“Sustainable design must be emotionally and environmentally durable”

© Hannah Casey

© Hannah Casey

Hannah Casey, a second-year student in the Master of Science in Digital Humanities program offered by EPFL’s Digital Humanities Institute, describes her experience in the program, and what inspired her to enter this interdisciplinary field.

Originally from Zurich, Hannah completed a bachelor’s degree in computer science at EPFL before deciding to pursue the Master of Science in Digital Humanities (DH Master). She is currently the DH Master class representative, and next semester she will take up the post of secretary for dhelta, the UNIL-EPFL student association for digital humanities.

Digital Humanities Institute, EPFL College of Humanities (CDH DHI): As a native of Zurich, what inspired you to choose the DH Master program at EPFL?

Hannah Casey: I really liked studying computer science as a foundation of knowledge, but to me, it’s more of a set of tools, and I am more interested in how to apply it to other things. For my master’s degree, I wanted to study something I could identify with more, and that I could connect to my interests in humanities, art, and culture.

I am especially interested in literature and music, but I am still exploring and am very open in my interests. I am looking forward to seeing what more of the DH Master courses have to offer.

For me, the DH Master program at EPFL was also an opportunity to leave my hometown of Zurich and study not only in a different city, but in a different language. I took French in school, but I really learned it at EPFL.

CDH DHI: What surprised you most about studying digital humanities?

HC: How broad it is. I thought it would be focusing on details, like on how we apply certain tools to certain problems. But this past semester was a broad overview of the digital humanities, and it was really nice to learn more about the field.

CDH DHI: What has been your favorite course so far?

HC: Design for sustainability [taught by Marc Laperrouza and Marius Aeberli]. I am really interested in design, and especially human-computer interaction design. I was surprised to find a course on this in the DH Master program, but it was my favorite course this past semester. It was a brilliant course in terms of what sustainability can mean in terms of design.

Design for sustainability is a project-based course, and my idea was selected for a project that could potentially include fieldwork in South Korea next September. The idea is sustainable food packaging for the elderly, which must not only be environmentally but emotionally durable; people must be able to use it and want to use it. We will create a prototype here in Lausanne, and then if all goes well, we will travel to Korea next summer for field tests with both Swiss and Korean students.

CDH DHI: Can you tell us a bit about your experience as the DH Master student representative?

HC: I really like getting to have a vote on what the DH Master study plan will look like in the future, and to be a contact for students. It’s really cool, especially for helping foreign students, because since I did my bachelor’s degree here, I know how the system works, and I can help explain it.

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

HC: Because I have a background in computer science, I may start out in software engineering and then later apply it to the digital humanities. But I am still really just exploring!

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

HC: I always say that it’s like data science, but applied to data sets from art and culture. Usually then people have an idea of what I am talking about!

Author: Celia Luterbacher

Source: College of humanities | CDH

This content is distributed under a Creative Commons CC BY-SA 4.0 license. You may freely reproduce the text, videos and images it contains, provided that you indicate the author’s name and place no restrictions on the subsequent use of the content. If you would like to reproduce an illustration that does not contain the CC BY-SA notice, you must obtain approval from the author.