Durham, United Kingdom

Things That Matter

when 15 June 2021 - 19 June 2021
language English
duration 1 week
credits 1 EC
fee GBP 250

Due to the covid-19 outbreak, all programmes for 2020 have been cancelled.

“Things that Matter” addresses the tension between the materiality of sources and their digitization. The recent advances of digital technology have created new modes of reproduction and forms of consumption that have substantially reshaped the concepts of ‘object’ and of ‘collection’ at the heart of cultural institutions such as libraries and museums.

The Summer School engages with key questions that arise from the study of the past in the digital age. These issues include the changing nature of objects such as books and scientific instruments as source materials; the history and practice of collections and collecting, digitization and its challenges, both technological and intellectual. “Things that Matter” maps the possibilities and challenges posed by the digital age for researchers. The ongoing process of digitization makes sources of the past available to a previously unknown extent: but what does this mean for researchers?

We will also discuss the role of objects in Public History. How does society approach the legacy of “things” in museums and heritage institutions? Which objects are “worth keeping”, why and when?

Who determines the selection process and what are the selection criteria for curators, archivists and other agents in the sector? What collections are digitized and why those? Who makes the selections? How do we meet scientific demands on systematic design and transparency when working on online search engines and on differing (and sometimes incompatible) designs of data bases?

Course leader

Prof. Raingard Esser (University of Groningen)
Dr. Mikael Alm (University of Uppsala)
Dr. Dario Tessicini (Durham University)

Target group

Master students and PhD students working in the disciplines of History, Art History, Museum and Heritage Studies, Cultural Studies.
Students should be studying at (Research) Master level or should be working on their PhD projects .

Course aim

After this course you will be able to:

- assess and to apply different theories and approaches, particularly in Digital Humanities Research, to your own research.
- work in an international team during an intense study week.
- present your own research and to comment constructively on research of your peers.

Credits info

1 EC
Upon successful completion of the programme, the Summer School offers a Certificate of Attendance that mentions the workload of 30 hours (28 hours corresponds to 1 ECTS). Students can apply for recognition of these credits to the relevant authorities in their home institutions, therefore the final decision on awarding credits is at the discretion of their home institutions. We will be happy to provide any necessary information that might be requested in addition to the certificate of attendance.

Fee info

GBP 250: (incl. excursions)

Free for students of the Universities of Durham, Uppsala and Groningen