EPFL and UNIL launch joint digital humanities center
On October 31, the UNIL-EPFL dhCenter was officially launched at the ArtLab DataSquare, as an interdisciplinary research platform between EPFL and the University of Lausanne (UNIL) in digital humanities and digital scholarship.
The mission of the dhCenter is to facilitate collaborations, and build a community for researchers at the two institutions working at the intersection of data science, computer science, the arts, humanities, and the social sciences.
In addition to research in the digital humanities, the center will support digital scholarship more generally, and the creation of computational frameworks in a range of fields – from architecture to geography – as well as across disciplinary boundaries.
Creating connections between experts and expert networks will be one of the dhCenter’s key functions, as will helping interdisciplinary research projects obtain funding. Another goal will be to facilitate and engage in public dialogues at the local and international levels on the impacts – including those unintended – of digital technologies on society, the arts, culture, and democracy.
A place for convergence
The dhCenter was officially opened with remarks from Executive Director Charlotte Mazel-Cabasse, as well as UNIL Rector Nouria Hernandez, EPFL President Martin Vetterli, and Cesla Amarelle, head of the Canton of Vaud's Department of Education, Youth and Culture. The evening’s proceedings were moderated by Isaac Pante, a senior lecturer in UNIL’s Department of Language and Information Sciences.
“This event marks the start of a scientific adventure, and collaborative work to promote the study of digital technologies and digital humanities across our two campuses,” Mazel-Cabasse said. She also announced the convergence of the EPFL and UNIL digital humanities student associations, as well as the launch of digitalscholarship.ch, a platform for dhCenter research projects.
“The history of science has been a long road, marked by several revolutions. That of digital technology invites us to encourage humanities researchers and engineers to converge. Achieving this is the true challenge at the heart of the dhCenter that we inaugurate today,” Amarelle observed.
The opening statements were followed by presentations of six dhCenter projects, led by researchers at both UNIL and EPFL (see box).
Following the launch, the dhCenter plans to organize regular events open to the EPFL and UNIL communities. It is already looking for relevant projects and collaborations, at all stages of development, to feature on its website.