The European Summer University in Digital Humanities 2021 will be held from 03.08. – 13.08.2021.
On 20.06.2021 I asked you for patience and still hoped that we could have at least a hybrid European Summer University, although the Rector of Leipzig University had just informed me that university buildings remained closed and that only members of Leipzig University were allowed to enter the buildings. This meant that only myself, my team and the two participants from Leipzig University could actually enter the buildings.
As we did not want to give up straight away we contacted the Saxon Academy and various libraries and museums in Leipzig and asked them whether they could offer us rooms. Our hope was to have at least the lectures and some of the workshops on-site and in person in Leipzig.
The outcome of our search was frustrating. Only the Saxon Academy could / would offer us their lecture hall with the caveat that because of the sanitary regulations only 16 people could meet there at any time.
On 25.06.2021 I met with all the workshop leaders and informed them about the situation. When they heard that the refectories of the university had reopened and thus it would be possible to have our midday meals there, that all the restaurants were ready to host us for our communal dinners or other evening meals, that coffee breaks had been secured, and that our visits to museums and the like could all take place, but that the university remained closed, every one of them became really sad. As most of you, they were after all hoping and already planning to come to Leipzig.
A long debate ensued about whether we could use the one room for having at least two workshops in Leipzig, about looking for other places, about the difficulties some of the workshops would encounter if they had to be taught online, about time zones and much more.
At a certain point, Carol Chiodo, one of the workshop leaders, reminded us that one of the defining characteristics of the ESU had always been its openness and its support for participants from all over the world and that this characteristic needed to prevail especially in a time when COVID-19 exposes the global inequities that colleagues currently face. It would be unthinkable thus to have a small number of workshops on-site for the happy few who might be able to attend in person because of where they live, while all the others were forced to stay at home and take part online.
For this reason we took the decision to move all of the European Summer University online for this year – so that it may continue to welcome people from all over the world to exchange ideas in a collegial setting. It isn’t an ideal arrangement – we would very much love to greet all of you in person – but it is a solution that will allow all of us to reap the benefits of the Summer University, regardless of where we are from.
The programme of the Summer University usually consisted of: intensive Workshops (36 h) / 2 Hands-on sessions (4 h) / 2 Teaser Sessions (4 h) / 6 Lectures (12 h) / 4 Project Presentation Sessions (8 h) / 1 Round Table Discussion (2 h) / 1 Poster Session (2 h) / 2 Workshop Results Presentations (4 h) / Visits to museums, memorable places, libraries (10 h) / Community building activities (excursion to lake, communal coffee breaks, lunches and dinners). The Workload corresponds to 6 ECTS-Points.
The Summer University is directed at 60 participants from all over Europe and beyond. It wants to bring together (doctoral) students, young scholars and academics from the Arts and Humanities, Library Sciences, Social Sciences, the Arts and Engineering and Computer Sciences as equal partners to an interdisciplinary exchange of knowledge and experience in a multilingual and multicultural context and thus create the conditions for future project-based co-operations.
The Leipzig Summer University is special because it not only seeks to offer a space for the discussion and acquisition of new knowledge, skills and competences in those computer technologies which play a central role in Humanities Computing and which determine every day more and more the work done in the Humanities and Cultural Sciences, as well as in publishing, libraries, and archives etc., but because it tries to integrate also linguistics with the Digital Humanities, which pose questions about the consequences and implications of the application of computational methods and tools to cultural artefacts of all kinds.
It is special furthermore because it consciously aims at confronting the so-called Gender Divide, i.e. the under-representation of women in the domain of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in Germany, Europe and many parts of the world, by relying on the challenges that the Humanities with their complex data and their wealth of women represent for Computer Science and Engineering and the further development of the latter, on the overcoming of the borders between the so-called hard and soft sciences and on the integration of Humanities, Computer Science and Engineering.
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