring information from ancient people to modern users’.

Full programme and the abstracts are online at:
http://www.digitalclassicist.org/wip/wip2017.html

Digital Classicist London seminar is organized by Gabriel Bodard, Simona Stoyanova and Valeria Vitale (ICS) and Simon Mahony and Eleanor Robson (UCL).

Visit to UNAM, Ciudad de México

SimonMahony21 May 2017

I was very pleased to be invited by the British Council to an event following on from the one I attended in Guadalajara in November 2015.This time it was to Mexico City as part of the British Council Education Dialogues series; this one day event was held at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, (UNAM ) and titled, ‘Skills for Research: identifying and developing best practice in development for doctoral students’.

Colonial art at UNAM

Colonial art at UNAM

This was also to promote the publication of the Skills For Research document put together by the British Council and Oxford Brooks University. I gave two presentations, one in each session: ‘Perspectives on doctoral student development: sharing experiences from UCL’ and ‘Research communities in the UK, best practices and challenges’.

Presenting at the British Council event

Presenting at the British Council event

This trip to Mexico City also gave a welcome opportunity to meet up with DIS alumna and honorary lecturer Isabel Galina Russell for a tour of UNAM and the National Library where she works as a researcher.

The National Library of Mexico

The National Library of Mexico

Mexican hospitality is always warm and generous and my visit was finished off with a trip around Mexico City and its famous monuments and Castle. As UNAM will be hosting the Digital Humanities Conference DH2018, El Colegio de México and the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in alliance with the Red de Humanidades Digitales (RedHD), my orientation is now done.