Call for Chapters: Contemporary Media Art in Ireland

Submissions are invited for a collection of essays provisionally entitled, Contemporary Media Art in Ireland. This will be a volume of essays that provides a detailed account of born-digital art in an Irish context. Continue reading

Should we re-think the DH Awards?

Voting for the fourth annual DH Awards opened today. For those unaware, these awards allow the public to nominate and vote on Digital Humanities projects shortlisted in a number of categories: “Best Use of DH for Fun”, “Best DH tool or Suite of Tools”, “Best DH Blog Post or Series of Posts”, “Best DH Data Visualization”, “Best Use DH Public Engagement”, and “Best Exploration of DH Failure” (for which there were not enough nominations). There is no financial prize, and nominations are filtered by an international committee composed of respected DH scholars.1

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The utility of the Irish language

Rosita Boland, a journalist with The Irish Times, shared an interesting post today, in which she questions, amongst other initiatives designed to preserve the language, the merits of Irish being a compulsory part of our education. Boland’s piece has come in for some strong criticism on social media, but I would encourage people to see it as a worthwhile provocation, and to engage with the debate in a constructive manner.

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The Presence of Digital Process

The following was my contribution to the MLA16 panel, “Digital Scholarship in Action: Research”, January 10th, 2016. The panel was convened and presided over by Patricia Hswe. Contributions by my fellow panellists can be viewed as follows: Diane Jakacki (@dianejakacki), Laura C. Mandell (@mandellc), Paige C Morgan (@paigecmorgan), and  Katherine Rawson (@katie_rawson).

Computational methods are an essential part of the Digital Humanities, in that they are central to a range of disciplinary processes. By “process”, I refer to the digital means by which we produce new knowledge and meaning of significance to Humanities scholarship. While process—the application of the computer-assisted methods we develop, manipulate, and adopt—can be an act of interpretation in itself, I would argue, and I am sure that few would disagree, that this act is always in the service of the product, the new insights, be that into the literary or otherwise, offered by our fields’ many esoteric approaches. Herein lies part of the value of the Digital Humanities: the way we approach research allows for new questions to be asked and existing debates to be revived. While it is now comprised of a great many, and often dissonant, scholarly, and indeed creative, activities, our community first emerged out of a fascination with the potential for the computer to be utilised as an instrument for scholarly enquiry. The very essence of the Humanities is criticism, and so if the methodological foundations of the Digital Humanities are to continue to mature, then we must continue to be critical of this essential element—repeatedly, we must ask of our machines, how and why. Continue reading

The Cork Film Festival should never be about red carpets

I was first introduced to the Cork Film Festival as a Transition Year student; a review that I wrote was considered sufficient for a place on what was then known as the “Junior Jury”, a panel of second-level students tasked with participating in the selection of various prizewinners. My contribution to the event was the first time that I had engaged in any real cultural criticism–what one learns in the classroom differs greatly from the skills that one acquires in the attic of the Triskel, packed within a tight circle, trashing out the merits of the day’s screenings. The Cork Film Festival exposed me to a world of critical and creative practices which would greatly influence my future–I am now an academic, and publisher, who specialises in digital modes of expression. Much of my work, and by extension, what I teach, is centred around the affordances of screen media. Since that first introduction, I have attended the festival each year without fail (last year being the exception, as I was working at Penn State, and airfare isn’t cheap). It has become an annual ritual; each year I take a day and go see a mixture of the Irish and international shorts, filling the gaps between sessions in some of my favourite Cork eateries and watering holes. I have long seen the day as something of an homage to my nativity, as well as a personal celebration of the escapism that creativity can afford–great food, and great film; this is what it means to be a Corkonian. Let the Riviera have Cannes, we have this! Reminiscing aside, I am very disappointed, indeed angry, to learn that the festival is nearing financial ruin, and that the current board have approached Cork City Council’s Arts Committee for an emergency bailout. I’m disappointed, because, as someone who has spent much of their life in Cork, the film festival is ingrained in our cultural heritage, and it is something which I never thought would be at risk. I’m angry, because, yet again, commerce has been privileged over culture. Continue reading