Webinar Series: DH Virtual Discussion Group for ECRs in Belgium – Fall 2023 Edition

Are you a Digital Humanities student or early career researcher in Belgium who would like to discuss DH with other early career researchers in the Belgian DH community? If so, you might be interested in joining the DH Virtual Discussion Group for ECRs!

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The DH Virtual Discussion Group is a joint initiative organized by individuals at three different Belgian institutions. We strive to involve speakers from various Belgian institutions and encourage participation from all those who are interested in DH and are located at any Belgian institution. This year, the core organizers are Prof. Margherita Fantoli (KU Leuven Faculty of Arts), Dr. Leah Budke (KU Leuven Libraries Artes), Dr. Sven Lieber (KBR), and Paavo van der Eecken (University of Antwerp). Over the past years, the series has become a regular event. The fall 2023 edition proudly marks our seventh term.

Our sessions this fall will continue the “under-the-hood” format, which entails a volunteer from our community providing a thirty-minute overview of a digital project implementing a given tool, approach, or platform. This is not meant to be a polished research presentation, or to present findings or results, but rather to give our community a behind-the-scenes look at how decisions were made and why specific tools were chosen or developed. The hope is also that this presenter will give attendees some ideas about how to get started implementing a specific tool or workflow, and that they can also answer questions or contribute to a discussion on other projects in our community that might be using similar methodologies or addressing similar issues. This “under-the-hood” session format allows us to have focused discussions around a specific project where we can learn from each other in an informal way. In addition, by implementing this format we can maintain the low threshold for contributing and engaging in the conversations. It also allows us to learn about the diverse projects being done in the Benelux region related to digital humanities (an added bonus!).   

The following sessions are on the schedule for the fall 2023 semester (details will be updated as confirmed):

Session 1
Monday 23 October, 15h-16h30 CEST via Teams
Speaker(s): Sergio Alonso Mislata, Volunteer at KBR, CAMille Project
Title: CAMille at KBR: first steps of a project on Belgian journalists
Abstract: In this presentation, Sergio (MA in Information and Library Studies at Aberystwyth University) will summarise the main goals and processes established during his volunteering experience at KBR within the CAMille project. CAMille, founded in 2020 (ULB-KBR), is the (Belgian) Centre for Archives on the Media and Information. Two main research projects are currently carried out at CAMille: On the one hand, writing a history of Belgian journalism from the end of the 19th century to the present day, from a specific angle: the study of critical discourses. On the other hand, developing a database of Belgian journalists and media since 1830. This presentation will touch upon the latter.
➡️  View Sergio’s presentation slides in the DH VDG Zenodo Community.

Session 2
Monday 27 November, 15h-16h30 CET via Teams
Speaker(s): Prof. Hilde De Weerdt (KU Leuven), Dr. Sunkyu Lee (KU Leuven), Dr. Sander Molenaar (IISG), Dr. Taylor Zaneri (IISH), Ms. Wangzhi Xi (PhD student, KU Leuven)
Title: Analysing Regions through the Digital History of Infrastructures
Abstract: This talk will introduce two digital research projects–Regionalizing Infrastructures in Chinese History (Reginfra) and The Lives and Afterlives of Imperial Material Infrastructure in Southeastern China (InfraLives). Both projects investigate how large-scale infrastructures, such as city walls, bridges, and roads, affected regional (dis)integration in the Chinese and neighboring territories from roughly 1000 to 1900. One of the key objectives is to explore the spatial patterns of infrastructures, including their construction, maintenance, destruction, failure, uses, and cultural meanings across different regions. Based on empirical data derived from digitized texts, the projects aim to critically examine assumptions about the relation between infrastructures and regional integration and to develop dynamic models of regional histories. The presenters will discuss methods in corpus building and text and image annotation, and explain future plans for comparative spatial analysis and machine learning.

Session 3
Monday 18 December, 15h-16h30 CET via Teams
Speaker(s): Mona Allaert, University of Antwerp
Title: From Hieroglyphs to Hyperlinks: Introducing Digital Humanities to Bachelor Students
Abstract: For this session, Mona Allaert (teaching assistant at the University of Antwerp), will discuss the hurdles encountered when developing and teaching the module “Digital Literacy”, a new course followed by second-year bachelor students of Linguistics and Literature. She’ll delve into the unique challenges of instructing a technically focused subject to a largely non-technical audience. Additionally, she’ll shed light on the practical learning labs that complement theoretical lessons, designed to offer students an engaging introduction to hands-on digital humanities. As the course’s second edition is underway, the discussion will revolve around adjustments made based on valuable feedback received from the previous year’s students.

There are an increasing number of conferences, workshops, and funding opportunities in DH, and we would like to ensure that you are aware of them. We will start every session with a moment for individuals to share news about upcoming lectures, workshops, seminars, and conferences. We have a corresponding Slack group where we also share these opportunities both during the discussion group meetings and in between. The link to join the Slack group is included in every email sent out to the mailing list, so watch for it there or send us an email to request access.

If you would like to register or invite other colleagues to join, please complete the registration form for the mailing list here. Please note, if you have received emails from us about the Discussion Group in the past, it means you are already on our mailing list. In that case, there is no need to register again—you will receive the emails with the MS Teams link and any additional information on the day of the session. Additionally, you will also receive updates on upcoming sessions including further details about speakers and the “under-the-hood” presentation topics. 

Are you a frequent attendee of the DH Virtual Discussion Group and would like a low-threshold way to become more involved in the organization? We are looking for ambassadors to promote the group within their university networks. If this might be a role you would like to take on, get in touch and we can tell you more!


We look forward to seeing you this fall!

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