Digital discussions

Digital discussions

October 27, 2016


Exploring digital scholarship in the humanities and fostering further ties amongst the member institutions of the Matariki Network of Universities (MNU) was the focus of a conference hosted by Queen’s.

Queen's in the World

The Matariki Digital Humanities Colloquium: Research and the Curriculum, held Oct. 23-25, brought together six of the seven universities in the network to discuss the ways in which research projects and student learning experiences can intersect and benefit both research and learning outcomes.

Collaboration is a focus for the network’s seven members – Queen’s, Dartmouth College (US), Durham University (England), Uppsala University (Sweden), University of Tübingen (Germany), University of Western Australia and University of Otago (New Zealand) – and the colloquium was held at a critical juncture for the field of digital humanities.

“Our purpose in creating this event was to bring together researchers from the Matariki network, one of our most important strategic partnerships, to share ideas and perspectives on digital humanities, and to provide a space for collaboration to emerge,” says Principal Daniel Woolf. “What this colloquium has emphasized is that the intersection of digital humanities research and its incorporation into curricula and teaching can have a strong and beneficial impact on student learning outcomes – which are a priority for us at Queen’s as I’m sure they are at the other Matariki institutions.”

The colloquium organizers – Shelley King (Head, Department of English Language and Literature) and Martha Whitehead, Vice-Provost and University Librarian – also lead a digital humanities working group at Queen’s.

Collaboration both amongst and within universities has been key in advancing the digital humanities and these ties need be fostered further for the benefit of students, explains Ms. Whitehead and Dr. King.

“Digital scholarship is an international endeavour. It crosses national boundaries and it is multidisciplinary,”Ms. Whitehead says. “So within Queen’s University we are trying to develop this interdisciplinary culture as well.”

The sharing of skills is a necessity Dr. King says, pointing to a presentation where literary scholars partnered with colleagues specializing in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology.

It’s what the workplaces of today demand, and universities must provide those learning opportunities for their students.

“We need to train our students for a workplace that is going to expect a digital competency that they might not otherwise gain,” Dr. King says. “So we’re interested in finding new ways to use technology to facilitate what we do.”

The colloquium also was an opportunity for the MNU members to make connections and  learn about the research of their colleagues, while gaining a better understanding of what Queen’s and Kingston have to offer.

For further information, visit the Matariki Digital Humanities Colloquium website.

To learn more about the Matariki Network of Universities and the role of Queen’s, visit the Queen’s International Department’s website.