Bursary Reports 2019


Irina Pavlova. Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages, University of Oxford

Workshop: Applied Data Analysis


I am very grateful for receiving a scholarship for the Digital Humanities at Oxford Summer School. I have been working on Digital Humanities projects for a while, but it is a constant problem to find people that appreciate digital methods in humanities studies. I was very excited to meet scholars with similar academic interests. My thesis focuses on digital literary studies and the Summer School let me see a bigger range of my research opportunities.


I attended the “Applied Data Analysis” workshop, organised by Giovanni Colavizza and Matteo Romanello. The workshop focused on analysing different kinds of data, such as text, historical and network data. 


Even though I was familiar with some of the tools that we explored during the workshop, I appreciated the theoretical background that Giovanni and Matteo provided to us. I refreshed and extended my knowledge of basic statistics that humanities scholars use for quantitative analysis.


The convenors walked us through the process of tidying up the data which is vital for Digital Humanities. Then we explored several datasets and looked at various types of visualisation. It was amazing since there are so many ways to visualise data and it is hard to understand which ones are better. We were provided with all the necessary resources to study this further. We also covered some text mining techniques, for example, topic modeling. I worked on topic modeling during my masters and the workshop gave me an understanding of how I can enhance my research.


Since it was an advanced workshop, Giovanni and Matteo provided us with extra datasets that we were free to work on independently. I chose the dataset on crypto art sales from the SuperRare Online Gallery. I was not aware of the availability of such data before. It was fascinating to see that the skills I had and developed during the workshop allowed me to work with “real world” data that can be used for analysing trends in art transactions. Giovanni put time into explaining to me the contents of the dataset and advising me what features and events to look at. I look forward to the updates of this dataset and I want to continue working on it.


The week of the Summer School flew by. I met a lot of new people who I will keep in touch with. The atmosphere was very supportive and friendly, the workshops and lectures were organised very well. It was easy to engage in the studying process. The main takeaway for me, as a person with experience in Digital Humanities, was the understanding of what else I can research and what areas I can work in. The Summer School left me with a very enthusiastic feeling about my future work.

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