Intensiivseminar Digital Archives and Humanites: From Memory Curation to Innovation

Digital Archives and Humanities: From Memory Curation to Innovation
Intensive Graduate Seminar, June 10–11 2015

Dates and time: 10-11 June, 2015,

Venue: Estonian Institute of Humanities, Tallinn University

Credits: 3 ECTS

Language of the course: English

Hosting institutions: Estonian Institute of Humanities, Tallinn University; Estonian Graduate School of Culture Studies and Arts

Programme director: Dr. Indrek Ibrus (Tallinn University)

Programme coordinator: Riina Trofimova (

In this seminar we discuss where are ‘digital humanities’ coming from, why has this approach emerged and what may be its effect to our culture in the era when much of it is transformed to exist in a digital form. Relatedly, we will also look at what is the nature of this ‘form’ – when cultural reservoirs are digital how is the nature of archives changing? And what may the effects of these new kinds of archives be, then, on ways how cultural memory is curated by various groupings in the society. That is, digital humanities may also have a political function – to point to ideological effects of how archives are structured and to power struggles that may shape these ideological workings. It is in such contested context that European governments are investing substantial resources into digitising the various forms of cultural heritage with the rationale to turn the heritage into a resource for reuse and innovation. We will discuss what enables such innovation and what may limit it. And what is the relationship, then, between the contestations of memory curation and heritage based innovation?

The seminar consists of

1) lectures and discussions conducted by Estonian and invited lecturers.

2) group meetings structured around student presentations and constructive feedback.

Participants are invited to submit presentations on work in progress or future projects, limited to twenty minutes. We welcome proposals relating to all sub-fields of humanities and culture studies. Presenting at the workshop is recommended but not required.


Day 1

University of Tallinn (Uus-Sadama 5), Mare building, room M-328

9:30 – 10:00 Morning coffee

10:00 – 10:45 Indrek Ibrus – Introduction

11:00 – 12:30 David Berry – “Critical Digital Humanities”

12:30 – 13:30 Lunch

13:30 – 14:10 Student presentation I (Maarja Ojamaa)

14:10 – 14:45 Student presentation II (Katre Pärn)

14:45 – 15:00 Coffee break

15:00 – 17:00 Adelheid Heftberger , “Access All Areas” – Current Trends in the Curation and Presentation of Film Heritage and Film Culture

16:30 Final joint reflection of the day

Day 2

University of Tallinn (Uus-Sadama 5), Mare building, room M-328

9:30 – 10:00 Morning coffee

10:00 – 12:00 Indrek Ibrus – Digitisation of Estonian cultural heritage, the economies of its curation

Respondents: Marin Laak, Vahur Puik, Eva Näripea (tbc)

12:00 – 13:00 Lunch

13:00 – 15:00 Sarah Atkinson, “Digitally deepening engagements: From film production process to archival user access”

14:30 – 15:00 Coffee break

15:00 – 15:40 Student presentation III (Hanna-Liisa Pender)

15:40 – 16:20 Student presentation IV (Riina Oruaas)

16:20 Final reflections of the day

Students are expected to participate in the full study programme, and either present a paper at the workshop or submit a symposium diary (this can be a reflexion or summary of presentations most relevant to the student, about 2000 words) by July 15th.

Interested graduate students can apply for the seminar by sending following information to Riina Trofimova ( by April 20th:

1) a short curriculum vitae;

2) an abstract of the presentation or a statement of interest (ca 300 words);

All graduate students and immediate post-docs working on digital forms of culture are welcome to apply.

Invited speakers:

David Berry

Dr David Berry is a Reader in Media and Film at the University of Sussex, he is also director of Sussex Humanities Lab and co-director of the Centre for Material Digital Culture at the same University. He has published extensively on digital humanities. In addition to numerous journal articles he edited one of the seminal anthologies in this subject area (“Understanding digital humanities”, Palgrave Macmillan, 2012) and is currently co-writing (with Anders Fagerjord) a monograph titled “Digital Humanities” (Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming in 2016). Dr. Berry’s research interests combine in intriguing ways digital humanities with critical theory, algorithms with political theory and software studies with political economy.

Adelheid Heftberger

Dr Adelheid Heftberger is a researcher and curator at Austrian Filmmuseum in Vienna. In recent years she has published extensively on the connections between digital humanities and film heritage/archives. Her curatorial work includes work on the collection of the works of Dziga Vertov. And it is also Vertov’s heritage that she has studied in detail using the principles and methods of digital humanities.

Sarah Atkinson

Dr Sarah Atkinson is Principal Lecturer in Film and Media, and the Assistant Head of School for Digital Transformations at the University of Brighton. She recently authored a book “Beyond the Screen: Emerging Cinema and Engaging Audiences” (Bloomsbury, 2014). Much of her research has been focusing on the new functions and affordances of digital audio-visual archives. She recently co-edited the February issue of Convergence titled “Digital Archives & Open Archival Practices”, which brought together researchers, artists, professionals and practitioners from the field of digital archives and the archiving of practice. The issue explored the affordances of digital technologies upon archival practices whereby there is a notable shift from the closed to the open and from the traditional single-user archive model to emerging multi-user, collaborative forms of archival practices and scholarship.

This seminar is supported by the European Union Social Fund.