“I really liked exploring the digital humanities field”

© 2021 Elisa Michelet

© 2021 Elisa Michelet

Elisa Michelet is a first-year student in the Master of Science in Digital Humanities (DH Master) program, offered by the Digital Humanities Institute (DHI) in EPFL’s College of Humanities (CDH). As part of the DHI’s 'Student stories' series, Elisa describes her experience in the program, and what inspired her to enter this emerging and interdisciplinary field.

Originally from France, Elisa Michelet completed her bachelor studies in Communication Systems at EPFL before joining the Digital Humanities (DH) Master program.

She has just finished the first semester of the program and while doing her second semester she is considering different avenues of specialization in preparation for an internship and thesis next year.

CDH DHI: Why did you choose the DH Master program at EPFL?

EM: First of all, I wanted to stay at EPFL because I was happy here. I thought about doing data science but then found out about the master in digital humanities, which was really better oriented towards my interests. When I looked at the website of the DH Master program and all the previous internships that the students had done, I said “I could see myself doing this.”

Both culture and society interest me. Between the two, I still don’t know which direction I want to go in. I like the cultural dimension, which allows you to use computer science to discover new things about art. But I also really like the sociology side related to social media. I think that would be an interesting thing to research.

CDH DHI: What first inspired you to study digital humanities?

EM: I only found this master program two weeks before the registration deadline, when I was going through the website and looking at internships. I saw that some people did internships in the Harvard Library and the French National Institute of Art History, and I thought that was really cool. I could really see what I could do after this master, in terms of going into cultural and social institutions.

CDH DHI: What has your favorite course in the DH Master program been so far, and why?

EM: Foundations of Digital Humanities. I enjoyed doing a big project throughout the semester with a lot of freedom. The course was very open, and I really liked exploring the digital humanities field.

CDH DHI: What are your future career plans at the moment?

EM: I am starting my second semester, so I still don’t know. I may continue with a PhD or I may not. I also may work in a cultural institution, in either one of the two directions that I mentioned early – art or sociology. Both of those options would suit me. But that could also change!

CDH DHI: How do you describe what DH is to your friends and family?

EM: I start by saying that it’s sort of like computer science applied to humanities, but it’s more complicated than that. It’s about how we use computer science to understand humanities and also the other way around. The intersection between the two is a completely new field.

CDH DHI: If you wanted future students to know one thing about digital humanities as a research field, what would it be?

EM: I would tell them that if they have any one interest that fits under the humanities umbrella, then there probably exists a digital humanities topic on that.