Utrecht, Netherlands

Exploring Culture through Data: Digital Methods & Data Practices

when 5 August 2024 - 9 August 2024
language English
duration 1 week
credits 2 EC
fee EUR 1000

Are you curious, eager to learn and would you like to have an enriching experience during your summer holidays? This course would make a great opportunity! The accelerating datafication of society constitutes challenges and opportunities for humanities research. We welcome you, students and non-students, to join us in this online crash course in data practices and digital methods.

This course will acquaint you with (methodological) fundamentals of data practices in the Digital humanities. These will include data collection, data preparation, data visualisation, critical data and algorithm studies and network analysis. You’ll get an introduction to Python and Tableau and you learn to apply a Critical Data Perspective. Don’t be scared. You don’t need prior skills in data methods. Do you have a strong willingness to learn? Perfect. You definitely will learn a lot. Besides training these skills, you will work in small teams on a hands-on case. To top it off, guest speakers from several fields will share their experiences with data practices.

The Utrecht Data School is a University platform for teaching data analysis and digital methods, for the exploration of datafication through (applied) research projects in cooperation with societal partners.

As our world gets increasingly connected and mediatised, input and expertise from the humanities and social science becomes essential to understanding the dynamics, ethics and pragmatics of a datafied society (José van Dijck, 2017).

Datafication of culture

Culture is datafied at a terrifying pace. Not only are cultural artefacts digitised, social interaction online is automatically recorded and commodified. Everyday activities, movements, transactions, communications and environmental properties are stored either through (applications on) mobile phones, or the countless sensors, camera's and other measurement devices spread out over the public spaces. Aside from the profound impact these data repositories have for society at large, they also constitute challenges and opportunities for research in the humanities. The need to occupy ourselves with data practices is twofold: 1) 'big data' affect society at large and the more it transforms the social and cultural domain, the more humanities scholars are needed to put their distinct expertise to use in describing, analysing and conceptualising the datafied society. 2) the data and analysis tools change research agenda's as they can be used for analysing culture.

Studying culture through data

From Monday 19th of July until Friday 23st of July, we will host a full online week of workshops, tutorials and guest lectures. In this online course, you get acquainted with some of the (methodological) fundamentals of data practices in the Digital Humanities. You learn how to apply data analysis for research and how to review and inquire the data practices and tools. The days will be filled with tutorials and workshops in order to acquire methods and tools. The week will also be filled with online lectures by prominent guest speakers from various backgrounds. And it does not stop there. By the end of the week you’re able to work on a real-world case. In small teams you apply your freshly gained skills.

Utrecht Data School

Driven by our research interest into datafication and how it affects citizenship, participation in deliberative processes, the public sphere and cultural production, we conduct our research within the societal domains of public management, (public) media and the public space. Using our own practice of entrepreneurial scholarship, we develop services and products that are useful for partners within said domains. Check our website for more information.

Course leader

Dr. Mirko Tobias Schäfer

Target group

This course is aimed at participants from a wide range of disciplines (e.g. media and culture studies, anthropology, sociology, journalism, public administration, philosophy, and others), with no prior skills in data methods, but a strong willingness to learn.

Course aim

A basic understanding in digital methods and data analysis. An overview of current data practices and tools used in various fields of the humanities to carry out research. An understanding for the epistemic impact of data practices and data analysis tools. The ability to apply this knowledge for carrying out a small research project.

Fee info

EUR 1000: Course fee

REDUCED FEE: 500 EUR for students / 400 EUR for students enrolled in the BA, pre-MA, or MA New Media & Digital Culture at the Utrecht University / 1000 EUR for non-students (e.g. professionals).
EUR 250: Housing fee (optional)

Register for this course
on course website