What is happening behind the text?

I have joined King’s Digital Lab (KDL) as a Marie Curie Research Fellow to conduct an ethnographic study of digital humanists at work, combined with a critical analysis of local infrastructure. KDL is a unique lab that is made up of Research Software Engineers (RSEs) who work on technical research solutions for conducting digital research in the humanities and social sciences. What a RSE-based digital humanities lab can tell us about humanities knowledge production?

As this is my research problem, I don’t know the answer yet. What I suspect is that in order to understand how DH knowledge is created, one must get into the substrate of DH work – the technical infrastructure layer of producing and providing devices, software, and tools. By starting ethnographic work from the underlying substance of DH work we might be able to comprehend how the production layer determines the process of reasoning and also how it embodies critical insights into the socio-technical world. 

You can find out more about my research in my blog post “What is happening behind the text?” published at King’s Digital Lab website. I reflect on the importance and methodological challenges of the study of knowledge production in the digital/humanities and the method of going behind the text to map the complexities of knowledge creation.

My new article on re(designing) spaces for humanities practices

I am pleased to see that my new open access article “Place matters: Thinking about spaces for humanities practices” has been published online first in Arts and Humanities in Higher Education. This essay was written as part of my Vanguard Fellowship at the Institute of Advanced Studies at the University of Birmingham. It is open access so please feel free to read it online and download it for free here.

This essay reflects on the role of place for humanities practices and contributes to emerging discussions on infrastructure for the humanities and socio-material conditions of scholarly knowledge production. I provide a theoretical framework for studying venues for humanities work drawing on the phenomenological approach to the concepts of place and space, the pedagogical perspective on learning spaces in higher education, and epistemological studies of scientific places. Next, I analyse the landscape for the reconfiguration of humanities venues and present arguments for engaging with space by referring to the functioning of digital humanities. This essay shows that place is an extremely important resource, seeing as it is endowed with the power to drive new practices, institutionalize a community, and consolidate a discipline. Therefore, humanists should reflect critically on the ‘architecture of the humanities’ and engage in making their own spaces that determine practices, communication, and well-being.

Awarded a Marie Curie Fellowship!

I am very pleased to announce that, in February, I was awarded a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship by the European Commission for my project “Digital Humanities Laboratory: Studying the Entanglement of Infrastructure and Technology in Knowledge Production”. I will conduct my research at King’s Digital Lab at King’s College London.

For my research, I propose to conduct a novel ethnographic study of digital humanists at work, combined with a critical analysis of local infrastructure. This project has three main objectives: the epistemological goal is to develop a new theoretical framework for examining a laboratory in Digital Humanities drawing on Science and Technology Studies and Knowledge Infrastructures; the methodological task aims at integrating laboratory ethnography and the ethnography of infrastructure to build a new toolset for studying the intertwining of human organisation and infrastructure; and the central work focuses on investigating Digital Humanities knowledge creation mainly based on a case study of King’s Digital Lab. The study will be based on the observation of, and interviews with, participants involved in the labs, the analysis of written documents, and the analysis of digital communications. As part of this project, I will organize seminars and workshops and publish scholarly articles and methodological guidance. I am really excited to start the project!

You can find more about my research on CORDIS European Commission website: https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/891155

Last week in Finland

It is a strange feeling to know that this is our last week in Finland! These four years have passed so quickly and brought a lot of changes to my life. It has been a wonderful time to live in such a beautiful and peaceful country, work at Aalto University, and meet great colleagues. I am pleased that my postdoctoral position has given me a lot of different experiences and allowed me to delve into new topics and research interests, including digital humanities knowledge production, research infrastructure, and data management practices. It is really strange to begin a new fellowship and change countries during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic but I am very excited packing up all the stuff and sending them to our new place… in London! So, the next stop is London where I will begin a Marie Curie Fellowship at King’s College London. I am very happy to become a Marie Curie Fellow and conduct my research at King’s Digital Lab!

Rebuilding laboratories: an interdisciplinary perspective

I am very excited about the coming workshop “Rebuilding Laboratories” taking place at the Institute of Advanced Studies at the University of Birmingham on 19th November. I am co-organizing this event together with Dr Julia P Myatt, Acting Dean of the Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences.

The chemical laboratory at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston: women and men at class. Wood engraving, c. 1880. Source: Europeana Collections

This workshop brings together University of Birmingham experts in the field of the history of science and medicine, digital humanities, interdisciplinary studies, and knowledge production as well as the heads of scientific labs, to initiate the first discussion on laboratories from an inclusive and interdisciplinary perspective. The workshop speakers include Prof Jonathan Reinarz and Dr Vanessa Heggie from the Institute of Applied Health Research who will talk about labs from a historical and sociological perspective. Prof Jonathan Seville, Academic Director of the Collaborative Teaching Lab, will present this innovative lab that brings together practical teaching activities across a broad range of science and engineering disciplines. Prof Seville will discuss the concepts of collaboration and interdisciplinarity in practice. Prof Henry Chapman from the College of Arts and Law and a coordinator of Digital Humanities Forum will reflect on building an interdisciplinary lab for digital humanities. Further, Dr Julia P Myatt from the LANS and the School of Biosciences will discuss a plan for establishing the LANS lab to enhance collaborative research. Dr Ilija Rašović, from the LANS and the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, will reflect on the idea of a laboratory in the context of “making materials and cooking chemicals”. Dr Matthew Hayler from the Department of English Literature and Co-director of the Centre for Digital Cultures will discuss digital cultures laboratories. I, in turn, will present the concept of a laboratory in/for the humanities with a focus on different origins of labs ranging from science to industrial labs.

The event will be open with a keynote speaker, Dr James Smithies, Director of King’s Digital Lab at King’s College London who will talk about digital humanities labs in a broader context of global cyber-infrastructure.

The overall aim is to provide an intellectual discussion on the role of labs in supporting interdisciplinarity and enhancing the empirical knowledge and to stimulate the exchange of experiences between different disciplines.

Here you can find the workshop agenda. The info about the event is published on the IAS website.

Spaces of the Humanities Practices

How is the humanities attached to a place? Why does the space of scholarly practices matter? How do new spaces of humanities inquiry (e.g., laboratories and makerspaces) both transform and drive the research and teaching practices? These questions are a starting point for my current research on the role of space for humanities work. I am conducting this study at the Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) at the University of Birmingham. This coming Wednesday, 13th November, I will give a public lecture “Place Matters: Exploring New Sites of the Humanities Practices” at the IAS. This is a great opportunity for me to share and discuss my preliminary results. In the last weeks, I have been writing an article under the same title which hopefully will be soon finalized and submitted for publication.

You can find the abstract of my talk on the IAS website. I particularly love the poster! I found this image at the Europeana Collections and thought it is a perfect suit to my topic. The picture shows women and men at the chemical laboratory at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston. It is from 1880 and represents wood engraving techniques. Such a great treasure!

Fellowship at the University of Birmingham

I am very happy to share that I have been awarded the Vanguard Fellowship at the Institute of Advanced Studies at the University of Birmingham. I will visit the Liberal Arts and Natural Science from 20 October to 24 November 2019. The next five weeks will be very exciting and busy! I will give a public lecture, titled “Place Matters: Exploring New Sites of the Humanities Practices” and co-organize a workshop “Rebuilding Laboratories”. I am very much looking forward to inspiring discussions on interdisciplinarity, knowledge production, and laboratories!

WM Fellowship at King’s

The past few weeks were intensive, busy, and exciting! I visited the Department of Digital Humanities (DDH) at King’s College London on a Willard McCarty fellowship. It was a great pleasure to meet the academic staff and share research interests and experience. Thanks for all inspiring talks!

On 23 May, I gave a talk at the event “Humanities Laboratories: Critical Infrastructures and Knowledge Experiments”, hosted by the DDH with King’s Digital Lab (KDL), in conjunction with the Critical infrastructure Studies initiative. The event was chaired by Arianna Ciula (Deputy Director & Senior Research Software Analyst, KDL) and introduced by Prof. Willard McCarty. Next, James Smithies (Director, KDL; Deputy Director, KCL eResearch) gave a talk about a laboratory in the context of postphenomenology and presented King’s Digital Lab as socio-technical system. After that, Jonathan Gray (Co-founder of the Public Data Lab, and Lecturer in Critical Infrastructure Studies, DDH) reflected on the development of the Public Data Lab, a unique model of lab as a network of researchers and research centres from across Europe established around questions of the data society. After that, I presented my recent work on humanities laboratories from the perspective of laboratory studies, critical infrastructure studies, and social lab theorists. The resources and photos will be soon published on the WM Fellowship’s website. Meanwhile, you can find my presentation under the “Materials” section!