Additional Lectures

There will be a choice of additional lectures from Tuesday to Thursday during the Summer School. These will be available on a first come, first served basis.

"The lectures were my favourite part of the Summer School, owing to their focus, and perhaps also because they brought together participants from multiple strands"

DHOxSS 2017 participant 

Tuesday lectures, 4-5pm
The imagination of Ada Lovelace and an Experimental Humanities - Pip Willcox and David De Roure

In this talk we trace some paths the ideas of Ada Lovelace and her imagination of Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine might have taken, focussing on music and creativity. We follow Lovelace's idea that "the engine might compose elaborate and scientific pieces of music of any degree of complexity or extent". 


Our work began at a symposium in 2015 to mark the 200th anniversary of Lovelace's birth, which initiated a series of experiments and demonstrations including simulations of the Analytical Engine, use of a web-based music application, construction of interactive hardware, reproduction of earlier mathematical results using contemporary computational methods, and a musical performance based on crowdsourced algorithmic fragments. Recently we have extended our experiments to include the work of Charles Wheatstone, who deployed an electric telegraph in the same period – a nineteenth-century network. 


Our digital experiments bring insight and engagement with historical ideas, and raise questions about the roles of algorithm and human. Our designed digital artefacts can be viewed as design fictions, or as critical works explicating our interpretation of Lovelace’s words: digital prototyping as a means of close-reading (after Galey and Ruecker, 2010). We frame this as Experimental Humanities, in which we also apply the lens of Social Machines.

Pip Willcox is Head of Research at The National Archives. She has a background in digital editing and book history, focussing first on encoding medieval manuscripts and later on early modern printed books. More recently she has worked on projects linking collections and semantic web technologies, and social machines. Working with David De Roure and the Fusing Audio and Semantic Technologies project team, she has developed a framework for an experimental humanities, using digital simulation to close-read and explicate interpretation of the archive. Her focus for the past several years has been on multidisciplinary engagement with collections, enabling digital research and innovation.

How to write a Constitution: Exploring the Records of Multi-party Negotiations- Nicholas Cole


This talk will study examine the Quill Project’s software platform. The Quill Project is an interdisciplinary project that brings together historians and lawyers with visualization and AI specialists. The platform offers tools to model and analyse the records of formal, Parliamentary-style negotiations, supporting both quantitative and qualitative analysis. It is designed to support collaborative research projects. Its flagship project (available online) is a model of the 1787 Constitutional Convention in the United States, and the software developed for this project is being used to support a number of other research projects. This talk will examine the motivations behind and design of the software platform and examine the current technical challenges that we are working on in order to support more effective collaboration and a wider range of material.

Nicholas Cole is the director of the Quill Project and a Senior Research Fellow at Pembroke College, Oxford. He read Ancient and Modern History at University College, Oxford, where he also completed an MPhil in Greek and Roman History and a doctorate examining the contribution of the ancient world to American political thought in the late eighteenth century. He has held research and teaching positions at St Peter’s College Oxford and in the History Faculty, and has been a Visiting Research Fellow at the International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello. His interest in digital humanities stems from wanting to address two questions: how can digital humanities techniques enable more accurate commentary on complex legal texts, and more generally how can computers support better qualitative judgements on ever-growing corpuses of texts?

Wednesday lectures, 4-5pm


Wikidata: knowledge representation the easy way - Martin Poulter


Wikidata is a knowledge base combining biographical, geographical, bibliographic and other kinds of data in a single, open platform. It describes around 50 million things and links to thousands of other databases and authority files. This session will demonstrate some tips and short-cuts in querying Wikidata or linking it to your own research. No knowledge of RDF or SPARQL is assumed.


Martin Poulter has held Wikimedian In Residence roles at the Bodleian Libraries, at the University of Oxford and at Jisc. He has made nearly a million edits to Wikidata and more than 13,000 to Wikipedia. With a PhD in Philosophy, he has helped researchers across several subject areas make use of open platforms and crowdsourcing.

Digital Humanities Curriculum panel and discussion

What are the emerging topics for DH research training? Are there substantive new research areas and new digital methods that should be on the curriculum? For example, should AI be a dedicated course or taught broadly? What about Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality? And do we need more or less training on quantitative techniques? With increasing adoption of data science, is the thirst for numbers leading to uncritical research?


Come along and hear from the workshop convenors and guests, and have your say.  The outputs of this discussion will feed into broader DH curriculum discussions as well as future editions of DHOxSS.

Thursday lectures, 4-5pm

Art and Neuroscience: change blindness, can you spot the difference? – Chrystalina Antoniades

Many of us have changed the way we exchange visual information, with the growing accessibility of high-speed internet and the capability of smart portable devices. This talk describes an experiment at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford that compares the perception of real-world and on-screen artefacts.


A recent report found that adults in the United States spend an average of more than 8 hours a day accessing media through a device with a screen. Such a significant shift in behaviour warrants further investigation into the differences between on-screen and real-world perception. There is already evidence to suggest that binocular stereoscopic vision (as in real-world viewing) confers an advantage over monocular vision (on-screen) in certain perception performance tasks, including the analysis of complex visual scenes.


Change blindness is a phenomenon where the viewer doesn't notice a change in an image, or "stimulus". To date, the effect has been produced by changing images displayed on screen, as well as changing people and objects in the viewer's environment. 


This talk explores possible implications of the results of these experiments for understanding change blindness as well as future directions for research into real-world and on-screen comparisons, and the perception of artefacts in museums.

Chrystalina Antoniades is an Associate Professor in the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Oxford, and a Lecturer in Medicine at Brasenose College. Professor Antoniades researches Parkinson’s disease. She is the Chair of the Clinical Neurosciences Society for the department and has developed the Art and Neuroscience theme with Dr. Jim Harris at the Ashmolean Museum. Her interest lies in examining the neurobiological relationship between visual perception and art and is the Organizer for the Brain Awareness week for the Clinical Neurosciences in Oxford. Recently she has also been awarded a grant from the University's Public Engagement with Research Seed Fund to set up the Picturing Parkinson’s project. This project brings together artists, patients and neuroscientists to bridge the gap between objective research into Parkinson’s disease and people’s lived experience of the condition.

How do we Sustain Data and Software in Digital Humanities? Reproducible Research in the Humanities

Many digital humanities resources are created as a side effect of individual research projects, but how are they to be sustained? It sometimes seems like we have a decaying infrastructure.  And what about software sustainability? Is reproducible research as important in the humanities as other disciplines? What do we do to address research quality, research integrity, and responsible innovation?


Come along and hear from the workshop convenors and guests, and have your say.  The outputs of this discussion will feed into future discussions about skills, best practice, and DH infrastructure.

  • Black Twitter Icon

© 2019 University of Oxford