Media Trash and Treasure — an invitation for CCI emerging scholars

In case you’ve not already seen this…

Media Trash & Treasure is a CCI Emerging Scholars offsite fieldwork activity, to be held as part of the CCI Symposium on the afternoon of Thursday, 11 November at 12.30 – 3.30pm.  The activity will involve a series of informal field trips to gather data on secondary and peripheral media markets in Melbourne. Working in small groups, CCI postgrads and ECRs will visit shopping strips around the CBD and inner suburbs to conduct field research in some of the city’s famous op-shops and second-hand record stores.

Along the way you’ll meet CCI postgrads and ECRs from other institutions and gain hands-on experience in field-based cultural/media research. There will be mystery shopping challenges and prizes for the winning teams. We’ll wrap up with pre-dinner drinks at the Grace Darling Hotel in Collingwood.

The activity is part of an Institute for Social Research project on second-hand media circuits. All CCI postgrads and ECRs are invited to join us. Please RSVP to Rebekah McClure: by Friday 29 October.


thatcampcanberra – I second that!



I too went to thatcampcanberra and it was gret to see Pip there. I chose to attend thatcampcanberra to induct me into the world of digital humanities. As a PhD student and early career academic researcher in higher education in the creative arts, I am able envision a future whereby the digital world provides a platform for capturing and expressing the experience of student artists’ creativity, but I wasn’t quite sure what that digital expression might look like.

I am a fairly typical end-user of digital technology – I facebook (a lot), twitter (a bit), email (way too much) and research using the internet (constantly) – but I wasn’t sure how to bring these experiences of the internet into my academic work with creative artists and their art-making process.

For this reason, I went to thatcampcanberra especially for the bootcamp, and it was the perfect way to meet my need to gain an understanding of the current uses of the digital humanities. I highly, highly recommend bootcamp. Bootcamp gave me the opportunity to understand without being made to feel like I was in way over my head. I think it is part of the unconference thatcamp philosophy to make everyone welcome in a spirit of collaboration and inclusivity, but the bootcamp had the added benefit of extending the arm of inclusivity outside the digital humanities in-crowd.

I am a thatcamp convert. I have been enthusing about it to everyone I meet back in Perth, Western Australia, and encouraging them to attend thatcampmelbourne in 2011. Below are lots and lots of quicknotes made during the sessions I attended which may or may not be of any interest to others.

Sat 28.8.10

DAY 1 – SESSION 1 1am Semantic Web and humanities

General discussion of people’s projects and discussion of key terms – open data, semantic web, relational data.

Corey – AUSTAGE – Flinders Uni…using semantic web to keep track of actors’ performances – who   has worked with who over a long period of time – to try to track collaborations and career development.

Basil Dewhurst – National Library – building a database of research and researchers’ interests called People Australia.

Much of this discussion is way above my expertise level.  But that’s okay as I am getting great insights into the way people are trying to link research information and data across the web.

Duncan –  mentioned Freebase – social semantic base where people can go in and find their own local product because there is a user-generated linked data database.

He mentions the challenge of working across spaces – time periods for historians,  geographical space, and depicting this digitally.

Aaron Corn name– manages the ANU pacific and regional archive for indigenous and endangered cultures database or

Aaron talked about the problem of capturing data such as indigenous performance in a way that is true to the art form and that allows accessibility for the artist and the cultural participants. National recording project for digital recording of indigenous performance – how digital records can reflect messy human knowledge systems that end-users are comfortable with.

Ann from Auslit – mentioned web based ontology frameworks, eg, Swoogle – database for ontology (crowdsourcing)

Discussion of whether it is possible to have cross-cultural frameworks of ontology. I googled to try to understand what ontology is in terms of digital humanities as it has a different meaning  in terms of arts practice.

DAY 1 BREAK SESSION 12.30-1.30pm Show us your speedos – 3 minute project overviews.

Keith Russell (Newcastle) – blog across generations – interested in the soft zone between humanities and archivists – the space in-between! Look to Terry Turkel “Evocative Objects”.

Duncan Russell – Uni of Southern Queensland Public Memory Research Centre is using the fascinator as a way to archive knowledge

Monash Uni PhD student capturing memory objects for therapeutic use with the elderly.

Dr Gillian Fuller, Research Director, Design and Art Australia Online – putting art and design archive online.

 DAY 1 – SESSION 2 1.30pm Cathy Styles – Australian Museum

Play based experiences in the museum

Brainstorm session about various possibilities for online interactive aspects to the museum experience

Nick Sherritt posted on twitter his project

DAY 1 – SESSION 3 3pm Visual mapping session by Dictionary of Sydney’s Ian Johnson

The use of digital depiction of place to understand the context of a place in a person’s work – applies for example in ausstage search

Vector mapping-  refers to points, lines, objects for indicating place ie objects attached to data, eg, names of people, timelines, associated with a place.

(As opposed to raster images – images of surface of the earth maps, satellite images…identifying features of interest, and different types of features and digitising these).

Formats for attaching vectors ie data to a map – simple text files, shape files, see

Formats for attaching rasters are tiles see

Projections-method of flattening earth onto map, datums – point of reference; and grid referencing systems to model of the earth,

Macquarie Atlas of Indigenous Australia

Using geo-referencing matching to coordinates, street referencing, geographical names register, geo-names.

PHALMS project – the overlaying of four or more aligned maps of one place to understand the history of the use of land in Parramatta for social/development purposes

Field collection – go to the field with mobile phones, gps systems, iPads, to get data to overlay on the map. Smartphones now combine the photo and the gps together.

Past digital mapping of crime in Harlem

Mapping of Great Britain parish records

Interactive mapping of events in Gallipoli on first night using a time line and spatial data

DAY1 – SESSION 4 4.30pm session – How much does a digital humanist need to know?

What upskilling is needed? What is the base line of skills required?

Difficulties with funding large scale digital humanities projects (other than archival, museum curatorial and libraries of national significance).

Ingrid mentioned a website of interest – Great description of cultural analytics at the moment

Creative commons

Lexmancer versus wordle- a way to analyse critical events through use of language analytic tools

The paper paradigm versus the digital paradigm in research in academia.

Presenter states: We have not been teaching the specific skills required for analysis in the humanities disciplines, eg, if you do a fine arts degree in sculpture, you hope that you leave the uni with the skills to make sculpture. If you leave with a degree in history or in literature, what skills do you leave with?

Example of archiving via the computer –

UNSW wow – an amazing collaboration and research project working on a cinema interactive database.

SUN 29 AUG 2010 – DAY 2 – SESSION 1: 9.30am The Research Zeitgeist – what research tools are being used or need to be used?

Web archiving – collaboration between zotero and web archiving.

Online repository for internet material

Heritrix is the Internet Archive’s open-source, extensible, web-scale, archival-quality web crawler project.

Australian research collaborative website

Training available for web archiving

Place to web archive

Need for an aggregator that keeps a record of where various record storing sites on the web are.

Monkey-spider is an internet facility for tracking internet traffic

Need for digital literacy training for undergraduates and postgraduates – what a great idea as part of a research methodology training program…how to use zotera, archiving, etc.

Online storage facility for data

Fantastic website to share information across the web – links to facebook, twitter etc.

Turn to youtube to find tutorials for using various research tools

Visual mapping online website

Various websites to capture, manage and visualise information:

  1. evernotes
  2. justnotes
  3. mindjet
  4. devonthink

Anna –  from aus-e-lit – The Aus-e-Lit project is a NeAT-funded project that aims to address the eResearch needs of researchers involved in the study of Australian literature and Australian print culture

Site for the production of scientific publishing of documents:

Fantastic website that shares documents and turns any document into a web document.

What repositories does my university, Edith Cowan, have for e-prints and web documents?

The way ANU are using a repository to assist academics to store data

Open graph website forum to collate information about network links online

Ingrid and Joy Powerhouse Museum

Conference of e-learning Australasia

DAY 2 – SESSION 2 Data Visualisation

Word cloud generator – a tool that takes a data set and sorts key words and creates word clouds (can also be done on wordle – )

Use these visualisations to give people clues about contexts and to preserve the outliers as well as foregrounding the commonalities.

Free web based tool for visualising data

Presenter went into manyeyes and created a visualisation using the data set of all that camper bios

Suggested we use Schneiderman’s rules for visualisation of data:

  1. Give overview first
  2. Then give zoom and filter option
  3. Then give details on demand

Fantastic demonstration on flickr of how to visualise large data sets and how to highlight the possibilities and what it can reveal.

Great demonstration of visualisation of voting data in the recent 2010 federal election

Website that provides geographical data about the world as visualisations AND maps

New York Times is a leader in visualisation of data. Map of Olympic medals in that is interactive and geographically displayed:

Guardian newspaper also a leader. See their datablog:

Showed the work of the artist Jason Salovan who depicts data as visual art images

Visual depiction of the asteroids travelling around earth

Site from power of data visualisation discussion:

Fascinating future possibility for data presentation:





Sponsored by Uni of Canberra’s Faculty of Art and Design:

Next thatcamp in Melbourne in March 2011 – Craig Bellamy… organiser for Melbourne.

Craig mentioned a digital humanities website that he helped construct whilst working at Kings College, London:

THATCamp Canberra reflections

low tech scheduling
(Image: Cath Styles)

I was initially drawn to THATCamp (The Humanities and Technology Camp) as it dubbed itself an “unconference”. This term describes a non-hierarchical, non-disciplinary, free event that encourages everyone to participate. The idea for THATCamp evolved from an international network of user-generated conferences called BarCamps – participatory workshops designed and delivered by the people attending. The first BarCamps shared a focus on open source technologies and open data formats.

The happenings at THATCamps are designed by the attendees. When I first read the participants’ biographies, I found there to be a lot of people working for institutions whose conference needs focussed around the management of large cultural collections – think metadata, taxonomies and the semantic web. Although I have an interest in large cultural collections, specifically issues surrounding digital archival artefacts and the public domain, I was concerned that this might be the conference focus. This concern evolved pretty quickly in to excitement regarding what might happen when these people began connecting with other participants from different areas of practice.

Attendees at THATCamp Canberra, were invited to contribute session ideas during the lead up to the event, which led to an organic and relatively seamless process of self-organisation on the morning of day 1. It was difficult to choose between workshops as I felt most of the sessions were relevant to my practice on some level. I settled on Mashups and APIs; Crowdsourcing Communities; Digital Mapping; Data Visualisation; Technology in Space; and a session designed to glean ideas for a new interactive media space at the National Museum of Australia. The sessions sometimes veered in to territory outside my interests, but were still worthwhile as my perception of each area was enriched and challenged. The 3 minute “speedos” were also a great format. The floor was thrown open to anyone who wanted to spend 3 minutes talking about a project or about their research. If they went over the 3 minute mark and wanted to keep talking they had to break out in to Bollywood dance moves. Moments like these helped reinforce the informal nature of the event.

The Twitter back channel was also a treat to indulge in. Not only did the THATCamp hashtag provide participants with summaries of sessions and related links, but it created another interface for connecting with people. At one point I found myself having a Twitter interaction with someone across the room. It was surreal partly because I chose to contribute to the session, not by speaking but by posting a message on Twitter, and partly because I received a response to my message from a stranger a few seats away.  We continued to send each other ideas and links via Twitter throughout the session.

In summary, THATCamp was engaging, stimulating, fun and most importantly it offered an inviting space to connect with people engaged in similar and very different endeavours. The next Australian THATCamp is being held in Melbourne from 25-26 March, 2011.

PhD research and scholarship opportunities at the CCI for 2011

The CCI is currently calling for expressions of interest from potential PhD candidates for 2011.

A PhD at CCI gives you the chance to undertake in-depth study in a specific area, by way of independent learning combined with the mentoring of internationally renowned researchers.

Graduate research students at CCI have a passion for their topics and fields of research. They take the opportunity to examine important problems at the cutting edge of their disciplines. A list of current CCI research students and their topics is available at

Please see the full announcement at the  CCI website for details of potential supervisors and projects, and how to apply – be quick, applications are closing very soon.