British Computer Society, London office, Southampton Street
Monday, 11 July 2016
Sponsored by the School of Information, Pratt Institute, New York, and in association with the London Summer School 2016 at King’s College London on The Arts and Digital Culture (26 June to 8 July 2016).
Chaired by Jonathan Bowen (London South Bank University, UK) and Tula Giannini (Pratt Institute, USA).
Registration: https://events.bcs.org/book/1961/ - free for Pratt Summer School 2016 students and EVA 2016 attendees (you need a discount code for this). There is a £30 fee for others. which includes two refreshment breaks, lunch and reception. Closing date for bookings is Friday 8th July 2016 at 12:00pm. No more bookings will be taken after this date. For overseas delegates who wish to attend the event please note that BCS do not issue invitation letters. A full refund will be issued if a cancellation is received within 14 days of the booking date or by 12pm on Monday 4th July, otherwise name substitutions will be allowed after this date.
Symposium programme and speakers:
From Analogue to Digital in Literature and Art
10.00 Andrew Robinson (independent author) - writing systems
(Introduction and chair: Jonathan Bowen)
Five Millennia of Writing: From Hieroglyphs to Alphabets and Back?
11.00 Coffee/tea break
11.30 Martin Eve (Birkbeck, University of London) - literature/technology/publishing
(Chair: Tula Giannini)
The Universal Library: Open Access and Why It Is So Hard
12.30 Buffet lunch break
14.00 Stuart Dunn (King’s College London) - digital humanities
(Chair: Jonathan Bowen)
Place in Text: From Middle Earth to the Lake District
15.00 Coffee/tea break
15.30 Nick Lambert (Ravensbourne) - digital art
(Chair and close: Tula Giannini)
From Superhighways to Clouds: Digital Art in the Age of Digital Ubiquity
17.30 Digital Futures (Victoria & Albert Museum, separate registration)
There will be a wine reception after the Symposium and then Digital Futures in association with the Victoria and Albert Museum at the same venue in the early evening (separate free registration), with digital exhibits selected by Irini Papadimitriou, a V&A curator.
Biography: Andrew Robinson is the author of more than 25 books on the arts and sciences, some of them on writing and scripts, ancient and modern. They include The Story of Writing: Alphabets, Hieroglyphs and Pictograms; Writing and Script: A Very Short Introduction; Lost Languages: The Enigma of the World’s Undeciphered Scripts; and two biographies of decipherers: The Man Who Deciphered Linear B: The Story of Michael Ventris and Cracking the Egyptian Code: The Revolutionary Life of Jean-François Champollion. He also wrote the essay on Writing Systems in The Oxford Companion to the Book. Formerly literary editor of The Times Higher Education Supplement from 1994-2006, he is now a regular freelance contributor to Current World Archaeology, History Today, The Lancet, Nature and Science. He holds degrees from University College, Oxford and the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, and has been a visiting fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge.
Title: Five Millennia of Writing: From Hieroglyphs to Alphabets and Back?
Abstract: Many scholars of writing today have an increasing respect for the intelligence behind ancient scripts. Down with the monolithic ‘triumph of the alphabet’, they say, and up with Chinese characters, Egyptian hieroglyphs and Mayan glyphs, with their hybrid mixtures of pictographic, logographic and phonetic signs, not to mention emojis. Their conviction has in turn nurtured a new awareness of writing systems as being enmeshed within societies, rather than viewing them simply as different kinds of technical solution to the problem of efficient visual representation of a particular language. While I personally remain sceptical about the expressive virtues of pictograms and logograms, this growing holistic view of writing systems strikes me as a healthy development that reflects the real relationship between writing and society in all its subtlety and complexity. The transmission of my intimate thoughts to the minds of others in many cultures via intricate marks on a piece of paper or a computer screen, continues to amaze me as a kind of barely explicable magic.
Professor of Literature, Technology and Publishing
Birkbeck, University of London
Biography: Martin Paul Eve is Professor of Literature, Technology and Publishing at Birkbeck, University of London (formal conferment of title, 1 October 2016). Previously he was a Senior Lecturer at Birkbeck, a Lecturer in English at the University of Lincoln, UK, and an Associate Tutor/Lecturer at the University of Sussex, where he completed his PhD. Martin specialises in contemporary American fiction (primarily the works of Thomas Pynchon, Don DeLillo and David Foster Wallace), histories and philosophies of technology, and technological mutations in scholarly publishing.
Title: The Universal Library: Open Access and Why It Is So Hard
Abstract: Open access, the notion that research work should be free to access and re-use, is a theoretically simple concept that has become mired in practical complexities and controversies. It is also, however, an aspect of contemporary research practice that is gaining worldwide traction and one that no contemporary scholar can afford to ignore, regardless of his or her discipline. In this talk, Professor Martin Paul Eve will set out the background to open access, the specific challenges faced by the humanities disciplines and the potential future solutions. What, exactly, do the terms “gold”, “green”, “libre” and “gratis” mean? How can OA be affordable for the humanities? What are the political motivations for its implementation? What is open licensing? And will open access really happen?
Lecturer in Digital Humanities
King’s College London
Biography: Stuart Dunn graduated from the University of Durham with a PhD in Aegean Bronze Age Archaeology in 2002, conducting fieldwork and research visits in Melos, Crete and Santorini. Having developed research interests in GIS, Stuart subsequently became a Research Assistant on the AHRC’s ICT in Arts and Humanities Research Program. In 2006, he became a Research Associate at the Arts and Humanities e-Science Support Centre at King’s College London, and Research Fellow in CeRch. Stuart manages and contributes to several projects in the area of visualisation, GIS and digital humanities.
Title: Place in Text: From Middle Earth to the Lake District
Abstract: “I wisely started with a map, and made the story fit ... The other way about lands one in confusions and impossibilities." – J. R. R. Tolkien
As Tolkien well understood, maps and narrative have always gone together: his map of Middle Earth is an iconic literary device, which will forever be an image associated with the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Maps shape and inform our ability to read, to create narrative, and serve a range of functions in text as adornments, illustrations, modes of analysis and augmentations. This presentation will give an overview of how maps and text work together; and how digitisation has changed this relationship. We will focus on a particular subset of geospatial technologies, Geographical Information Systems (GIS), which are transforming digital approaches to textual studies through the emerging field of Literary GIS. Walking through a number of examples, we will look at how GIS has been applied especially to literature, and how digital approaches to place are impacting approaches to literary criticism.
Head of Research
Biography: Dr Nicholas Lambert has a first degree from SOAS University of London and a DPhil from the University of Oxford. His PhD covered the evolution of digital-specific art forms under the general rubric of “computer art”, although he showed this was not a unified style or movement in the traditional sense. Nick’s interests revolve around the digital medium and its application in contemporary art and visual culture. Through this, he engages with questions about the boundary between “fine” and “applied” arts, design and interfaces, and the relation of art, science and technology. He has researched the history of computer art and engaged with artists and theorists in this field. He has also developed parallel interests in the history of digital technology, in particular its roots in Cold War America. The evolution of interfaces and display technologies is also part of his research, including some practical as well as theoretical outcomes. Nick also lectures in digital art and culture in the School of Arts at Birkbeck, University of London.
Title: From Superhighways to Clouds: Digital Art in the Age of Digital Ubiquity
Abstract: As a retrospective of digital art is shown at the Whitechapel Gallery in London, is it possible to assign any particular resonance to “digital” art in a culture that has seemingly embraced the digital medium? Nick Lambert considers the meaning of these terms and ponders the future of the area.