Friday 21 May 2010

The Day After

We officially launched the UCL Centre for Digital Humanities yesterday! James Murdoch, Chairman and CEO of News Corporation gave a brilliant speech with strong opinions on creativity, culture, and online content (which you can read the full text of). The Guardian have already covered this - and we are eagerly awaiting responses from cultural and heritage institutions, making the case for freely available digital content as opposed to the paid for model championed by James - as well as considering our thoughts on the matter.

The event went swimmingly - UCL was looking handsome in the early summer sunshine, the champagne flowed, and there were many distinguished guests who we were able to explain the role, focus, and impact of Digital Humanities to. At dinner afterwards, I sat beside the newly appointed Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, Jeremy Hunt. It was great to have the opportunity to explain why our field matters, and to showcase the varied research interests we have.

Update: there is quite a lot of media coverage about this.


Craig Bellamy said...

Hi Melissa, congratulations on the official opening of your new DH centre and all the hard work that you have put into it. I look forward to your keynote at DH at King's.

As an Australian and citizen of the world, I am a little worried about the choice of James Murdock to launch the centre. Many of us in the DH field from working backgrounds and many of us who have a interest in a healthy democratic media system are critical of News Corp and it's place in the world. There is a long history there.

I would hate to think that the DH only supports those from a certain political persuasion or economic background. Wasn't a politically progressive or innovator in the DH field considered?

Kind regards,

Craig Bellamy

Melissa said...

I hear ya, Craig. And whilst James Murdoch was our guest, I cannot say that his views chime with those of my own.

Here's a question. Was this event more interesting because it wasnt just the same old same old folks from DH showing their wares? Did we get better press coverage than we would have otherwise? Did we manage to talk to a whole other sector of society (publishers, MPs) and raise the profile of DH in the wider sector?

There are different ways to talk about DH - and we went with a very different way to launch the centre. Of course we dont only support those from a certain political persuasion, but "banning" those from presenting from industry or media really isnt going to help us in the long run. Including them in the dialogue has to be the way forward?

Puzrish Dagan said...