A blog about the Master Programme in Digital Humanities at Uppsala University

Tag: Digital Implementations in Heritage

In-Depth: Digital Implementations in Cultural Heritage

At the beginning of the spring semester, I asked the course coordinator for Digital Implementations in Cultural Heritage, Anna Foka, a few questions about her course.

Anna Foka is project manager Digital Humanities Uppsala at Uppsala University

What is your research background and how did you find Digital Humanities as an educational and research subject?

A: I am an Associate Professor (Reader) in information technology and the humanities, with a background in classics, history and archaeology as well as heritage and media studies. I have extensive experience of teaching digital humanities courses (Umeå, Gothenburg, Linnaeus, Zadar. and even participating in pedagogical research together with colleagues from Kings College in London and Stanford) since 2011 so this was not a first time. Obviously, I find the intersection of humanities and technology fun to teach. That said, I felt that students were not introduced to many hands-on courses before mine, and it was rather challenging to get them in a lab environment for the first time, but I  *hope* it turned out well!

How do you use digital tools or digital methods in your own research?

A: In too many diverse ways! Well… GIS methods and tools but also visualization tools. But of course also digital encoding and metadata science are key in what I do in terms of research. 

I am currently leading and/or involved in the following research projects: I am the PI of Periegesis (Funded by the Marcus and Amalia Wallenberg Research Foundation 2018-21). What we do is we ascribe metadata to character strings using a platform for spatial analysis. I was a core member of the project Ancient Itineraries: The Digital Lives of Art History (Funded by the Getty Foundation 2018-9),I am currently leading and/or involved in the following research projects: I am the PI of Periegesis (Funded by the Marcus and Amalia Wallenberg Research Foundation 2018-21). What we do is for this project is to ascribe spatial and heritage information to words. The platform we work with is called recogito, and is developed by Rainer Simon, Professor of IT in the Austrian Academy of Sciences. In so doing, we feed back into the platform.  I am further a core member of the project Ancient Itineraries: The Digital Lives of Art History (Funded by the Getty Foundation 2018-9).

For this international project, we run two institutes together with the Department of Digital Humanities in Kings College London, one in London and one at the Swedish Institute in Athens, in order to create language vocabularies (gazetteers) for art history artefacts on the move. Kings College Digital Humanities lab is building this platform as we speak, together with core members and institute participants. We are reporting back to the Getty Foundation on artefact ontologies that have a meaning in the digital age, with equality and diversity in mind but also tackling the complex issue of digital surrogates or looted antiquities. More anon! I

What was for you the most successful or meaningful part of the course?

A: I think when we studied GIS and spatial analysis. The students to expand their knowledge with Daniel Löwenborg’s ´s next elective in the autumn: Introduction to GIS. I’d like to believe it was certainly fun for them to learn how to make 3D objects from pictures! I think they’ve enjoyed that! Their final presentations made me happy and overwhelmed. They were smart, professional and very much hands on! I am hoping some of them will publish versions of their excellent essays on this blog and our DH Uppsala blog

What is the central theoretical viewpoint or practical method that you want the students to take away from your course into their coming courses in the program?

A: My course was about implementing technology for history, art, heritage and the museum sector more generally. I want my students to engage hands on with technology but also think critically. Too much theory makes humanities. DH instead is about the application of methods and tools to real problem solving. I am hoping that these skills will enhance pupils employability and that they’ve learned a thing or two about how to use tech to organize, visualize and to sensory-render the past. 

To read more about the course, you can read the post about the workshop the students attended at Uppsala Museum of Evolution

Digitization of Cultural Heritage

Yesterday the student had a whole day at Museum of Evolution in Uppsala, as part of the course Digital Implementations in Heritage. They were able to take part in lectures from some of the staff and were shown a part of the museums collection.

Photographer: Helena Wangefelt Ström

At the end of the day the students took part in a exercise which was headed by Helena Wangefelt Ström, pdh-student and lecturer at Department of ALM. The students were instructed to suggest different layers of identities and data sets that could be attributed to different cultural objects

A selection of photographs of cultural objects. Photographer: Helena Wangefelt Ström

The goal of the exercise was to understand what the uses the different objects have and have had, for who and by whom these objects have been preserved and what context in time and space they are a part of.

Photographer: Helena Wangefelt Ström

Digital Implementations in Heritage

Today the final course on the first semester starts, and soon the students will go on winter break. The course coordinator for the course is Anna Foka, who some of you already know Anna from post about Collaborative Document Annotation back in October.

Just a few weeks left…

The course provides students with an understanding of the processes of implementing digital technology for art and heritage. Much attention will be placed on data organization and information studies as well as theoretical perspectives from aesthetics and museum studies.

By drawing on concepts like cultural entrepreneurship, national and international policies, global initiatives and paradigms for digitization, organisation, representation and design, the course will enable the students to present their own implementation plan in a digital heritage setting.