Since its beginning in 2009 the European Summer University in Digital Humanities „Culture & Technologies“ features also a public round table discussion or Panel on important topics. This year we will close the Summer University with a panel on Tangible and Intangible Cultural Heritage.
The Panel will take place on 12 August 2022 from 16:15 to 17:45 in the lecture hall of the Bibliotheca Albertina.
Russia’s war against Ukraine and the initiative SUCHO (https://www.sucho.org/) mounted to save Ukrainien digital cultural heritage online are one of the reasons for this.
Other reasons are the questions Amalia S. Levi raised in her keynote given at DHd2022 (see https://www.dhd2022.de/opening-keynote/) with respect to the importance of the physical documents, archives, museums etc. and of savegarding them. Physical documents and sources collected by an NGO like Memorial, which in Russia is now forbidden, come also to mind. Archives like the Stasi Records Archive in Leipzig, which are (at present) not endangered could be seen in the same context. The Global South presents us with many such critical questions. In Yaoundé (Cameroon), where we had the Institute of Digital Humanities French Africa (https://inhunumaf.hypotheses.org/a-propos) there was a heated discussion about the storage of analogue African cultural heritag in France and its non-accessibility. The question of accessibility plays also an important role with respect to the communities which „allowed“ language documentation projects to collect their data.
The focus and interest of the Digital Humanities is understandibly very much directed to the digitisation of cultural heritage (documents, images and sound) and born digital cultural heritage. We might have to make a distinction, however, between digitally born cultural heritage, (research) projects which are based on digitised cultural heritage and digitised cultural heritage as such.
While putting the focus with respect to the first and second type of cultural heritage exclusively on saveguarding would seem to be obvious, questions arise with respect to how the saveguarding should be done, who should do it, when should it be done and how can we make sure that the saveguarded digitally born cultural heritage and the digital scholarly projects based on digitised cultural heritage survive dangerous situations.
When it comes to the third type, i. e. digitised cultural heritage we need to ask, instead, whether it is enough for the Digital Humanities to put the focus on saveguarding digitised cultural heritage while physical / analogue / intangible cultural heritage is even more at risk? Digitised cultural heritage is after all only a surrogate of physical / analogue / intangible cultural heritage. Can a platform like UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage guarantee by itself a connection between the communities, who have created / are creating the saveguarded intangible cultural heritage, and their own history or their critical engagement with it? Would it be enough to digitise the analogue African cultural heritage archived in France and give access to the digitised documents or should the objects themselves be given back in order to allow Africans a more physical interaction with them? To whom speak projects like the Endangered Languages Project? Are series like Concentration Camps enough to help us understand and engage critically with our history or do we have the obligation to saveguard the actual sites as much as possible?
Obviously questions of infrastructure, design, access, power, inclusion and exclusion play an important role not only when it comes to the digitised cultural heritage but also to the analogue cultural heritage.
Members of the panel (in alphabetical order, without titles)
- Carol Chiodo (Harvard University, USA)
- Sharon Khalifa-Gueta (University of Haifa, Israel)
- Sebastian Majstorovic (Austrian Centre for Digital Humanities and Cultural Heritage, Austria)
- Emmanuel Ngue Um (University of Yaoundé I, Cameroon)
- Maija Spurina (Latvian Academy of Culture, Riga, Latvia)
- Andrey Volodin (Moscow Lomonosov University, Russian Federation)
Other participants interested in being a panelist should contact Elisabeth.
- Elisabeth Burr (University of Leipzig, Germany): „Introduction / Presentation of panelists“ (5 minutes)
- Short statement by panelists (5 minutes each)
- Discussion among the panelists (ca. 25 minutes)
- Open discussion with the floor (ca. 30 minutes)