May 8, 2018
- 12:30 to 14:00
- Digital Humanities Workshop
- Research IT
- Several Speakers
- Olivia Vane (Royal College of Art)
- Stephen Boyd Davis (Royal College of Art)
Using data visualization to make sense of cultural data
Olivia Vane—PhD candidate Innovation Design Engineering, Royal College of Art
Olivia will introduce her work designing data visualizations for exploring digitized collections. A number of interactive timeline projects, using text and image data from institutions including the Wellcome Library, Smithsonian Institution, and Imperial War Museum, will be discussed. The focus of these visualizations is tracing themes, trends and connections across cultural data through time. Olivia will offer a behind-the-scenes view of how these visualizations were developed and, through evaluations with scholars and curators, raise issues around transparency and trustworthiness in the design of these sorts of tools. This talk will also point to how designers can play a role in developing tools for digital collections.
"Plain truth and common sense" in Joseph Priestley’s 1765 Chart of Biography
Stephen Boyd Davis—Professor of Design Research, Royal College of Art
Joseph Priestley (1733-1804) contributed significantly to visual historiography, developing forms of information visualization in which events in time are organiszed diagrammatically, in preference to textual tables or metaphoric figures. The emerging aesthetic was one of mechanization, mathematization and—influenced by geography and cartography—an increasing tendency to treat time as analogous to space. Abstemious presentations of events in a temporal space were preferred to rhetorical, metaphorical presentations of the shape of history. This raises the question: why did Priestley’s 1765 Chart of Biography take the form it did? Stephen’s presentation will trace some answers through contemporary changes in visual and intellectual culture and by examining Priestley's personal disposition – a mix of his non-conformist religious convictions, his suspicion of rhetoric ("sooner would I teach the art of poisoning than that of sophistry"¹), and his beliefs concerning the nature of human knowledge, including optimism that "plain truth" if presented to our ‘common sense’ would lead inevitably to right understanding.² Priestley assumed that if knowledge is presented through ‘the language of the naked facts’ then they "cannot but be understood wherever they are known.’"³ Stephen will highlight questions raised by Priestley that are still relevant today.
1. Joseph Priestley. 1777. A Course of Lectures on Oratory and Criticism. London: Johnson. Page 54.
2. Joseph Priestley. 1782. A History of the Corruptions of Christianity. London: Johnson. Vol.1. Page 171.
3. op. cit. p.114
MPIWG, Boltzmannstraße 22, 14195 Berlin, Germany
Contact and Registration
All are welcome to attend, regardless of prior experience of the digital humanities. Registration is required for external participants. To register, and for further information on the Digital Humanities Brown Bag Lunch series email Research IT Group.
About This Series
The Digital Humanities Brown Bag Lunch Workshop occurs bi-weekly. Each session explores a new topic; workshops are usually interactive, and we often invite external speakers. Please feel free to bring your lunch, and a laptop or notebook in order to participate!