Mediating Research Through Technology @ NEP4DISSENT

poster / demo / art installation
  1. 1. Piotr Wciślik

    Institute of Literary Research - Polish Academy of Sciences

  2. 2. Maciej Maryl

    Institute of Literary Research - Polish Academy of Sciences

  3. 3. Jennifer Edmond

    DARIAH, Trinity College Dublin

  4. 4. Lars Wieneke

    Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (C2DH) - University of Luxembourg / Universität Luxemburg

  5. 5. Jessie Labov

    Central European University

  6. 6. Pim van Bree


  7. 7. Geert Kessels


Work text
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With this poster, the EU-funded COST Action 16213
New Exploratory Phase in Research on East European Cultures of Dissent
(NEP4DISSENT, 2017-2021, wishes to invite collaboration in facilitating the integration of DH methods and tools by the multidisciplinary community built around the study and curatorship of the cultural legacy of resistance and dissent in former socialist countries in comparative and transnational perspective.

Resistance and dissent in former socialist Europe 1945-1989 constitutes a remarkable chapter of Europe’s recent past, which not only informs in a decisive way the identities of post-socialist societies, but has also reshaped the continent as a whole and still provides an important reference for contemporary social movements worldwide. The main aim of NEP4DISSENT, an international scholarly network formed by around 200 participants from 38 countries to date, is to trigger the next discovery phase of this legacy by forging a new, reflexive approach, and by providing a platform for incubating networked, transnational, multidisciplinary and technology-conscious research with creative dissemination capacities. NEP4DISSENT creates a valuable interface for communication between three communities of practice. Facilitated by IT experts with humanities and social sciences expertise, the network enables participant researchers to train with cutting-edge digital tools, and to increase their capacities for creative dissemination through engaging in productive dialogue with art and cultural heritage curators, in order for future research to be technologically advanced and better disseminated.

The research and capacity building agenda of NEP4DISSENT represents a complex and original challenge for the marketplace of digital research infrastructures. That is due to its multidisciplinary character, the uneven propagation of DH research practices between disciplines and national scholarly communities East and West, the uneven digital readiness of the often very ephemeral sources, as well as its multilinguality that makes the comparative and transnational perspectives difficult to apply. On the other hand, DH approaches, in particular methods of data aggregation and federation, techniques of text, image and layout recognition, as well as tools for network-graph and spatio-temporal visualisation and analysis, are uniquely qualified to explore in full scope that comparative and transnational dimension of the dissident networks of solidarity, which has been one of the most extraordinary aspects of that legacy.

NEP4DISSENT Working Group 5
Mediating Research through Technology
, involving representatives of projects such as CENDARI, COURAGE, NODEGOAT, IMPRESSO, as well as research infrastructures: DARIAH (DiMPO Working Group), or CLARIN,  has been set up to tackle the complexity of this scenario. The mission of WG5 is to map the specific needs of the network’s participants against the available digital research infrastructures, to facilitate DH capacity building through training and research collaboration. While WG5 does not create new infrastructures, it’s aim is to offer recommendations for new or improved services that would better respond to the specific problems of infusing the digital at various stages of the life-cycle of scholarly and curatorial projects in this domain, and most broadly, to promote and deepen our understanding of the role of the digital technologies in research on contemporary history. Workshops and summer schools organised by WG5 are the principal avenue for engaging both communities in that regard.

The poster will feature the conclusions drawn from the exploratory activities of WG5 conducted thus far, characterised by the multi-channelled, ethnography-inspired approach to understanding the place of technology in the existing workflows of the NEP4DISSENT participants, and based on a variety of inputs, including two surveys circulated in December 2017 and summer 2018 among the network participants supplying a broad baseline understanding of the network and the concerns of its contributors; structured group interviews conducted in February-May 2018 with key network members, whose profiles and interests indicated that they occupy research positions at the interface between analogue and digital sources and approaches; and informal conversations during the NEP4DISSENT assemblies in Brussels, Warsaw and Belgrade.

Further, the poster will stimulate discussion about training schools as a fulcrum of DH methods and tools propagation, welcoming insight about best practices which will help to better prepare for the course
Cultures of Dissent in Eastern Europe (1945-1989): Research Approaches in the Digital Humanities
organized by NEP4DISSENT in the framework of a Central European University Summer School immediately after the DH2019 conference.

Finally, the poster will create a meeting point for both digital research infrastructure service providers who would like to expand their user base towards this intriguing domain of contemporary history scholarship, and for experts interested in broader methodological, technical and social aspects of penetration of DH approaches in both similar and different scholarly communities of practice.

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