Merisa Martinez interviewed Professor Fred Truyen, head of the DH Master’s at KU Leuven and a long-time ICT enthusiast, about his experiences in the field of Digital Humanities.
My first question is how long have you been working in the field of Digital Humanities?
That’s a difficult question. I came to Digital Humanities from ICT. When I finalized my PhD thesis in 1991, I started as the head of ICT of the Faculty of Arts. They had difficulties to attract genuine ICT people so, as I was a logician, and quite well-versed in computer programming, they asked me if I wanted to do that. And since it was in the Faculty of Arts supporting people who were doing humanities research, in fact it was Digital Humanities avant la lettre, but it was not a field. It’s not that I joined the research field as such, I supported people who did humanities research and who were starting to do this with computers. So since the early 1990s. As a researcher, it’s much later I suppose – 1995 or so. There was a professor of history that taught a course in data management in the programme of History as it was called then, but he left and then they asked me, since I had a PhD, “Don’t you want to teach this course? Because we have no one else.” And that was, as I said, 1995 or so, so quite a while ago. [Laughs]
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