Archive for the 'Workshops' Category

The British Library Big Data Experiment

By Sarah Davenport, on 30 May 2014

If you are an arts and humanities researcher, please consider signing up for this focus group:

The British Library Big Data Experiment – call for focus group (6 June 2014, British Library)

The British Library and University College London are working together on an experimental approach to opening up the digital collections at the BL to a wider academic audience, particularly to benefit those undertaking research in the arts and humanities. UCL Computer Science and UCLDH are helping to shape the development of these systems, but it is vitally important that we have access to the thoughts of academic researchers who wish to have improved access to the BL’s digital content, or have opinions about what they need to help undertake their research.

To start the process, they are looking for a small number of researchers in the arts and humanities to attend a focus group at the British Library on the afternoon of 6th June 2014. The focus group will inform and shape the MSc project work of a team of Systems Engineering students from University College London working on experimental platforms for access to and interrogation of the British Library’s public domain digital collections using the Microsoft Azure cloud infrastructure. Arts and humanities researchers from a range of backgrounds, both thematic and technical, are welcomed.

For further details or to register your interest, please contact James Baker (Curator, Digital Research, British Library) at james.baker@bl.uk.

Cross-Currents – Rural Cultural Practice and the Digital Economy in India and the UK

By Chris J Dillon, on 23 May 2014

Monday 12 – Wednesday 14 May at IIIT-B

The purpose of this workshop at the International Institute of Information Technology, Bangalore was to promote knowledge exchange between academics in the UK and India as well as with the IT industry in Bangalore, focusing on how digital technologies can be used to develop cultural, arts, heritage and relevant business practices at the community level in rural areas.

img: temple carvings

temple carvings

I’ve written short notes on each session below, with links to further information when available for those interested in the various areas. There was a very warm atmosphere.

Are you working on something similar and interested in adding an Indian dimension? Why not contact the people who gave the talks.

Day 1

The workshop was opened by Professor Debabrata Das, Dean Academics and R&D, IIT-B and Dr David Beel, University of Aberdeen.

Professor Alan Dix, University of Birmingham, spoke about Technology at the edge – connectivity issues in India, Wales and Tiree.

Rajeev Kuchhal spoke on Rural enterprises involving IT – connectivity and IT resource issues in India and Africa.

Dr Leanne Townsend, University of Aberdeen spoke about SIRA (Satellite Internet for Rural Access).
Broadband access can solve issues in rural areas, if it’s available. Broadband Delivery UK is attacking this problem and running pilot projects. SIRA is looking at satellite broadband, especially for the creative industries. She mentioned several case studies.

Dr Prithvi Raj spoke on the Digital Hampi (Heritage) Project.
I spoke to him and he agreed to put me in contact with people working on language at Hampi.

I gave a short presentation on Bridge to China.

Professor Navjyoti Singh spoke about Community Empowerment through Local Information Generalization and Utilization.

Dr David Beel and Dr Gemma Webster, Univ. of Aberdeen presented the CURIOS project about how digital archives can support local interest in local heritage and contribute to community regeneration and strengthened community cohesion. It has developed software tools to help remote rural communities collaboratively to maintain and present information about their cultural heritage. The objective is to investigate the use of semantic web / linked data technology to build a general, flexible and “future proof” software platform that could help such projects to come into existence and be sustainable over time.

T.B. Dinesh, Janastu spoke on Re-narration culture and the social Web. Janastu only uses open source software. Web pages recognise users and produce Web pages in another language. The Indian Digital Hampi website lists all the groups working on the project. It is likely that Dinesh will be visiting UCL in June.

Jonathan Sapsed, University of Brighton spoke about Superfusion – how arts and digital technology are combining to boost economic growth.

  • The Brighton Fuse
  • How the Creative-Digital-IT cluster is recasting economic value
  • The intersection between STEM and A&H creates growth.
  • They found that fusion is linked to growth – super fused companies grow three ties more- quickly.
  • A&H is key to interdisciplinary interaction and innovation and economic growth.

Magda Tyzlik-Carver presented the University of the Village project via Skype.

Vijayanand and Lokesh Bhat spoke on the Use of digital technologies for a community cooperative initiative – history and field experiences.

Emile Devereux spoke about LawDigital: Digital cartography, participatory media, and the limits of legal discourse via video and Skype. This concerned simplifying legal language.

Helen Pritchard spoke on the Affectsphere of computational practices.

Day 2

This was a visit to Mysore, an old town about four hours away from Bangalore by bus. It has wide avenues and spacious buildings designed to be naturally cool.

Our first visit was to the Oriental Research Institute, followed by the Folklore Museum.

We had an Indian lunch at the Vishwa-Kshema Trust.
In 1996 a group of young men established an informal but active group to vivify the most enduring, ageless and immortal wisdom of Hindu lore and culture with a focus on the younger generation. Since then, Sanskrit awareness, Yoga and Meditation camps and social welfare activities including regular performance of Vedic rituals have been conducted in various parts of the country. These informal activities culminated in the year 2000 in the birth of “VISHVAKSHEMA”, a registered public charitable trust, with a clear idea of its objectives, philosophy and mission.

We made a visit to the MYRA School of Business where we were welcomed by Dr Shalini Urs, the Executive Director.

On the way home we made a visit to Mysore Palace to se a dispay of electric lights, unfortunately beyond the specification of my camera.

Day 3

Narasimhan M.G., Samskrti Foundaiton, Mysore spoke about An indigenous cryptographic system. The encryption works in a matrix.

M.A. Alwar spoke on A detailed bibliography of important manuscripts available on science and technology in ancient India. This included very useful website for practising Indian scripts – one of the best systems I’ve ever seen!

Nandini spoke on IT for Change – Exploring ICT possibilities for empowering marginalised women’s collectives.

I ran the “Languages and Scripts” research theme session.
ICANN is looking for experts for its Neo Brahmi Generation Panel.
There was a suggestion for a wiki based at UCL on Indian scripts for scholars and dealing initially with Sanskrit, with plans for Hindi and other Indian languages.

Amusing moment

Lack of rain caused hydroelectric problems in the Bangalore area and one became used to the power going off. The water supply is not affected at such times – as I discovered having a shower.


Further information: www.cross-currents.appspot.com and #XCurrents on Twitter.

Getting into Digital Humanities! A free afternoon workshop for UCL undergraduates, from UCLDH

By Sarah Davenport, on 13 March 2013

Wednesday 24th April 2013, 2.30-5pm

Digital Humanities is an exciting area of research and teaching that aims to use and develop computational methods for use in the humanities, culture and heritage. How can we best use internet technologies to benefit humanities scholars? What new tools and techniques can DH bring to humanities research? How can digital methods change the scope of the humanities in the 21st Century? Where would you even start to learn about this?

This free, half day workshop by UCL Centre for Digital Humanities will introduce the main aspects of Digital Humanities by leaders in the field, providing a hands-on guide to getting started with text analysis, Geographic Information Systems, Social Media Analysis, and more. The event is open to all interested undergraduates at UCL: please sign up at http://gettingintodh.eventbrite.co.uk. For more information about Digital Humanities, please see the UCLDH webpage at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/dh/

Schedule

Torrington (1-19) 115 Galton LT
2.30-3.30pm: Introduction to Digital Humanities

Melissa Terras – Digitisation
Claire Warwick – Social Media and museums
Simon Mahony – Markup/document analysis in the Digital Humanities Oliver Duke-Williams – Mapping
David Beavan – Text analysis/corpus studies
3.30.4.00pm
Coffee and cake!

B29, Foster Court
4.00-5.00pm: Workshop

We will move to a cluster room where you will have the chance to choose an activity that you are interested in and would like to learn more about, and get some hands-on experience. You will be given a worksheet to go through and staff will be on hand to help and answer any questions you have.

Digital Humanities Project Starter Workshop

By Sarah Davenport, on 26 February 2013

Thursday 25 April & Friday 26 April 2013

Forms part of UCL’s Digital Humanities Month, April 2013, supported by the Grand Challenge of Cultural Interaction

- £5,000 project starter prize for the best cross-disciplinary digital humanities project

- Only 12-16 places are available

- Open to all disciplines across UCL. You don’t have to be a humanities researcher or a computer scientist to apply

- Apply by 9am, Monday, 25th March 2013

Who can pitch the best project, and win seed funding (£5,000) to undertake a new project at the juncture of computing and the humanities? This is your opportunity to spend one and a half days working in cross-disciplinary project groups to formulate research proposals which will be judged by an expert panel.

This innovative workshop, led by a professional facilitator, will aim to stimulate new thinking about digital humanities and to catalyse collaborations across UCL with researchers who work in disparate subject areas.

Please see the Intercultural Interaction website for further details and information on how to apply.

News about further Digital Humanities Month events to follow.  Watch this space!

Digital Partnership Event Summary

By Sarah Davenport, on 5 February 2013

Event date: 31 January 2013

Slides from the presentations are available here:

John Hindmarch’s Presentation

Jack Ashby’s Presentation

Matthew Cock’s Presentation

Jane MacDonald’s Presentation

Digital innovation and how museums and universities can partner to achieve this was the focus of this workshop. John Hindmarch, a PhD student at UCLDH, started the afternoon with his experience with the scanning of the recently decommissioned Shipping Gallery at the Science Museum. With museums being finite in display capacity, it is impossible to have every artefact on display forever. This raises the question about how we can preserve not only an exhibition, but also an experience? The Shipping Gallery was the largest gallery in the museum and largely unchanged since 1950’s. Locked in the Science Museum for five nights, Scanlabs and John took 275 individual scans equaling 265 GB of data! Even the 7-minute video we were shown used only 10% of the data and took 48 hours to render. There are definite accessibility benefits to digitizing decommissioned spaces, but there are obvious setbacks such as copyright issues of the boats that were on display and the high cost of such a project.

Giving a museum professionals side of view on a digital project, Jack Ashby, the manager of the Grant Museum of Zoology, spoke about QRator. Using radical trust of visitors, QRator invites visitors to share their comments to provoking questions about social and ethical issues related to natural history. He spoke about the importance of the symbiotic relationship between museums and universities. Museums want to engage visitors further and universities need a public space to fulfill their public engagement agenda. Next up was Matthew Cock, Head of Web, speaking about the British Museums Collection Online and how university research helped understand the viewership and use of the site. Using 30-question survey, UCLDH researchers teamed with the British Museum culminated over 2,657 respondents. The results helped drive a user-centered redesign incorporating direct feedback from the survey of the site. Limitations, such as self-selectiveness and length of the survey, were an issue. One-question, targeted surveys help to increase responses by decreasing length. Paired with Google Analytics to trigger questions based upon visitor page interactions, British Museum was able to get the responses they needed but without the length of the previous survey.

Lastly, Jane MacDonald, Project Administrator at Edinburgh College of Art of Tales of Things, spoke about the innovative site that used QR codes and RFID to link to the ‘stories’ of objects and what Jane referred to as a capacity to extend the ‘social history’ of that object. Partnered with university researchers, the Tales of Things sought to capture and share social experiences surrounding things from a shoe to a sewing machine using ‘ghost objects’ in museums. However powerful an object can be for eliciting stories, the project faced the obstacles of QR codes and interaction outside the museum. A new project she is working on is an application attaching information about attractions to taxi number plates.

An open discussion between the audience and speakers sparked conversation about how practical expensive technology could be in a museum setting. Yes, scanning an entire gallery is extremely expensive and time/resource consuming, but is it worth it? Arguably it increases accessibility and the ability to for virtual visitors to experience an exhibition from anywhere. Another issue brought up is how do we compare a virtual experience to actually visiting. For example, how can we measure user interaction with a virtual object? Furthermore, how can museums and universities work together to achieve a standard for measuring user interaction for comparison virtually and in real-life? Can you even compare them? These questions and many more are ones that universities and museums will have to consider when thinking about how to achieve digital innovation.

Digital Partnerships: Museums and Digital Humanities Workshop

By Sarah Davenport, on 17 December 2012

Registration is now open for a workshop, hosted by UCLDH, on 31st January 2013 beginning at 1:30pm

About: Digital Partnerships’ will focus on how museums and universities can work together when it comes to digital innovation. A drinks reception will be hosted afterwards at the Grant Museum of Zoology nearby.

It will explore digital innovation and the relationships between museums, universities and their users. Digital innovation means that museums now find themselves in a new environment in which visitors can interact to create, curate, organise and share their own experiences. Leading to big questions around how we research and understand digital innovation in a cultural context. This event will bring researchers and museum professionals together to consider innovative practices, and develop new research ideas.

Speakers: Matthew Cock, Head of Web at the British Museum; Jane MacDonald, ToTEM Project Administrator at Edinburgh College of Art; John Hindmarch, PhD student at UCL; and Jack Ashby, Manager at the Grant.

Full program viewable at the Eventbrite site below.

Email Rachel directly with any questions at rachel.kasbohm.11@ucl.ac.uk.

Register FREE at http://digital-partnerships.eventbrite.co.uk/

Registration for CHIPS is open!

By Nicolas E Gold, on 15 May 2012

The CHIPS project on popular music performance with technology (see previous post) is underway.  There is online discussion of the issues getting started here and registration is now open (there is no charge for the event) for the symposium on 7th-8th June.  We have a programme of great speakers lined up.  If you are interested in coming, please register asap as places are limited by the venue capacity.

New AHRC Project at UCLDH: CHIPS – Computer Human Interactive Performance Symposium

By Nicolas E Gold, on 28 March 2012

As part of our expanding programme of research and teaching in computational musicology and computer music at UCL, we are pleased to announce a new AHRC-funded project (prospective PhD and MA/MSc Digital Humanities students may like to note this activity, particularly the COMPGC20 Computer Music module available as an option on the DH degree).

The Computer-Human Interactive Performance Symposium (CHIPS) project is funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) through the Digital Transformations programme.  The project runs from February to August 2012.

The aim is to explore the likely performance practices (and problems) that would result from having easily deployable, robust, creative, and reliable artificial music performers in mixed human-computer ensembles playing popular music.  There are many systems that go some way to solving the technical problems of computer participation in this kind of music (e.g. beat trackers, chord estimators, interactive improvisers) but as yet no complete systems that can be deployed by non-expert users into common practice performance contexts and be relied upon to underpin the performances of popular music ensembles.

Popular music (e.g. folk, rock, music theatre) plays a central role in the lives of millions of people.   Musicians of all standards from amateur to professional produce music that is heard on radios and televisions, and performed in concert halls and theatres.  Teenagers are motivated to learn instruments and play in bands to emulate their professional idols, serious amateurs play and sing together at open-mike nights, charity concerts, and in churches, and professionals perform in clubs, theatres, and spectacular multimedia shows like Cirque du Soleil and the Blue Man Group.   To learn, rehearse, and perform popular music often requires a musician to be part of an ensemble yet forming such a group can be challenging, particularly for amateur musicians.  Even in established communities such as churches, the demands of everyday life mean that musicians cannot always attend rehearsals or play regularly together.  In professional ensembles, illness can cause the absence of key musicians in rehearsal or performance.  Computer music technology offers the potential to substitute for musicians in these situations, yet reliable, robust, and simple systems that can be quickly set up, and that play musically and creatively do not yet exist.

The project aims to develop the future research agenda for both technical and non technical music computing research in this area, by learning from the issues and experiences of technological adoption in other relevant performance contexts, understanding the technological state of the art in relation to popular music performance, imagining future performance practices incorporating computer “musicians”, and thinking about how to study musicians (human and computer) in this context.

We hope to develop a network of interest around this symposium, beginning with some online discussion ahead of the face to face event on 7th-8th June 2012 and followed by further online activity and follow-up events.  For information, the programme, and registration for the main symposium (presented as part of the CREST Open Workshop (COW) programme), please see the COW web-page here.

Playing the Margins Update

By Anne Welsh, on 14 May 2011

Over on the UCL DIS Student Blog you can read about the first workshop held by the Playing the Margins project, which uses UCL Library Services Special Collections to explore annotation practices with actors, drama students and academics.

Post author, Paris O’Donnell, observes that she and her project partner Sian Prosser

realised that the unfamiliar interface of the graphics tablet diverted some attention and energy from the purpose of the exercise and are thinking about different ways to structure this part of the exercise for the next workshop

Read Paris’s full post on the UCL DIS Student Blog, where there are also details of how to sign up for the second workshop which takes place at the end of the month.

Image: Auntie P, copyright commons: some rights reserved

Playing the Margins

By Anne Welsh, on 18 March 2011

As the clock ticks to midnight, I thought I would start the Day of Digital Humanities with a post about Playing the Margins, a public engagement project led by MA LIS students Paris O’Donnell and Sian Prosser. Sian and Paris have both taken Digital Resources in the Humanities and Historical Bibliography, and we are delighted to see them putting their learning (and previous experience) into practice in this project, funded by UCL’s Train & Engage Scheme.

Paris and Sian write:

The aim of Playing the Margins is to bring drama students and actors into UCL Special Collections to engage with early printed books relating to their interests. The project is being supported by the Public Engagement Unit and Special Collections at UCL. The workshops concentrate on readers’ marks and annotations, and give participants insights into how earlier readers left traces of their engagement with dramatic (as well as non-dramatic) texts. Inspired by our studies of digital humanities and historical bibliography at UCL DIS, Playing the Margins is an experiment in using digital tools to explore reading practices and dramatic performance.

In the workshop, participants will be invited to reflect on their own marking practices in scripts and play-texts, and to think about taboos or proscriptions relating to writing in books. Then, participants are presented with examples of interesting annotations, ownership marks and other readers’ marks taken from UCL’s Special Collections, so they can explore the continuities between their reading/annotating practices and those of early readers. The workshop concludes with participants inscribing virtually a photographic image of a text they have encountered, using a digital tablet which captures handwriting. Their recorded hand-written engagements will form the basis for an online blog and exhibition, which will also showcase participants’ further written and/or spoken reflections on the workshop.

We’re really looking forward to hearing more about Sian’s and Paris’s experiences and findings through the project, and especially, to following the blog that they are in the process of setting up. Watch this space (and Sian’s Day of DH blog) for more.